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Selectmen Meeting Minutes 01/14/2014
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
January 14, 2014
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Prentakis called the meeting to order at 7:35.  Also present were Mr. Cresta, Ms. Jones, Mr. Houten, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.
Minutes – Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the minutes of both the regular and executive sessions of the December 23, 2013.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion.  Ms. Lindberg abstained and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant 1428 totaled $122,936 and included $5,997 in snow overtime.  The Payables Warrant totaled $173,679 and included $44,935 for payroll deductions, $40,236 for school transportation and $37,948 for snowplowing.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to accept the warrants.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.

Town Administrator’s Report
  • Snow – The packet contains the first snow budget report of 2014.  It includes a comparison to the last 6 years.  The Town is 2/3 of the way through its snow budget as of the last storm. It has received 43” of snow to date which is close to the yearly average even though there are still months to go of winter.  If there are more storms, a transfer from reserves might be needed.
  • Gas Pipeline – The Town has been notified by Kinder/Morgan partners of Tennessee Gas that it might be in the path of an expansion of a gas pipeline.  The map provided in the notice is so vague that it is not possible to tell if Middleton is affected.  The project seems similar in size (30”) to the Mass Maritimes pipeline that currently passes through the Town, and would be adjacent to it.  There will be many aspects of such a project that would need to be explored.  It is projected for 2017/2018.  The Town is both a landholder along the path and a stakeholder.
Recommendation of Chief DiGianvittorio to appoint Reserve Police Officers Michael P Linehan and Michael J Vangelist as Full Time Police Officers (including a probationary period of one year upon completion of MPTC Police Academy Training Program) – Chief DiGianvittorio explained the process leading up to this recommendation.  A number of letters of interest and resume were received.  On December 30th, the Command Staff conducted three 45 minute interviews with each candidate.  The candidates were evaluated based on work skills, communication skills and attitude.  Officers Linehan and Vangelist placed first and second.  The Chief said that he hopes to have them both attend the session of the Police Academy that begins March 10th in Reading.  He has also requested a waiver from the State that would allow them to work full time for six months without the Academy.  The Chief plans to have Officer Linehan work the day shift and Officer Vangelist work the evening shift.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to appoint Reserve Police Officers Michael P Linehan and Michael J Vangelist as Full Time Police Officers (including a probationary period of one year upon completion of MPTC Police Academy Training Program).  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Assistant Town Clerk, Ilene Twiss administered the Oath of Office to both Officers.  Many of their family members were also present.

Application for a Beer, Wine, and Cordial License for Maximos, Inc., d/b/a Captain Pizza, 227 R Maple Street, by Stephan Captain, Owner.  Mr. Houten recused himself.  Mr. Captain noted that he opened Captain’s Pizza in Middleton ten years ago and has thought a lot about adding beer and wine to the menu.  He has opened and operated a number of restaurants.  He introduced his daughter, Ms. Demetria Captain who would be the manager on the liquor license.  She indicated that she has completed TIPS Training.  She has been the manager at Captain’s since 2008 though she does not have previous liquor experience.
        Mr. Prentakis noted that their application would need to contain a copy of their entire lease in order to be processed by the Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission (ABCC).
        Ms. Jones expressed two concerns.  The first was the proximity of the business to the Goddard School and the second was that most of the establishment’s business was take-out.  In response to the second concern Ms. Captain responded that she felt that the TIPS training covered what she needed to know.  There would be no bar and the establishment is a sit-down restaurant.  Mr. Captain added that it was similar to the Chinese Restaurant across the street.  He has had liquor licenses in the past and has had no problems.  He assured the Board that this would not be a case of absentee management.  Ms. Jones wanted to be assured that if they employed high school aged individuals; they would not be there alone.  Ms. Captain said that she hires college aged individuals.  Her youngest driver is 28.  She does intend to have another employee become TIPS certified.  Mr. Prentakis asked how many employees they had.  Ms. Captain said that there were three full time employees and three part time drivers.
        Ms. Jones asked if the notice to schools requirement applied to the Goddard School.  Mr. Singer said that he didn’t think it applied to private schools.  Though the school may have been notified as part of the regular notification to abutters, he was not sure if that would be sufficient.  If it isn’t sufficient, the application will be kicked back by the ABCC.
        Ms. Lindberg made a motion to approve the application for a Beer, Wine, and Cordial License for Maximos, Inc., d/b/a Captain Pizza, 227 R Maple Street, by Stephan Captain, Owner provided that the TIPS certificate and the copy of the entire lease are provided.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion.
        Abutter Cheryl Dyment of 9 Gregory St. was recognized.  She expressed disappointment that she had not been present for the entire presentation since the agenda indicated it would not begin until 8:00.  She feels that a beer and wine license will change the business considerably.  Patrons will stay longer and go outside to smoke.  She noted that there are picnic tables outside and that there are already parking and traffic issues.  She said that cars were not supposed to enter the restaurant from Gregory St. and that she has spoken with the Building Commissioner about these problems.
