Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
February 27, 2009
Special Session 9:05 am
Mr.Riley, Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo
Drainage Easement Heather Lane
Mr. McCoy, 5 Heather Lane requested that the Board approve a drainage easement that had been previously discussed at a Selectmen’s meeting last year. There are no pipes in the easement this is just to allow access. The Department of Public Works has no objection to this easement.
Voted - To recommend acceptance of the drainage easement on Heather Lane
Amend General By-Law to amend the Town Clerk’s filing fees
Ms. McCracken explained that the Advisory Committee had recommended raising fees. In her opinion, business certificates and marriage intentions would not hit people as hard as other fees. Ms. Burns suggested that the marriage fee could reasonably be changed to $50. Ms. McCracken explained that there are only 89 couples who apply for marriage intentions each year. The business certificate fee would be doubled from $25 to $50. These are renewed every four years. The fee is for a business certificate that can be filed with the Secretary of State but the state fee is significantly higher. Mr. Rabuffo asked if there were any activities that were not any charges connected with. The Board recommended that the replacement of lost dog tags should be a charged item.
Voted - to recommend the article on raising town clerk fees as written.
Amend General By-Law re: Fire on Docks and Piers
Chief Duff explained that the Town several years ago adopted a standard of 200 feet or more of pier for requiring a stand pipe system. The Chief said the recommended 500 foot number in the proposed by-law revision is a lot more practical. The owner will be responsible for testing annually. This testing will be done by an independent agency. The Fire Department will be more aggressive in enforcing this requirement and testing. The original standards which were accepted in 1992 were adopted without a lot of investigation. New piping is to be non-corrosive material. Mr. Rabuffo noted that there is a provision for a fine of $100 per day. It was noted that there had been a violator who was in trouble; he addressed the issue; fixed it; and the town waived the fine. Mr. Rabuffo said that there is a second violator who has been in violation for over a year. He asked what is the penalty, if the fine is not being enforced. The Chief said there is a mechanism to fine people and take them to court even without this penalty being in the by-law. The reason the wording is there is to warn people who are looking at the by-law. The current wording is that someone in violation “shall” be fined. Mr. Rabuffo explained that if that wording were changed to “could” it would allow some discretion that the word shall does not allow.
Voted - to recommend amending general by laws for as recommended by the Fire Chief.
The creation of a regional dispatch center will require special legislation or the acceptance of a state statute that deals with regional services. Ms. Foley reported that since it is not yet clear which type of authorization the proposed regional public safety dispatch center will require Town Counsel has recommended that the motion allow for acceptance of the statute and the filing of special legislation.
Voted - to recommend that an article be passed to allow acceptance of the statute or file special legislation to do so.
Public hearing – Street Acceptance of Windsong Way
Ms. Lacy said the Planning Board approved this subdivision; the road is complete; and the lots are released. The Department of Public Works did an inspection of the roadway and all the items have been addressed. Randy Sylvester said the sprinkler systems are in the town layout. Ms. Lacy said that Harry Sylvester had agreed that the DPW could live with this. Mr. Riley disagreed saying he would like to see sprinklers out of the right of way and that this should be a condition of street acceptance. The Board said this item would be taken under advisement.
Public Hearing – Street Acceptance of Great Rock Way
Ms. Lacy said this road was originally approved in 1988, went into litigation and came out later, The Conservation Commission reviewed the road and made some recommendations. Five of the seven lots have been released. People are living there. John Chessia went out to inspect and there was a rather long list of items that needed to be addressed. There was an as-built done but there were a few items omitted. The Town has not received a new plan. Mr./ Riley said this must be resolved before any vote on street acceptance is taken. Randy Sylvester remarked that there must be an as-built to even find the structures. Chief Duff said the Fire Department is not in favor of 18’ wide roads. The Fire Department has looked at Great Rock Way. It is impossible for two fire trucks to pass each other. The Chief said he is not comfortable with this in general and that he feels 18’ wide roads are not acceptable. Ms/ Lacy said this discussion has been going on for several years. The plan approved in 1988 showed a 24’ wide road. The project went to Conservation and the roadway was reduced to 18’ wide. Ms. Lacy theorized that the Conservation Commission was trying to reduce impermeable surface bujt something happened that this change never went back to the Planning Board for a waiver. Mr. Riley asked if the Planning Board wanted the applicant to go back for a waiver. Ms. Lacy said that in addition to the width there are other issues including the condition of the curb and the roadways, etc.
