BoS - October 1, 2019

BoS - October 1, 2019

Postby Suzanne Kane » Thu Sep 26, 2019 12:22 pm

Board of Selectmen
October 1, 2019
Municipal Center Resource Room

7:00 PM

• Call to Order
• Pledge of Allegiance
• Chairman’s Announcements
• Citizen’s Forum

1. Boston Post Cane Certificate Presentation – Nancy Colonero

2. Meeting with ZBA Officials and Residents – re: Residents Complaint

3. Conservation Commission Appointment – Beckwith – Possible Vote(s)

4. Cable Advisory Committee Structure – Possible Vote (s)

5. First Review of Special Town Meeting Warrant

6. Approve Minutes – Possible Vote(s)

7. Administrator’s Report

8. Old/New Business

9. Executive Session – Litigation

10. Adjournment
Future Agenda Items:

Oct. 15th:
Approve & Sign Warrant
October 1, 2019 - BoS Minutes.pdf
(710.84 KiB) Downloaded 212 times

October 1, 2019
Approved October 15, 2019

Call to Order

Chair Kevin Morse called the Board of Selectmen (BOS) meeting to order at 7:00 PM in the Resource Room at the Municipal Center.

Board: Kevin Morse (Chair), Tim Bonin, David Cortese, Hal Davis, Mike Hughes, Matt Wojcik (Town Administrator), Suzanne Kane (Administrative Assistant)
ZBA: Dan Heney (Chair), John Bombara, Mike Fitzpatrick, Sean Holland, Pam Holmes, Louis Tusino
Other Staff and Citizens: Jerri Colonero, Nancy Colonero, Chris Colonero, Ann Colonero, Paul Beckwith, Kristen Beckwith, Ron Forget, Dan Dudley, Police Chief Nick Miglionico, Fire Chief Kent Vinson and other staff and citizens.

• Pledge of Allegiance (00:08)

• Chairman’s Announcements (00:29)

There were no announcements.

• Citizen’s Forum (00:32)
No one came forward.

1. Boston Post Cane Certificate Presentation-Nancy Colonero (00:38)
In the packet is a Boston Post Cane Certificate and related emails and materials.
Nancy Colonero and her family joined the meeting. Ms. Colonero stated that the secret to longevity is home cooking and to have everything first class! She has lived in Douglas her whole life, except for four years. Mr. Morse presented Ms. Colonero with a certificate.

