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2015 - Minutes of May 11, 18 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 11, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
Quorum present: Peter Skorput (PS), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM); Karen Zick (KZ). Also
present: Admin Asst Mark Webber (AA). Press present: Local Yokel.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
Board reviews and approves weekly payroll and vendor warrants for payment.

7:00 PM:        PS opens deliberation on the April 27, 2015 Public Hearing for Special Permit as
submitted by Turnpark Art Space for a restaurant and museum. Present for the applicant is attorney Catherine Chester (CC).

KZ asks about the proposed service road to the park from Oak Street. KZ notes that Oak Street is a private road and is concerned with encroachment to private property. CC responds that there is a wetland between the proposed park space and walking trails and the Girdler residence and that there are no plans to approach private property lines. Furthermore, access to the park from Oak Street will not be a primary access and will be used for occasional deliveries only.

KZ asks about the tax exempt status of the park and the resultant loss of real estate tax revenue to the Town. CC responds that the although the park is formed as a non-profit entity, it has not applied for tax exempt status and has no immediate plans to do so. If, in the future, the owners do apply and are granted real estate tax exempt status, CC offers that the owners may well consider a payment in lieu of taxes program.

EM has no questions or concerns, stating that all of his questions were answered at the April 27 Public Hearing.

PS, noting that there are no more questions or concerns from the Board, makes a motion to approve the Special Permit application as submitted at the April 27, 2015 with the following findings:

1.  The Applicant is a not-for-profit Massachusetts corporation and the Applicant's proposed site plan and special permit application show that all aspects of the proposed project will be in compliance with the dimensional, parking and driveway requirements of the Town's zoning bylaws except for an encroachment of the front setback by the proposed parking lot and Gatehouse building for which the Applicant has already received a variance and waiver from the Zoning Board of Appeals.
2.  The proposed museum and restaurant are desirable to the public convenience at the proposed location because they would attract additional visitors to the downtown businesses, which are within walking distance to the proposed site, and the museum and restaurant would be available to the public for the enjoyment of both residents and visitors.
3.  The proposed uses will not be detrimental to adjacent uses or to the established or future character of the neighborhood because (a) the proposed site is situated in a section of the commercial district near the MassPike, with few abutters; (b) the activity associated with the proposed uses is primarily quiet and passive and will not be disruptive to those few neighbors who do live nearby; and (c) the proposed project will rehabilitate and improve what is currently unused and abandoned space in the Town's commercial district.
4.  The proposed change will not create undue traffic congestion or unduly impair pedestrian safety, as the site's typical use is expected, based on ITE Trip date, to generate only 19 trips per hour on the busiest day of the week during peak season and 60 vehicle trips during the peak hour of a special event on the site. Furthermore, based on Foresight Land Services engineering study of the project, Moscow Road is equipped to easily absorb this additional traffic. With regard to pedestrian safety, the applicant's proposed sidewalk, at its own cost, would mitigate the already low risk to pedestrian safety on the section of Moscow Road.
5.  The applicant's proposed site plans have been reviewed by the Town's Fire Chief, Police Chief and Highway Superintendent and have shown that the proposed uses will not overload any public water, drainage or sewer system or any other municipal facility to such and extent that the proposed use or any existing use will be unduly subjected to hazards affecting public health, general welfare or safety.

EM seconds the motion to approve. Voice vote taken: EM, aye; KZ, aye; PS, aye. Special Permit is hereby granted by unanimous vote of the special permit granting authority.

Other Business/Action/Discussion Items:

  • Board has a general discussion about the contest for choosing a Town flag to be placed in the Statehouse. Once results of the contest are known, the Selectmen would choose the winner. Board thanks the organizers for their efforts and enthusiasm.
  • PS asks if the Transfer Station roof is on the list for repairs. AA responds that yes it is.
  • Board has a general discussion about getting the front of the Town Hall and the cannon spruced up for Memorial Day events.
7:40 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, PS makes a motion to
adjourn the meeting. KZ seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Peter Skorput, Chair                          Earl Moffatt                                       Karen Zick

Date: ___________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
May 18, 2015

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting.
Quorum present: Peter Skorput (PS), Chair; Earl Moffatt (EM); Curt Wilton (CW). Also present: Admin Asst Mark Webber. Press present: Local Yokel.

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes.
Board reviews and approves weekly warrants.

7:00 PM:        PS opens the Public Hearing to hear and act on an application under Town zoning bylaw
section 4.11.1, for a license to sell used construction equipment submitted by Bill Williams, 52 Gt. Barrington Road.