Ms. Burns asked how things would be different if the road were to be accepted. She noted that the fire truck will still go down in case of fire. There has been an attempt to build up the shoulder of the road with a hard packed gravel. Chief Duff said he could live with a 20’ wide road but 18’ is too narrow. The fire trucks, mirror to mirror, are 10’ wide. Mr. Prentiss said that federal and state laws on storm water management encourage narrower roadways and less impervious cover. Randy Sylvester said that there are catch basins and structures that need to be found and repaired. The Department of Public Works would not recommend acceptance at this time. .
Residents of Great Rock Road pointed out that at some point in time there was a bond posted on the road. They don’t expect the town to take on maintenance issues prior to acceptance. Mr. McIntyre, a resident of Great Rock Road, said homeowners purchased on the expectation that the road met Planning goals and that this had been approved by the Town. He explained that the residents want to preserve the value of their properties and they are willing to step in and bear some of that cost. Mr. McIntyre said the residents recognize the conservation issues. He noted that there is a six acre stretch of land beside Great Rock Road and residents are in a position to facilitate the granting of these six acres to the town. There was an observation made by Department of Public Works that the sloped granite curbing reveal is not consistent throughout the roadway but residents said this would be very expensive to remove and reset.
Ms. Burns remarked that there is a way forward but there is work to be done. Ms. Lacy noted that there are many roads that were built to be private and are private. There are private roads that were built to Planning Board standards. She said that in this case she felt that the town made a mistake– something happened on the width issue. The road is what it is. There is a long private drive with a detention basin in the back; the catch basins are not accessible. The Town did have a bond that was contingent upon certain elements being met, that bond was released. There were two lots being held that were thought to be more valuable than the bond because the Town was not aware that these lots were not developable. Those lots run down to the Weir River and East School.
It was noted that what is needed is the prospect of a way for this to move forward. Residents were informed that if the curbing is not constructed properly the water would take out the shoulder of the road. The consistency of the reveal is a big ticket item and it is that necessary for acceptance. The reveal is mostly about plowing and drainage. The entire subdivision has an expired Order of Conditions. There must be a Certificate of compliance on the subdivision. Mr. Rocci, 14 Great Rock Road, said that he understood the concerns on the curbs but he is concerned about the preservation of value of these properties. He noted that people would not spend a million and a half dollars if this was not an accepted roadway. The members of the Board noted that it was their obligation to not take on any more liability than necessary. The Board must make sure that taxpayers are not put in a position where they are taking on a liability that the builder should have taken care of. Ms. Burns said the fact that this roadway was designed to be accepted is very compelling. Ms. Lacy said that a subdivision approval is a very different process from a roadway being accepted. The Planning Board held what were thought to be two extremely valuable lots in lieu of a bond.
Mr. McIntyre said residents had made an investment with the view that the road would be accepted. Mr. Rabuffo noted that he bought house in 1995. The road was accepted with the understanding that the road would be paved with the bond because the builder did not do his job. He said that he did not want to see the Town accept an additional burden until these things are corrected. Ms. Lacy asked if residents had gotten a cost estimate. She noted that they needed a more accurate sense of what’s involved. Ms. Burns agreed. Mr. Riley asked them to look at the roadway as well since the catch basins have experienced settlement and the pavement is lower around the basin.
The Board took the matter under advisement.
