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2016 - Minutes of February 8, 22 Meetings
Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
February 8, 2016

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

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

7:00 PM:        EM opens the Public Informational Meeting for a discussion on parking, traffic flow,
and pedestrian/vehicular safety in the areas of Harris, Center, Depot and Main Streets. EM explains that  the intent of this meeting is to gather information to guide the Selectmen and future decisions regarding the area. EM notes that stakeholders were invited via mailing and that the Board invited Steve Mack of Foresight Land Services to attend as well. CW adds that the Board is looking to be pro-active and is not interested in forcing any changes to the general area but is simply looking to see if things can be improved. CW notes that with the coming of the art park off of Moscow Road, traffic and focus is shifting from Main Street to the Moscow/Center/Depot Street areas.

EM states that initial thoughts include: making Center Street one-way traffic only, exiting from Main Street; extending Harris Street to intersect with Moscow Road; close off Merritt Way and add several parking spots; establish a commercial vehicle loading/unloading zone for downtown businesses and; to investigate the area to determine ownership and property lines, which are ambiguous and have evolved to current conditions through historic patterns and use. EM then opens the discussion to those in attendance.

Henry Baldwin, owner of Baldwin Hardware, states his opposition to making Center Street one-way. He feels it would damage his business.

Tim Walsh, owner of Public Market, feels that increased police presence and enforcement would reduce the amount of illegal and haphazard parking, particularly on Main Street. He adds that certain Main Street parking spots should be allocated for storefronts with limited time parking. He adds that studies show that one-way streets kill business. CW agrees that increased enforcement for speeding and parking is needed in the downtown area. Others agree although some caution that all of the parking violators are downtown business customers.

There is general discussion about Harris Street layout and need to make it intersect with another Town road. Today, Harris Street is essentially landlocked to vehicular access. Merritt Way is private land with a parallel Town sewer easement running its length and Harris Street is cut off by the pedestrian only bridge at Main Street and its termination in the vicinity of Truc's Orient Express. Planning Board Chair Mitch Greenwald suggests that the Town investigate options, including adverse possession, in order to make Merritt Way a public road. This might preclude the need to extend Harris Street to Moscow Road.

There is a general discussion about the need for more parking, particularly the acquisition of the land next to the Card Lake Inn, which has been used for downtown parking for the past several decades but is privately owned. Planning Board member Dana Bixby and resident Randy Thunfors express opposition to converting commercial property to municipal parking. Floor Store owner Joe Roy favors more downtown parking options, including the Card Lake lot.

Steve Mack states that he would be able to draft traffic and parking options in the area based on ideas and concerns expressed at tonight's meeting for a future meeting.

7:50 PM:        EM thanks everyone for attending and offering ideas and that the Board will continue
investigating options and will include stakeholders in future discussions and that the Board will not be making any arbitrary decisions.

Other Business/Action/Discussion Items:
  • Parks and Recreation Committee member Roland Dudney submits a capital plan and FY 2017 operating budget for Parks and Recreation.
  • James Hallock, resident and West Stockbridge Fire Department officer (Lieutenant), addresses the meeting with concerns about W.S. Fire Department operations and Fire Chief Peter Skorput. Mr. Hallock distributes prepared notes to those in attendance and reads from that 3-page statement (attached). After reading his statement, resident Joe Roy suggests that this is a sensitive topic and might be better off discussed in an executive session. Fire Chief and Selectman Peter Skorput states that he'd prefer any discussions to be in open session. EM notes that this is the second instance of concerns with the Fire Department that have been brought to the attention of the Board of Selectmen. PS states that he is insulted with the exaggerations and lies stated by Mr Hallock and that he (PS) has given 32 years of volunteer service to the Fire Department and that he has done nothing but help and promote Mr Hallock and now he (Hallock) is stabbing him in the back because he wants to become Fire Chief. EM states that the Board will not be taking any action on Lt Hallock's letter but will contact Town Counsel for advise on how best to proceed.
  • Board renews its annual membership agreement with the Southern Berkshire Household Hazardous Waste group, which provides for residential disposal of hazardous waste items at organized events.
  • Board will meet on February 17, 2016 at 3:00 PM for a business meeting to review FY 2017 Town budgets.
8:30 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: ____________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
February 22, 2016

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

Board reviews and approves previous meeting minutes as presented.
Board reviews and signs weekly warrants.

7:00 PM:        Parks and Recreation Committee, represented by member Roland Dudney, presents FY
2017 budget and capital plan for the construction of a new playground behind the Village School to replace the old existing structures. Mr Dudney informs the Board that a grant opportunity is available from the Department of Conservation and Recreation (DCR), which if approved, would provide 50% of the funding towards the playground project. March 19th is the deadline for submittal of a preliminary grant application. Mr Dudney suggests that the project should be budgeted at $50,000 based on his research. He hopes to have a portion of that cost offset by donations in the form of advertising plaques purchased by local businesses and placed in the playground area. Following a discussion, Board agrees to submit a preliminary application to DCR. Mr Dudney will provide additional information to the AA prior to the March 19 deadline for submission.

7:15 PM:        Joe Roy and Sheila Thunfors, representing the Town bylaw Review Committee, makes
their presentation to the Board. Joe and Sheila, along with several other residents on the committee, have reviewed all information available related to town meeting votes and actions on town bylaws for the purpose of putting together a comprehensive copy of those bylaws and actions taken. The Committee has been working on and off for a number of years and Joe states that the Committee has gone as far as it can with the information available. Joe notes that trips have been made to both the Boston and Springfield offices of the Attorney General for research. Joe and Sheila suggest that a firm be hired to complete their research and put the bylaws in bound form with proper notations. Board agrees and thanks Joe and Sheila and the other members of their committee for a tremendous effort on behalf of the Town.

Other Business/Action/Discussion Items:
  • Board appoints Admin Asst Mark Webber to a vacancy on the Berkshire Insurance Group. His name was offered by the Group to fill a vacancy.
  • Board reviews and approves the Annual Caucus warrant. The Annual non-partisan Caucus will be held on March 14 at 7:00 PM.
  • Library Trustees will make a presentation to the Board regarding plans for a new Library entrance at the southwest corner of the Village School/Town offices building.
7:30 PM:        There being no additional business to come before the Board, CW makes a motion to
adjourn. PS seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Meeting minutes approved by:

__________________________      __________________________      ________________________
Earl Moffatt, Chair                            Peter Skorput                                    Curt Wilton

Date: _____________



 
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