Back to Board of Selectmen Meeting Minutes
April 13, 2010
Regular Session 7:05 pm
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo, Mr. Riley
Community Preservation Committee Warrant Article on Veterans Housing
Mr. Reardon and John Yazwinski spoke about the proposal to provide six units of affordable housing for veterans. The proposed housing is for veterans who can live independently but have low income. This type of supportive housing has been provided by Fr. Bills/ Mainspring for over 15 years. Mr. Reardon explained that this article was not ready to present when the CPC met with the Board in February. Mr. Paicos organized a meeting of the principal stakeholders and an agreement was reached on a process.
The committee is anxious to protect the $250,000 investment on part of the Town. Dick Mason of Mass Housing felt that the Town could be on the same level with the state with the opportunity to bring its asset back. Ray Estes explained that in this type of transaction the state is given a right of first refusal, typically a town would be a junior lienholder and would enjoy the same benefits as the state. Dick Mason said he believed it would be possible to have a similar position to that of the state. There will be a first mortgage in the amount of $90,000 because Fr. Bill’s felt that it would be necessary to have a small mortgage to make it financially viable. There may be some additional cost to the town of incremental veterans being in the town. The goal is to move them onto more permanent income sources like employment, Social Security and other VA benefits.
The final item under discussion is the relationship of the Veterans’ Agent and the Veterans’ Council and they way in which they would relate to the project. Mike Cunningham did attend a meeting when it was discussed that the plans would be the subject of continued discussion and negotiation. The CPC wants to be sure that they are not putting excessive burdens on the Veterans’ Agent. This will continue to be the cooperative, transparent process that everyone has tried to have over the3 past few weeks. The Housing Authority will be the first line of screening of any veteran that comes in.
Mr. Rabuffo said he thought June 30, 2011 should be an end date. The negotiations with all the interested parties should be done at that time. Bill Reardon noted that although the CPC wants an end date it was reluctant to create a situation where you were almost there but the end date was at hand. Ms. Johnson said the deadline would be applicable to each contingency in the warrant article and she would hate to have to come back and go through everything all over again if things were close but not fully completed. Mr. Rabuffo disagreed but said it is not a make or break issue for him. Mr. Riley said he had been a part of the CPC discussion all along and felt that his concerns had been met. Ms.Burns noted that this is an opportunity to do the right thing for people who serve this country and Hingham has done the thing Hingham does best by carefully analyzing the project. She said that she would be profoundly uncomfortable saying that we do not want this project because it will call on the time of our veterans’ agent.
Voted - to support the Community Preservation Committee warrant article to appropriate $250,000 from the CPC Housing Reserve to acquisition by Father Bill’s Mainspring of Lot 001, Map 78 known as 111-113 Fort Hill Street for creation of six units of affordable housing for veterans.
Ward Street Lights
Mr. Bosworth said the Recreation Commission’s role in the project was to consider the financial aspect and the operation of the project. The Commission feels that the numbers look very good but it is still open for discussion. There will be a maintenance agreement that will change as things go forward. Mr. Thorrell presented a financial analysis. The plan expects field revenue of $108,000 without lights, $150,000 with light; expenses include $20,000 in maintenance and $5,500 for lights. With lights the breakeven is just over eight years. Mr. Alexiades said that the Board had asked him to look at this. He noted that this is the first project that has been adopted where the Town has accepted equipment or funds expecting full cost recovery or replacement. Mr. Alexiades said he did not think this is a financial issue but a zoning and quality of life issue. Mr. Bosworth pointed out that Mr. Alexiades’ projections hold the rental rate steady. Mr. Rabuffo said the Recreation Commission had asked good questions and this is a step on the way. The Health and Conservation Departments will have to be worked through as well. The Board agreed to return to this matter after a scheduled liquor license hearing.
Public Hearing on an Application for a Restaurant Common Victualler All Alcoholic Beverages License for Typhoon Bistro
Mr. Tocchio explained that this will be 5,900 sq ft of restaurant with space 195 seats – 143 fixed inside locations and 52 patio seats at 13 tables that could be moved inside seasonally. Mr. Phan-Nguyen has been operating for 9 years in Boston and will be operating the restaurant in the Shipyard. Bartenders are TIPS certified and any new hires will be TIPS certified. Alcoholic beverages will be locked for storage. The hours of operation will be Sunday – Thurs 11 am – 11 pm and Fri and Sat 11 pm – 1 am. This business is next to one of the condos and the cinemas. The Board emphasized that noise control is important.. The outside activities would be until 1 a.m. Mr. Riley expressed concern that there be some sort of barrier to prevent the migration of liquor off premise. Mr. Tocchio agreed.
