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Selectmen Meeting Minutes 01/28/2014
Selectmen’s Meeting
Nathan Media Center
Fuller Meadow School
January 28, 2014
7:30 PM

Call to Order – Chairman Prentakis called the meeting to order at 7:35.  Also present were Ms. Jones, Mr. Houten, Town Administrator Mr. Singer, and Assistant Town Administrator Mr. Ferrara.  Mr. Prentakis announced that the Master Plan Committee is working on a plan for recreation facilities.  They have put a survey on the Town website and he asked anyone who is interested to please fill out the survey.
Minutes – Mr. Houten made a motion to approve the minutes of the January 14, 2014 meeting.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Approval of Warrants – Payroll Warrant 1430 totaled $120,397 and included $5,969 in snow overtime from the last storm.  The Payables Warrant totaled $548,294 and included $436,823 for purchase of power.
        Ms. Jones made a motion to approve the warrants.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Town Administrator’s Report
  • Regional Emergency Communications Center (RECC) – The Advisory Council of the RECC has sent a letter to the Department of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance (DCAMM) concerning the delay in the construction of the permanent antenna for the project.  This delay impacts the ability of the larger, more distant communities of Beverly and Amesbury to cut over to the new system.  The antenna has been delayed by eighteen months.  No reason has been given for this delay.  The RECC has asked the Commissioner to expedite the matter.  The RECC has already purchased the materials for the tower but can only proceed so far without DCAMM.
  • Parking at Jail - There are ongoing discussions with DCAMM concerning expanding parking at the site.  The RECC antenna will take out some of their current parking space.  Discussions with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have fallen through, and DCAMM has shown no interest in the Farley property.  They are now considering partially filling the detention pond which may give them a few dozen spaces.  This may involve cutting some trees.  These trees are no more than 25 years old.  There is still a question of whether DCAMM will continue to own the land the new Vocational School is being built on or will deed the 115 acres to the School Committee.  DCAMM can’t convert the agricultural land to parking for the Jail.  The Jail is restricted to 20 acres so it can’t expand into the surrounding state owned land.  Ms. Jones asked if there was any possibility of DCAMM being interested in the Farley property.  There is an issue of the Farley’s needing an appraisal.  Mr. Singer said that, three years ago, DCAMM was looking at the wrong lot so they thought it was too steep.  The legislative delegation got DCAMM to come to the site. When they saw the correct lot, they realized that it was suitable and expressed some interest.
  • FY 2015 Budget – The FY ’15 budget is almost ready.  The Budget Meeting will be February 8th.  It will be necessary to have a meeting the following Tuesday, Feb 11th.  A Joint Meeting with the School Committee is on the agenda to act on the School Building Assistance Application for initial capital funding for roof repair on this building.  The Building Commissioner will also have a candidate for Assistant Building Commissioner since the current assistant has taken a full time job.
  • Howe-Manning Library Cable Project – Mr. Ferrara reported that he and Mr. Pellicelli met with technical and governmental relations staff from Comcast and Verizon.  They visited both the Flint Public Library and the Howe-Manning School.  Each provider is supposed to furnish the Town with three channels for cable access.  Currently, Comcast has provided two and Verizon has provided one.  The first step is to get three channels from each provider.  The plan is to enable live broadcast from both the Library and the Howe-Manning School.  Most of the necessary equipment is in place at the Library. Comcast has a direct connection into the Howe-Manning and from there it is a small jump to the Media Room.  There is more work for Verizon to do.  Mr. Prentakis noted that the equipment would not be paid for by tax dollars.  Mr. Singer explained that a portion of each person’s cable bill goes for public access.  When the project is complete Library programs and school assemblies will be able to be broadcast live.
Request for Street Name in New Subdivision at 64R East Street by Jon and Catherine Maidment, and Eleanor Champlain as co-Trustees of Elle M Dunn Trust, Attorney Jill Mann – Attorney Melissa Ogden of Mann & Mann represented the property owners.  Ms. Jones noted that she had wanted to name a street near East St. for William Bradley Griggs who served in Viet Nam and lived in that area.
Ms. Jones made a motion to name the street in the new Subdivision at 64R East Street Griggs Road.  Mr. Houten seconded the motion and all were in favor.
Receipt of Request to Begin Road Acceptance Process for Woodward Road by L. Perrina Construction Co., Kristen Brown, Manager, (Refer to Planning Board)
Mr. Houten made a motion refer the matter of the road acceptance for Woodward Road to the Planning Board.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were if favor.