Leash Law article
Ms. Burns said that in talking to people she became aware of the fact that many residents were unaware of the fact that there is a requirement to pick up after their dogs. She noted that the dog by-law is there but not easily enforceable.
There was a plan to make people more aware of the rules and regulations. First the Bare Cove Park pamphlet went out with the light bill; second there was to be a pamphlet that was going to be passed out with renewal of licenses; and third, is a by-law change. The present by-law allows dogs to be off-leash if they are under control of the owner. The animal control officer reported that she gets into discussions with people in the Park as to whether or not the dog is “under control”. The recommendation is that it is up to the sole discretion of the animal control officer or any police officer to determine if an animal is “under control”. The second section of the proposed by-law is meant to deal with routinely annoying dogs- whether it be barking or howling. If there is a problem, the Town’s animal control officer should be notified. It is also required to pick up after a dog. Up until now, there has been no fine for these offenses. The proposal is that the fine for biting, barking, or howling dogs and/or failure to pick up after a dog will be set by the Board of Selectmen in consultation with the animal control officer.
Ms. Lauter suggested that the proposed by law be amended to include that the dog shall be leased immediately
Voted - to recommend the lease law as amended by the Chairman of the Advisory committee by adding the word “immediately”.
Chief Mills said he had received a document for the Board of Health that would address this issue. He suggested that if the Health regulations did not deal with the matter sufficiently the bylaw recommendation could be revisited next year. The chief recommended withdrawal of this article due to the Board of Health regulations.
Solicitation Warrant Article – Chief Mills advised this proposed revision of the Solicitation By-Law will allow the denial of a permit to those who misrepresent themselves. If individuals falsify, it will be at their own peril, as a permit will be automatically denied. Chief Mills also explained the Police Department checks solicitors to the fullest extent allowed.
Voted - to recommend the Solicitation Warrant By-Law Article as submitted by the Police Chief.
Old Colony Police Anti-Crime Task Force Memorandum of Agreement – Police Chief Mills requested the Board to sign a Memorandum of Agreement. He explained that this is a mutual aid pact that enhances contiguous communities working together to pursue illegal acts of all types, including drug activity. It is a cooperative effort that provides much information that aids the detectives in their investigations. This information shares through a state police fusion center. Chief Mills believes joining this task force places the Hingham Police Force in a stronger position, clarifies extent of action, and increases the efficiency in a covert operation.
Mr. Rabuffo’s questioned if there would be a rotation of officers. Chief Mills advised that there would be a rotation so that all officers would have an understanding of this mutual aid structure. Mr. Riley questioned if this agreement had to go before the Attorney General to be enforced. The Chief’s responded that it was just between the participating towns. The Selectmen advised that they did not have a chance to review with agreement and would vote on it at the next meeting.
Conservation Warrant Article – Cliff Prentiss, Conservation Officer explained this article requested the acceptance of two parcels of land located from the Abington Street line to the Weymouth line. There is no Open Space in that area. The first piece is not buildable. Mr. Cristello the former Town Administrator hesitated to accept these parcels previously because of a restriction for a proposed equated swap with Fish & Wildlife. The State is now satisfied. There are massive oak trees on this parcel and it is surrounded by industrial development. Ms. Burns thought it was a good idea to have land set aside as a buffer due to the Naval Air Station reconstruction. Mr. Prentiss pointed out it was also good for storm water management.
Voted - to recommend favorable action on this Article.
Voted - to approve the request of the School Department to consult counsel as submitted.
Voted - to appoint Steven Messinger to the South Shore Recycling Cooperative.
Voted – to appoint Kevin Paicos, ADA administrator, for the Town of Hingham
Voted - to appoint Kathy Peloquin, as constable for a term expiring in 2011.