Voted - to approve the application of Hai Phong, Inc. d/b/a Typhoon Asian Bistro and Lounge, Nhan H. Phan-Nguyen, Manager 25 Shipyard Drive, Suite 1 C, for a Restaurant Common Victualler All Alcoholic Beverages License. This application is subject to the approval of all town boards, and the Alcohol Beverages Control Commission. (Premises include seasonal patio). Subject to submission of a plan preventing entrance to the patio except through an entrance adjacent to the main entrance and subject to the approval of the building inspector.
Voted - to approve the request of Hai Phong, Inc. d/b/a Typhoon Asian Bistro and Lounge to pledge their license to Samuels and Associates, LLC.
Return to Ward Street Overlay Zoning Article
Mr. Tocchio and Mr. McKinnon gave the Board an update on the lighting by-law. The special permit filing has been submitted without the lights. The peer review engineers and traffic engineers have been engaged and they are working diligently. The traffic study scope has been increased to something much greater than originally anticipated. The proponents will not be returning to the Zoning Board, etc until after town meeting. Conservation Commission has presented a number of requests with which the proponents have complied and this resulted in a better project. As a result of subsequent meetings the river line which had been agreed upon was no longer agreed upon. Everything is now about a 200 foot offset from the river. By moving an artificial turf field the town has a drastically improved situation over what is there now. The proponents have agreed to a wildlife study of the interior of the parcel. There is some discussion of whether the wetland is a vernal pool or an isolated wetland. The zoning article has had hearings for multiple evenings in front of the Planning Board. A lighting engineer was with them. This exercise has resulted in a very detailed proposed overlay district that no other spot in town would qualify for this. Mr. Tocchio said that provisions had been made for lower power lights for practice and the higher foot candle power for competitive play. The purpose of the overlay district is to set up a recreational field overlay district to allow for consideration of higher light possibilities than the 35 feet currently allowed. The problem with the 35 foot light is the amount of spillage because higher light poles increase the light onto the site and keep it very vertical. The overlay district is site specific and will not be applied all over town since this is the only available town-owned parcel that fits the criteria for the zoning contemplated in the article.
Mike Kaplan of 25 Ward Street said he met with Ted Alexiades and Mark Thorrell yesterday and he disagrees with some of the assumptions in the financials. The area where there is the greatest disagreement is the subject of revenues. Ron Schramm, 71 Clubhouse Drive, said there two facts that both sides agree on: 1. the lights are inextricably linked to the fields –without the fields there is no need for the lights and 2. there are many open, unresolved issues. He urged the Board to wait until the permitting process runs it course and not to take a position with so many unresolved issues. He also noted that the neighborhood is not comfortable with the protections in the by-law and that it is Steve McLaughlin’s opinion that these protections can disappear with a vote of the ZBA. Mr. Rabuffo said as a former ZBA member he was guided from the earliest day that the Zoning Board could be setting precedent. Mr. Tocchio pointed out that the Board of Selectmen owns the fields and it would have to be the Board applying for a variance.
Many residents spoke on either side of the issue. Mr. Rabuffo said the questions are good and it is now time to think about the permitting process that must go forward. Mr. Riley said the he had served on the Planning Board for many years and during that time there were many projects that had concerned citizens. He said he is a firm believer in the process. If a project is allowed to go through the process it will be a better project. It is the responsibility of the Selectmen to give the Town the opportunity to make that call.
Voted - to support the zoning article to create a Recreational Field Overlay District in which the Board of Appeals may issue a Special Permit A2 for an increase in the height limits of this By-law .
Mr. Alexiades advised that the Town signed an agreement with Blue Cross Blue Shield for a preferred provider arrangement some time ago. The purpose of that was to have access to other BCBS business if so desired. An ambulance user pays the full rate but if you have BCBS you do not. The Town has the right to rescind this agreement with 90 days notice and it means about $30,000 per year.
Voted - to terminate the Town’s preferred provider contract with Blue Cross Blue Shield relative to ambulance services.
The billing rate overall is at Medicare, plus 30%. Medicare is reducing payments by 7 ½% beginning in July. About half of the ambulance service runs are Medicare runs. Mr. Alexiades said that the proposed rate is consistent with other communities in the Commonwealth and there will be no change to Medicare patients. About 3% of the ambulance users are direct pays and the remaining runs are covered by various insurances. There is a well structured policy in place for removing the charge if someone cannot afford it due to income eligibility. If someone receives a bill and cannot afford it they are to contact the billing agent who will send them a form. The ambulance will be there when it is needed and cost will not be an issue. This increase will mean approximately $30,000 – $40,000 in additional revenue. Chief Duff said the primary responsibility is to provide ambulance service to the residents- don’t worry about the billing.
Voted - to establish an ambulance service billing rate of Medicare +70%.