EM reads the public notice as appeared in the Berkshire Eagle on 4/31/15 and 5/7/15 EM notes that abutters were notified and that no written comments had been received by the Board.

PS asks Mr Williams to explain his application and his intentions if granted a special permit. Mr. Williams notes that he has operated a paving business at his current location for many years and would like to have the ability to buy and sell, on a limited basis,construction equipment such as paving machines. Mr Williams anticipates that he may buy and sell as few as none or as many as half a dozen units per year. He states that this activity would be ancillary to his current paving business at the same location. There would be no signs, banners or equipment displayed in public view near Gt Barrington Rd.  

PS asks if Bill plans to keep his paving business in operation. Mr Williams responds that, yes, he does and that the buying and selling of used equipment would be a minor component to ongoing activities.

PS opens the discussion up to those in attendance.

Abutter Ron Ouwerkerk expresses concerns about increased activity and noise and wonders if any work will take place on site to refurbish used equipment. Mr Williams responds that any refurbishment of equipment would either take place off site or in his garage building. There would be no noticeable increase in activity of machinery or vehicle coming and going from present activities.

Mr Ouwerkerk asks what recourse  would there be if the used equipment business grew and became a nuisance or devalued his property. AA responds that used car and used equipment sales licenses are reviewed and renewed each year in the month of December by the Selectmen in a posted public hearing. The Board would consider any complaints received during the past year or testimony at the renewal hearing. The Board has the ability to place reasonable limits and controls on any license it chooses to renew if warranted.

Resident Peter Anderson asks why the Board, as licensing authority, doesn't make Troy's Garage clean up its used vehicle operation. AA responds that tonight's discussion is limited to the posted public hearing and references to other license holders is a topic more appropriately discussed either at another meeting or during the December license renewal process.

There being no further public comment, PS asks for a vote on the Special Permit application as presented. EM states that he would like to recuse himself from the vote because he is an abutter. AA notes that the special permit requires a unanimous vote of the 3 member Board and that, in cases such as this, the 'rule of necessity' can be invoked to allow a Board member with described conflicts to vote. EM would prefer to get clarification from Town Counsel on the 'rule of necessity' before casting his vote.

Accordingly, PS makes a motion to continue the hearing until June 1, 2015 at 7:00 PM. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Other Business/Action Items:

  • Board reorganization following the May 11 election. CW nominates Earl Moffatt as Chairman. PS seconds the motion. CW nominates PS as Board Secretary. EM seconds the motion. EM nominates CW as Board Clerk. PS seconds the nomination. Vote taken on the reorganized positions, 3-0 in favor.
  • Resident Larry Tonini addresses the Board with concerns over recent activities regarding the design of a Town flag to be flown in the State House. Larry shows the Board a flag commissioned by the W.S. Fire Department back in 1974 to coincide with the Town's bicentennial activities. The flag depicts the town seal as created by John Astore, which symbolizes the activities historically related to the Town. Larry is concerned that there will be too many flags representing the Town and asks the Board to reconsider making a decision based upon the recent process to design and choose a new Town flag since there is already an appropriate one in place. Board agrees to keep the discussion open and to consider all options.
  • Shaker Mill Inn owner Bob Thibeault asks the Board about public bathroom operations and responsibilities. Bob is informed that the bathrooms are open and that the W. S. Police lock the building each evening and that CW opens the building early each morning Monday-Friday. CW suggests that Bob or his designee open the building on weekend mornings as in past practice. Bob agrees. In response to further discussion on the stocking and upgrades to the facility, Board responds that the Town custodian has ordered changing tables and larger capacity paper holders and has just finish painting the building. Board agrees that the stocking and upkeep is the responsibility of the Town. CW further suggests that the Farmer's Market organizers monitor operations during Thursday events and if a problem occurs which cannot be easily corrected, then lock the doors and put up an out of service notice.
  • Karen Carmean asks the Board how they'd like her to proceed with the Town flag and the competition to create a new one. Board has a general discussion on adding the Astore created Town seal to the winning entry depicting the old town hall. EM suggests having four flags made and raffling one to recoup the cost of production. No decisions made.
  • Board approves request for temporary signs advertising an upcoming event at the old town hall.
7:55 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, EM makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes accepted by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Peter Skorput, Chair                         Earl Moffatt                                       Curt Wilton

Date: ___________

Town of West Stockbridge 21 State Line Road, West Stockbridge, MA 01266
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