        Ms. Lindberg noted that the liquor license would not extend to the exterior of the restaurant.  She added that parking issues were not a matter that could be considered in granting a liquor license.  Mr. Singer said that the Building Commissioner would look into any signage and site plan issues.  Mr. Cresta also noted that if a liquor license holder sells their business, the Selectmen would hold a hearing before transferring the license.  The Town holds the licenses and assigns them to businesses.  The business must conform to the zoning.
        Mr. Dennis O’Brien of 9 Gregory noted that there is always a conflict where a residential zone abuts a commercial zone.  Ms. Jones stated that the Board has declined to issue Liquor Licenses to pizza places in the past.  Ms. Lindberg said that she felt the Board could not discriminate based on what kind of food was served.  Mr. Cresta added that no one should think that take out included taking alcohol off premises.
        Mr. Cresta offered a friendly amendment to add the requirement that an additional employee be TIPS certified within a reasonable period.  The vote was 3-1-0, with Ms. Jones being opposed.
Application to Transfer a Common Victualler and Gas License/Permits ~from J & A Convenience d/b/a Fast Freddies, MH Bell to J & A Convenience, Manager Ms. Ritaben Patel by Attorney Jill Mann – Ms. Mann introduced the Patels.  She noted that they own the Richdale in the center of Town and are Middleton residents.  Though they will own the business, the property is owned by Alliance Gas.  They have a one year lease which is standard and included in the application.  Ms. Ritaben Patel will be the manager.  They do not plan any changes.
Mr. Cresta made a motion to approve the application to transfer a Common Victualler and Gas License/Permits from J & A Convenience d/b/a Fast Freddies, MH Bell to J & A Convenience, Manager Ms. Ritaben Patel.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Review and Vote to Approve the Town of Middleton Roadway Acceptance Procedures as Recommended by the Planning Board and Prepared by Planner/Coordinator Katrina O’Leary - Ms. O’Leary joined the Board for this discussion.  Mr. Singer said that this was an attempt to put in writing the process for getting a street accepted as part of the normal course of sub-division acceptance and build out.  The current process does not give the developer much incentive to have the road accepted even when the work has been done and folks have moved in.  It is often seven years before the road becomes town property.  The Town provides the amenities such as street lights and plowing, whether the road is accepted or not.  Road acceptance is an elaborate process involving as-builts and deeds.  There is a need for a concrete process for getting streets accepted.
        Ms. O’Leary said that this document tries to put into words a process that is already in place.  Massachusetts General Law (MGL) Ch.41 lays out the rules for the Planning Board to accept sub-divisions.  However it is MGL Ch. 82 Sections 21-23 that lay out the rules by which the Board of Selectmen must accept a road, including a recommendation from the Planning Board. So, it will be helpful to have everything in one place.  The process leading up to acceptance of a road by Town Meeting needs 6 to 7 month.
A provision is in the document, that states that until a road is accepted, snow plowing is the developer’s responsibility.  Mr. Prentakis asked what happens if the developer doesn’t do it.  Mr. Singer said that there should be a notice on the Occupancy Permit warning residents that their road is not accepted and what that means.  He added that the Town has taken on the responsibility of plowing whether the road has been accepted or not.  The electric light department builds in two to three years of the cost of electricity for running the street lights, into its fees for constructing the street lights.  The Public Works Department does plow the streets if the sub-division is close to completion and houses are occupied. The streets should be in excellent shape so there should be no need to fill a pot hole.  That means no one who lives there would notice whether the street is accepted or not.  However, if something goes wrong in 8 or 10 years, the Town has no authority to fix it.  When the street needs repaving in 20 years, the Town would have no right to spend public dollars if it did not actually own the street.  The procedure will upset some people but it will be an incentive to the developer to get the roads accepted.  It might be necessary to modify the set aside to include the cost of plowing right in the bond.  If there is an emergency, the Town has the right to plow but it is questionable how the Town could bill that back to the developer.
        Ms. Lindberg gave the example of Smith Farm, which has a lot of roadway. Since these roads are not accepted they do not count towards the Town’s Ch. 90 allocation.  Ms. Jones asked if the fact that the roads were not accepted was well-known to the residents.  Mr. Singer answered that it is not flagged when the buyer is closing on the property, so they may not know.  An indication should be put on the plan.  Some roads like Eddington and Wildwood are private roads that were never intended to become public.
Noting that these procedures would apply to new sub-divisions, Mr. Prentakis asked what was being done about sub-divisions that are already started.  Mr. Singer said that Ms. O’Leary is working on four or five sub-divisions that are in that state.  Developers call in the spring to see if they can get on the Town Meeting Warrant but they don’t follow through.  The paperwork and legal feels can run $30,000 to $40,000.  The incentive has to come from private owners who are expecting public services.  The Town can’t force the developers to do this.  Ms. Lindberg added that the contingency the Town is holding is not enough to be an incentive.  The question is does it need to be increased.