2. Meeting with ZBA Officials and Residents-re: Residents’ Complaint (07:19)
In the packet are related emails and materials. Copies of ZBA meeting minutes relating to ZBA cases #2018-13, #2019-01, #2019-03, and #2019-08, and “108 Wallis Street Timeline” were handed out at the meeting.
Members of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). joined the meeting. Mr. Heney called the ZBA meeting to order at 7:08 PM. Mr. Dudley joined the meeting. Ms. Holmes asked for a copy of Mr. Dudley’s written complaint as the ZBA was not aware of any complaint. Ms. Kane stated that the original complaint was verbally made to Mr. Wojcik, and the emails are from setting up the meeting the complainant asked for.
Mr. Morse stated that he and Mr. Bonin met with the citizens who had the complaint against the ZBA. He learned that Mr. Dudley and his neighbor had managed to work out an amicable agreement after spending tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees. Mr. Morse stated, “We as a Town were getting in the way of them being able to come to an agreement that would have made the whole problem go away.” In the video of the ZBA meeting that Mr. Morse watched, Mr. Morse felt that Ms. Holmes had a condescending attitude toward Mr. Dudley. Mr. Morse stated that “we” are beholden to help the citizens of the Town and every case that comes before the ZBA is on a case-by-case basis and there is “no such thing” as a precedent. Mr. Heney agreed.
Mr. Morse continued, stating that the residents felt that some personal history tainted the judgement against them. The relief that the ZBA offered to Mr. Dudley was not what he had asked for. Mr. Heney agreed that Mr. Dudley did not get the relief he asked for, like dozens of other cases that have come before the ZBA in the 13 years he has served on the Board. Mr. Bombara stated that they have never given a 2’ variance to anyone. Mr. Dudley was given a 12’ variance.
Mr. Morse asked if the similar boundary encroachment issue up at the waterslides were given an under 2’ variance. Mr. Wojcik replied that that issue was a special permit on a pre-existing, non-conforming structure and not a variance.
Mr. Bombara feels that the ZBA has been “pretty good” stewards for the Town of Douglas. He stated that Mr. Dudley’s circumstances were not the fault of the ZBA.
Mr. Tusino stated his opinion that when all the neighbors agree, the incident is over. He said that the ZBA is “touchy”, but he is not. Mr. Tusino felt that Mr. Dudley should have gotten what he asked for because he and his neighbor were in agreement, but he (Mr. Tusino) was overruled.
Mr. Cortese suggested that the complainant be heard. Mr. Heney suggested that Land Use Counsel be present. Mr. Heney explained that zoning is about land, not about neighbors, and a variance is almost impossible to get if it is held to the strictest interpretation. Mr. Dudley was asking for a variance of 25’; he was granted a 12’ variance. Allowing Mr. Dudley’s shed to be 2’ from the property line could be a liability for his neighbor. Mr. Heney continued, that the facts of Mr. Dudley’s case do not support a 2’ variance “under any circumstances.” Mr. Heney presented a handout of the chronological order of the hearings. Mr. Dudley was granted continuances to allow him to work out alternatives.
Mr. Heney stated that the Town bylaws charge the ZBA to “hear requests for variances and for special permits”, not to approve them. Mr. Heney feels the decision was fair. He quoted MGL sec 40 which states that these cases do not give hope to the applicant and no one has a legal right to a variance.
Mr. Dudley stated that the whole experience has been very traumatic for him and his significant other and has been going on for about two years. He and his neighbor managed to work out an agreement. There is an existing structure that was placed off of his property by Mr. Dudley’s father approximately 40 years ago. Mr. Dudley did not know the structure was not on his property. Another structure that he put on the property 8 years ago was on his neighbor’s property by approximately 1.5’. He did not think the structure needed a permit because of the dimensions. Because that structure has a loft, Mr. Dudley said that the Building Inspector said it would need a Building Permit. Mr. Dudley was not aware of the setback; “I should have been”.
Mr. Dudley’s neighbor moved in about two years ago and had a survey done, which showed that the two structures were on his (the neighbor’s) property. Mr. Dudley offered to buy the land necessary to meet the 25’ setback.
Mr. Dudley described an incident where Mr. Heney was on his property without his permission, and Mr. Heney was verbally abusive and insulting towards Mr. Dudley. Mr. Dudley feels Mr. Heney scolded and belittled him in public during the meetings, and that attitude carried over to Ms. Holmes. Mr. Dudley feels Mr. Heney disrespects the citizens of the Town. Mr. Dudley feels he deserves fair and impartial treatment, and he has not received it from the ZBA.
Mr. Heney stated that he went on Mr. Dudley’s property because the ZBA’s policy is that at least three of the members visit every site prior to a meeting so they can see what the applicant is trying to accomplish, to help them, not to work against them. It is stated on the application that members will visit the site. Mr. Heney said that, regarding the incident that Mr. Dudley described, he was walking the property line between Mr. Dudley’s and his neighbor’s property.
Mr. Morse stated that he witnessed sarcasm in the video clip that he watched. He did not see verbal abuse. Mr. Bombara feels the discussion should be ended at this time because he feels that Mr. Morse should watch all the tapes and Town Counsel should be present.
Mr. Fitzpatrick stated that in the next to last meeting before the decision, he gave Mr. Dudley some recommendations. When the applicant came to the meeting after that, Mr. Dudley’s attorney stated that they had nothing new and asked for a continuance. Mr. Fitzpatrick suggested a variance of 13’, which gave Mr. Dudley a 23’ x 530’ building envelope in which to place his sheds. Mr. Dudley stated that he does not have any place to move the sheds.
Ms. Holmes stated that when the initial problem was realized, the Building Inspector made the determination that the sheds were on the wrong property, and he issued a violation, which was appealed in August of 2018. The ZBA upheld the Building Inspector’s decision, and that appeal went to court. She continued with the history of the case and the variance. She read a statement which summarized that, even though the neighbors may have reached an agreement, the solution still did not meet the Town’s zoning bylaws.
The Town’s Zoning bylaws were enacted in the 70’s. The first shed was erected also in the 70’s. Mr. Dudley stated that the shed falls within the Adverse Possession law. Mr. Wojcik stated that there is no Adverse Possession against the new owner because he gave Mr. Dudley trespass notice when he did his meets and bounds.
Mr. Morse stated that the BOS is not looking to overturn what the ZBA did; the decision was made. The BOS is trying to determine if Mr. Dudley was mistreated by the ZBA.
Mr. Morse stated that he will watch every one of the ZBA meetings relating to this issue. When he is done, he will email all involved parties with his findings and after a discussion with the other board members, decide if another meeting is warranted.
Mr. Bombara made a motion at 7:49 PM to adjourn the ZBA meeting. Mr. Fitzpatrick seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

3. Conservation Commission Appointment-Beckwith-Possible Vote(s) (52:21)
In the packet is an application and related emails and materials.
Mr. Beckwith joined the meeting and expressed his interest in joining the Conservation Commission and gave his background.
Mr. Bonin made a motion to appoint Paul Beckwith as a member of the Conservation Commission for a term ending June 30, 2022. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