Beal Street Corridor Plan - Roger Fernandes presented an updated plan that noted the revisions requested by the Board. Mr. Fernandes reported that access to all driveways was implemented. Expanded parking from Sgt. William. B. Terry Drive to Fottler Road was included to help ball fields parking. Curbs were opened up so that driveways are fully exposed. Also included was the installation of sidewalks on the north and south sides. However, 20 trees, some mature, would have to be removed to accommodate the sidewalks. As part of a cost saving measure at the Selectmen’s request the sidewalk and guard rail will be removed on the south side of Beal Street. Crossing points from the south side to the north side will be provided at strategic locations.
Mr. Riley wanted the island expanded back to the previous plans that extended the island in front of Hitchcock Shoes and Fluency Factory. The island at Red Door Drive will be cut back by 20 feet at Ms. Burn’s request for access. The Selectmen requested that the raised crosswalks be installed as part of the project at North/West/Beal Streets, as well as the rest of the corridor. Parking will be eliminated in front of Back River, LLC. Mr. Riley questioned that if one sidewalk was not built thereby eliminating the need to cut down the trees, would there be enough money to construct the raised sidewalks. Mr.Fernandes replied no. The total mitigation fund from the Hingham Shipyard development amounted to $550,000 and there is an estimated shortfall of $130,000.
Mr. Fernandes expressed concerns as to the suitability of the raised crosswalk in this application. He felt they complicated drainage. The Selectmen requested that they be left in the plan. Mr. Fernandes received approval to modify these plans without having to come back to the Board.
Stimulus Package – Ms. Burns mentioned that she checked to see is there was any information on Hingham‘s requests. There were two columns, one column listed items under reviewed projects, and the other column listed requests that were not reviewed. She expressed concern as the most important requests were listed in the not reviewed column. Ms. Burns was not certain of the meaning of this.
Mobil Station - The contract is ready to go, it should only take 2 days to take the building down. The building will have to be demolished very carefully so as not to disturb the soil under the slab. Mobil has to contact CDM, as they are responsible for the abatement of hazardous waste materials, under the slab.
Kitty Ward – Reopen Warrant - Ms. Ward asked if the Board would reopen the town meeting warrant to file a citizen’s petition asking the moderator to appoint a new Government Study Committee. Mr. Riley informed Ms. Ward that it is too late at this date. Ms. Ward thought that as this was not a request for money, it wouldn’t present a problem. Ms. Burns explained the review process the Selectmen, the Advisory Committee and Town Board’s undertake to process the warrant articles is very time consuming. The Selectmen informed Ms. Ward that this article merits a considerable amount of time and discussion and at this late date there would not be enough time to do that.
CVS Zoning Article - Katy Lacy, Planning Administrator, advised that the Planning Board voted no action on this article. Mr. Rabuffo said the issues have been clarified. He informed the attorney that the Planning Board’s interpretation of his position is exactly correct. In the absence of an overall plan for South Hingham, Mr. Rabuffo does not feel it is the right time to consider this zoning change. The Board of Selectmen has asked the Development and Industrial Commission to discuss developing a plan for appropriate development in South Hingham. Mr. Rabuffo also pointed out he felt their counsel misrepresented the developers due to the lack of any discussion relative to mitigation to the abutter. Ms. Lauter, Chairman of the Advisory Committee commented that if the Selectmen are going to opine on that article, to please do so before Thursday, when the Advisory Committee is scheduled to hear it. Ms. Lauter announced that she has moved the zoning articles around so many times; she is sticking with March 5, 2009 for the CVS Article and March 12th for the Downtown Zoning Article. There will be a joint meeting of the Advisory Committee and the Board of Selectmen on March 3, 2008 to hear the CPC Articles and Reduction of CPC Surcharge. The Advisory Committee plans to vote on these articles at their meeting scheduled for March 10, 2009.
Adjourned: 12:50 PM Betty Foley, Assistant Town Administrator
9:05 AM to 11:40 AM
Marilyn Harrington, Clerk pro tem (Discussion to Reopen Warrant to End of Meeting).11:40 AM to 12:50 PM