Ms. Jones said that she felt that it is unfair to put the burden on the owners.  Mr. Singer pointed out that if the road is not accepted then the home owners own that road.  Mr. Cresta said that he felt it was “Buyer beware!”  It is not practical to require that the sub-division be complete before lots can be sold, particularly since the Town has the Phased Development (25%) by-law.
Mr. Prentakis suggested that when people buy a lot or house, they could withhold some amount until the road is accepted.  Mr. Cresta suggested that the Town provide notification when the occupancy permit is granted that the road is not an accepted way and the Town is not responsible for plowing.  Mr. Houten noted that it is usually the builder who gets the occupancy permit so that information might not get to the buyer.  Ms. O’Leary said that is why it should be noted on the plan.  That way the attorney doing the closing will see it.
Ms. O’Leary emphasized that the policy is not changing anything just putting it in writing.  Mr. Cresta responded that if the Town memorializes this, then it has to not plow the road and if it has to plow for an emergency, it has to establish how much it will cost the developer.  Ms. Lindberg added that certain warranties and representations were made to the buyer.  If they were not true, then the buyer has recourse to go after the developer or the realtor.
Ms. Jones said that she felt it was an assumption that roadways will become the town’s responsible.  Ms. Lindberg said that was not always the case.  She gave Eddington Street as an example.  She doubted all of the residents realized it was a private way.  Even though that fact is on the plan, people don’t always read their plan.  Mr. Singer gave the example of Mansfield Rd. and Nichols Lane.  They have private sewers in the public way and should be contributing to a sewer betterment fund.  However there is no association in place to collect the funds.  This seems to be a surprise to potential buyers.
Ms. Jones said that an incentive is needed to get the job done. Increasing the bond is one incentive.  Mr. Cresta said angry homeowners are another incentive.  He asked if there was a difference in assessment between houses on an accepted road and house on roads that were not as yet accepted.  There is no difference, because the market determines the assessment and there is no difference in price between the two.
Mr. Prentakis asked if the Planning Board had reviewed the document.  Ms. Lindberg said that it had and though it did have comments, the Planning Board had voted to endorse it.  Ms. O’Leary said that one of their questions had been about how she came up with the fee of $1,000.  She explained that was approximately the amount that the developer would spend for recordings, review by the Town’s Consulting Engineer and the notices to abutters.  The developer will be able to pay it as one lump sum and the Town will do everything.
Ms. Lindberg asked that a requirement be added that all pages of an as-built have the same date and stamp.  Ms. O’Leary said that she also wanst to add a statement on the first page that the developer should meet with the Planning Coordinator.  Mr. Cresta asked that language be added requiring developers to notify buyers if the road is not accepted.  Ms. O’Leary questioned whether this was the appropriate place for such a requirement.  Mr. Cresta wants to memorialize that the Town won’t plow or provide street lighting.  Mr. Prentakis pointed out that that notification should have been made long before the road acceptance process begins.  It should be in the Planning Board Subdivision Approval or in the Planning Board Rules and Regulations.  Ms. Lindberg noted that most of the developers are good.  Ms. O’Leary added that one thing the Town could do is to keep track of the construction complete date and hold the developer to it.  Extensions should not be given automatically.
Ms. O’Leary said that there would be some petitions for road acceptance coming in in the next few weeks.  She would like to give this out to a few developers who have started the process.  She can use the document even if it is not accepted, though she could not assess the fee.  Mr. Prentakis suggested that Ms. O’Leary incorporate the changes and give the Board new copies for acceptance at the next meeting.  Ms. O’Leary said that it would be easier if she had an accepted document so she could assess the fee.
Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the Town of Middleton Roadway Acceptance Procedures as recommended by the Planning Board and prepared by Planner/Coordinator Katrina O’Leary with the two additions proposed by Ms. Lindberg and Ms. O’Leary.  Ms. Lindberg seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Mr. Singer noted that changes can continue to be made as needed.
Acceptance of Charitable Gift of $1,000 from ~Family Medicine Associates, LLC to be split equally for the Middleton COA and Food Bank
Mr. Houten made a motion to accept a Charitable Gift of $1,000 from Family Medicine Associates, LLC to be split equally for the Middleton COA and Food Bank.  Mr. Cresta seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Appointment Request for an Alternate Council on Aging Member, Barbara Sanborn – Mr. Prentakis noted that the Selectmen should receive a recommendation from the Council on Aging before making the appointment.
Mr. Cresta noted that two Boy Scouts were in the audience as part of earning their Community Service Badge.  They are his own son Armando Cresta, and Austin Paul.
Adjournment – Ms. Lindberg made a motion to adjourn the meeting.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.  The meeting was adjourned at 9:20.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary
Timothy Houten, Clerk