Transfer Station Rules and Regulations
Mr. Sylvester said he had been involved with the transfer station since he had began working for the Town and he had noticed some deficiencies. The transfer station rules were created in 1981 and revised several times up through 1999. The DEP and landfill regulations have changed and allow charging vehicles coming into the transfer station on a cubic yardage basis. The sticker process allows for one vehicle per household to receive a sticker. The proposed regulations would impose a $25 charge for an additional sticker for a household. The other changes are for commercial permits deal with permitting disposal of trash and construction and bulky waste. There is now a scale that is ready to go on line and it is proposed that all commercial fees be converted to a weight fee. The commercial haulers would have to have a permit from the Board of Health and there will be a charge for construction demolition, computers and televisions.
There are people without permits going into the transfer station. There is an average of 8,000 vehicles in any one weekend. There are probably more than 10,000 stickers in circulation because there was not monitoring or tracking. The stickers have not been changed in the past 7 years. The new process would have two types of stickers – residential and commercial and both would require an application. The new system would create a data base of the permit holders. Ms. Burns asked that political activity within the gates be addressed in the regulations. Ms. Burns said she might need more time to think about this. Mr. Rabuffo disagreed. Mr. Riley said he like the per ton method for commercial permits. The political activity issue will be referred to Town Counsel.
Voted - to adopt the proposed transfer station revised rules and regulations dated April 10 as submitted by the Superintendent of Public Works.
Scope of Research on Transfer Station Fees to be Conducted by the Long Range Waste and Recycling Committee
During the budget process a transfer station fee was suggested but it became evident that research needed to be done. Ms. Burns said she understood that the Committee had not been interested in instituting a pay as you throw system because the recycling rate had been going up. She wondered what a plausible amount could be to charge for trash disposal. Mr. Rabuffo said the other side of that is “should we have one at all?”
Ms. Burns said she was not sure that the committee would not be recommending a charge for stickers. If a request comes that we cover some of the cost of the transfer station, how would we do it? Should we not? Ms. Black asked if, as a Board, there were goals of reducing tonnage, etc. Ms. Burns said that based on the little she knows about it, she has a bias towards an option that would increase recycling. Mr. Riley asked if the Committee could you give a sense of the Town’s ability to recycle and what the return is in terms of dollars. Ms. Black said the recycling rate is about 50%. DEP regulations say we must recycle. Peter Stathopoulos remarked that the primary goal of recycling was cost avoidance. The revenues are gravy. Mr. Rabuffo asked that the option of doing nothing be included in the deliberations. The Committee was asked to report back around October 1. One consideration would be how to get people to buy into this program.
Richard Beal advised that A W Perry is in the process of rebuilding a building at 2 Pond Park and part of the approvals required improvements to the intersection of Derby Street and Pond Park Drive. After preliminary discussions with Mass Highway it seemed that they would be agreeable to making the Derby Street area a priority. The Community Development Director Katy Lacy and A. W. Perry have prepared a grant application for submission to the Office of Housing and Economic Development.
Voted - to submit an application for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development MORE Grant.
Crucial parts of the high school’s closed circuit television system have failed. The Cable Advisory Committee has requested approval to expend funds to repair the system for use at the Annual Town Meeting.
Voted - to approve the expenditure of up to $2,000 in cable funds to repair the closed circuit television system in the high school for use at the annual town meeting.
Voted - to approve a Board Health intra-department transfer from Salaries to Expenses in the amount of $10,000.
Voted - to sign a contract to purchase a Groundsmaster 4500D from Turf Products in the amount of $50,906, contingent upon Capital Outlay subsequent approval.
Voted - to appoint Leslie Badger as Inspector of Animals for the coming year.
Voted - to approve the revised plan from Tim and Diane Jumper, 861 Main Street, to put one section of fence across the end of the turnaround that was provided by the town during the reconfiguration of Liberty Pole Road. The fence will be installed and maintained at the Jumper’s expense. The plan has been approved by Harry Sylvester.
Voted - to approve the request of the Hingham Downtown Association, and others, to close Main Street, between Elm and South Streets on Saturday, May 22, from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. for the Taste of Hingham event. Although the event is from 12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m., the additional time is needed for set-up and clean-up. (Rain date May 23.)
Voted, by roll call vote, to adjourn to executive session to approve minutes of a previous executive session, not to return to open session this evening.
Mr. Rabuffo – yes
Mr. Riley – yes
Ms. Burns – yes
Open session adjourned 10:45 pm.
Executive Session 10:50 pm
Ms. Burns, Mr. Rabuffo, Mr. Riley
Voted, by roll call vote, to accept minutes of March 29 as written
Mr. Rabuffo – yes
Mr. Riley – yes
Ms. Burns – yes
Session adjourned 10:55 pm.
Betty Foley, Clerk