4. Cable Advisory Committee Structure-Possible Vote(s) (57:51)
In the packet is an email update from Mr. Wojcik, the Definition of the Cable Advisory Committee, a copy of a license between the Town and Charter Communications, and related emails and materials.
Mr. Wojcik stated that there is not much negotiation involved in the contents of the cable license. The Cable Commission has asked to be an ad hoc committee, subject to the call of the chair when there are substantive issues with the license. The administerial tasks should be delegated to the Cable Coordinator. Mr. Wojcik stated that the BOS could amend the charge of the Committee. The Committee may want to provide the BOS with wording for their new charge. A discussion was held.
It was decided to place this item on the next meeting’s agenda.

5. First Review of Special Town Meeting (STM) Warrant (1:02:10)
In the packet is the STM warrant and related materials.
Mr. Wojcik reviewed the articles, starting with Article 1 Transfers and Amendments. The Property Liability expense increase is due to claims, the Building Wages change is due to a grade change for support staff. Regarding Article 3, there may not be any prior year bills.
Regarding Article 5, the Town is in a strong position for a Mass Works grant. If the developer goes forward with the project, the Town would need to extend water and sewer to the site. The Town’s matching portion would be the engineering in the amount of $501,200 which would not be spent if the project does not go forward.
Article 7 relates to establishing regular funding for bounds monuments ($12,500) and Article 8 relates to stormwater management compliance ($52,000).

6. Approve Minutes-September 10, 2019-Possible Vote(s) (1:15:02)
Mr. Hughes made a motion to approve the September 10, 2019 regular and Executive Session Board of Selectmen meeting minutes as presented, retaining all of the Executive Session minutes in their entirety. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

7. Administrator’s Report (01:15:30)
Mr. Wojcik stated that the auditor process for the last fiscal year is almost finished. The onsite visit was last week. There is no indication that there will be any negative comments.
This week they may also receive certification of the Free Cash balance. It is a healthy number. Last year, not all the Free Cash was obligated in order to roll it over to the next year. The five year budget plan anticipates the use of Free Cash in the Operating Budget if no new revenues are found. In order to not use Free Cash, there would need to be a change in the tax base.
Mr. Wojcik will be presenting the budget process for the next fiscal year to the Finance Committee next week. Revenues will increase by $510,000; the largest growth is $110,000 due to Retirement contribution. The process will lead with reviews of Salaries and Wages through all the departments. Next they will review an Asset Management Plan to remind the public how much everything costs.
Insurance cannot be reviewed until March, which means that there cannot be a final budget until after that is done. Due to the new Health Insurance consortium, Mr. Wojcik anticipates receiving a more accurate Health Insurance number faster than in the past. However, there will only be one year’s claim experience, hence overage may be built in. On 10/7/19, the consultant will be in Town to hear feedback from all employees. The Town has a pharmacy benefit manager. There is an opportunity to move employees to a more cost effective mail order pharmacy arrangement.
Two positions have been posted for the Fire Dept., with the hope that both will come in as medics to maintain the full staffing level. An entry-level Highway Worker position has also been posted. This position is in the budget.
This week, the Town was awarded a $30,000 grant under the Green Communities Compact Best Practices Program for a pavement study. All the roadways in Town will be looked at in detail, including all signs and fixtures, to effectively cost manage them.
The Town will be filing a grant application under the Community Compact Information Technology Program for continuing operations and redundancy of the Town Hall network. Mr. Davis asked for a summary of grants received in the last year or two.
Council on Aging Director Patrice Rousseau has assembled a grant application for ADA compliance at the Senior Center to improve the ramp, floors, lavatories, etc.
A major event in Town requires Main Street traffic to be re-routed. Since Octoberfest closes Main Street every year, an opportunity was seen to do an emergency response drill. Chief Miglionico and Chief Vinson have rallied some State assets.

8. Old/New Business (1:28:34)
Old Business: There was no old business.
New Business: There was no new business.

9. Executive Session-Litigation (1:28:43)
Mr. Bonin made a motion at 8:28 PM to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of litigation and to return to regular session for the purpose of adjournment. Mr. Cortese seconded the motion. Roll Call Vote: Kevin Morse-Aye, Tim Bonin-Aye, Dave Cortese-Aye, Hal Davis-Aye, Mike Hughes-Aye.

10. Adjournment (1:29:04)
Mr. Hughes made a motion at 9:00 PM to adjourn the Board of Selectmen meeting. Mr. Bonin seconded the motion. Vote: All-Aye.

Respectfully submitted,

Mary Wright
Recording Secretary
Suzanne Kane
Posts: 661
Joined: Wed May 25, 2005 2:01 pm

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