Response of Town to DCAMM Notification of Intended Shade Tree Removal at Middleton Colony to Construct a Division of Youth Services (DYS) Northeast Regional Youth Services Center – Mr. Singer reminded the Board that a large meeting was held here in August with representatives of DCAMM, DYS, and of their Architect and Construction Company.  At that time, the Town made a number of requests concerning public access to the site, preservation of trees and rerouting of truck traffic away from residential streets.  The Town was promised a response and plans within thirty days, but that did not happen.  In November, Mr. Singer and Mr. Ferrara were invited, on short notice, to a walk through at which they found that the trees were all due to be cut down.  Due to the strong objections of the Town, the tree removal was put on hold.
        Mr. Ferrara showed a number of slides of the site.  The first was of the Goldsmith building being torn down.  There are trees in this picture but they will have to go because they are in the footprint of the new building.  The second photo was from the corner of Gregory St. and showed the line of 100’ tall trees that would buffer the site from Gregory St.  They are slated to go.  They would be replaced with a 10’ berm with plantings on top.  There was also a photo from the home of a Gregory St. resident showing the trees that would be removed that currently buffer that property from the site.
        Mr. Singer noted that DCAMM had declined to send a copy of the plans to the Town, insisting that they could only be viewed at their office.  That is why the Town did not see them until November.  It was then clear that all the trees are being cut.  Mr. Singer feels that they are just looking for the easiest way to do the project and hoping that when it is done, it will look nice so no one will notice that the trees are gone.  Their Landscape Architect said that it was preferable to cut the trees because they might get sick and die someday.
        Mr. Singer suggested that the matter be referred to the Conservation Commission because they have more expertise in issues of tree removal.  It might be possible to use the Wetland Protection Act informally to get DCAMM to come to the Commission voluntarily.  This would also require a hearing with notification to abutters.  Mr. Prentakis pointed out that DCAMM would not come to the Commission if they did not have to.  Mr. Singer said that Representative Jones has been speaking to them.  Mr. Singer will also make some calls to John Brennan at DYS.
Mr. Dennis O’Brien of 9 Gregory St. pointed out that their own arborist said that a fence at the drip line would protect the trees.  Mr. Singer feared that the contractors might sabotage the trees.  Two thirds of the trees at the back of the property will be cut for a detention pond.  Cheryl Dyment, also of 9 Gregory, pointed out that the building will be clearly visible without the trees.  She added that the trees buffer the neighborhood from the sounds from the Danvers Fish & Game.
Ms. Jones asked if changes had been made to the planned route for the construction vehicles, as discussed at the August meeting.  Mr. Ferrara replied that they have agreed to route smaller vehicles through the state property.  However they do still plan on having the larger vehicles use Route 62 and Gregory St because they claim the large trucks cannot make certain turns.  Elizabeth Wetmore of 15 Gregory St. said that she has seen the trucks struggling to make the sharp turn from the access onto Gregory St. heading towards Rte. 62.  They could have simply gone straight across the intersection to go through to Hogan.
        Mr. O’Brien added that when facility is built, the trees would provide a wind break for the building.  The area is very windy.  Also the trees would provide a restful view for both clients and staff.
        Mr. Prentakis questioned whether DCAMM would even listen to DYS.  Mr. Singer said that DYS, under a previous Commissioner, worked together with the Town to reduce the number of beds at the facility, and to merge the residential facility with the regional office.  They also worked together to make the facility look more like an office building than a detention facility.  If the trees are cut down, that gain will all be lost,
        Mr. Prentakis thanked everyone for coming.  He noted that the Town’s authority in this matter is non-existent.  He suggested that the neighbors put on pressure by writing to the Town’s legislative delegation.  Ms. Dyment said that she would like to see more newspaper coverage.  Mr. Singer said that he had tried to get an article in the Salem Evening News but was not able to.  He will also try for the Boston Globe but he urged the neighbors to write letters to the editor and include pictures.
        Mr. Houten made a motion to refer the matter to the Conservation Commission.  Ms. Jones seconded the motion and all were in favor.
        Mr. Singer added that he will continue to work with the Legislative Delegation.  He also sees some opportunity for compromise if the Conservation Commission can get all parties together.
Executive Session under MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, Paragraph 5
Mr. Prentakis announced that the Board would be going into Executive Session under MGL Chapter 30A, Section 21, Paragraph 5 and would not be coming back into open session.  Mr. Houten called the role.  Mr. Prentakis voted yes.  Ms. Jones voted yes.  Mr. Houten voted yes.  The Board entered Executive Session at 8:45.
Respectfully submitted,
Mary Jane Morrin                        
Mary Jane Morrin, Recording Secretary

Timothy Houten, Clerk