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2004 - Minutes of November 1, 8, 15, 22, 29 Meetings

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
November 1, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, CW
                Board reviews, makes corrections and approves previous meeting minutes.
                Board reviews and signs warrants
Board discusses recent developments with Astore Quarry property. Mass Division of Fisheries and Wildlife sent a transfer of property document for John Astore to sign. John is now reluctant to sign. Although the transfer to Fisheries and Wildlife would accomplish the same open space/preservation goals as John set forth when he pledged the 37 acres to the Town and would release the Town from direct liability for accidents occurring at the quarry, John doesn't want Fisheries and Wildlife to get the property without consideration. Apparently, John offered the same parcel to Fisheries and Wildlife several years ago when DFW was purchasing surrounding land. DFW didn't want to pay for the Astore Quarry property at that time. John would still gift the property to the Town but not to DFW. Following a discussion, it is decided that the Board or its agent should talk to John and see if he would be opposed to gifting the land to the Town and the Town, in turn, gifting the property to the DFW.

Board discusses Tighe and Bond Engineers plans for heating and ventilation upgrades at the Wastewater Treatment Facility. The Town has been under a DEP Administrative Order to make changes to the heating and ventilation systems at the plant because they are inefficient and are causing an unhealthy work environment. A few weeks ago, CW toured the plant with a qualified local plumbing/heating contractor. From that meeting, it was suggested that the proposed new heating system could be sited in an existing room at the plant. The Tighe and Bond proposal calls for building a separate furnace structure. Following a discussion, it is decided that Tighe and Bond should be instructed to revisit the site to see if the alternate proposal could work.

Board discusses signage for the Village School. Zoning by-laws restrict directional/informational signs in that zone to 4 sq. ft. It is felt that a one-sided 2'x2' sign wouldn't be sufficient to direct people to the new Police Station and future Town offices. It is suggested that the Board petition the ZBA for a variance. Also, the Board is looking for an update on lettering of the Police cruiser. AA will contact the Chief.

Board reviews response from Town Counsel re: withdrawing a citizen petition after it has been turned in and accepted. The short answer is no, it can't be withdrawn even if that is the wish of the petitioners. The Board is still required to hold a meeting within 45 days of receipt of the petition. One suggestion is to open and postpone the meeting to a date more to the liking of the petitioners. AA will relay this information to Joel Hotchkiss and discuss options.

7:25 PM:        Ed Denham, ConsCom member, speaks to the new DEP regulation requiring an in-depth review of all construction projects that disturb more than 1 acre. Ed states that several proposed and current project may fall under that category. CW notes that he takes this new regulation into consideration and makes developers aware when issuing curb-cuts and driveway permits.

Marge Powell says that the Town has to do a better job of policing development in Town.

Bob Powell says that Town inspectors need to do a better job of enforcement. He cites the non-issuance of a building permit to recent renovations at the new Police station office at the Village School.

Ogden Gigli suggests that the Town develop a comprehensive permitting handbook for developers. He suggests that builders should sign off that they have read the handbook before seeking permits.

AA notes that Irene Skorput, Bd. of Assessors, is investigating the existence of a right-of-way granted to the Town through Kingsmont property to Town property on Harvey Mt.

Ed Denham notes that complaints of industrial burning have been brought to his attention in the past. He notes that developers are burning whole trees and demolition materials. LT notes that industrial burning is not allowed and when calls are made to the Fire Chief, the Chief responds immediately.

Danny May, co-owner of LaBruschetta, asks the Board for an update on his discussion with the Board on opening up a new restaurant at the current 1 Harris St. location and adding a 2nd liquor license (restaurant) in addition to his current retail liquor license. LT responds that the Board posed some questions regarding zoning to the Planning Board. The Planning Board was not sure how to address the questions and, in turn, have contacted Town Counsel. The Selectmen are waiting to hear back from the Planning Board. The Planning Bd. is meeting next Monday night.

Danny May asks if he can schedule his 2 hearings for the same evening to save time. Board responds that as soon as their questions have been cleared up, there is no reason why 2 hearings couldn't be scheduled for the same evening as long as they have separate times and postings.

8:15 PM:        Clayton Beauchaine, resident of Mill Pond Trailer Park, asks for an update to talk about septic repairs at the Park. Board of Health member Ogden Gigli answers that it doesn't appear that the Park owners have done any of the promised repairs but that the BOH is meeting with Park owners this Thursday evening and that Ogden will get back to Mr. Beauchaine following that meeting. It is pointed out that the DEP is the principal regulatory authority governing septic and water issues at trailer parks but the local Board of Health has a role in trying to solve problems before they are transferred to the DEP in Springfield.

8:30 PM:        Mike Skorput, representing the American Legion, asks the Board about available space in the Village School. The Legion's membership is both aging and declining in numbers and they are thinking of selling their Gt. Barrington road meeting house. They would require a secure area as an armory and storage space for other items along with the use of a meeting room on occasion. LT responds that although the Town is a ways away from adopting a plan to move Town functions into the Village School, it would seem that there is plenty of room to accommodate the Legion's needs. The Legion would be welcome at Village School.

Other Items:    Board reviews a letter from Bob Powell, Easland Road, regarding on-going problems he is having with a Board approved driveway next door. Board will discuss the letter again when there is a full Board present.

        ED announces that K-B Toys of Pittsfield has offered office furniture to the Town. ED, CW, AA and Treasurer Bruce Turner will make a trip to the K-B warehouse in Pittsfield this Friday to view and tag donated furniture.

        CW asks that a help-wanted ad be placed in the newspaper for a part-time, on call CDL B licensed truck driver for winter plowing.

8:45 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn. LT seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

______________________  _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Curt Wilton

Date: __________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
November 8, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: ED, CW
                Board approves previous meeting minutes
                Board approves weekly warrants

Other Items:    Board schedules a Special Town Meeting, per the request of petition organizers, for November 29 at 7:00 PM at the Village School The purpose of the meeting will be informational. There will be no warrant articles. There will be no warrant spending articles presented.

        Board reviews a letter received from MassHighway District 1 Director Ross Dindio. In it he notes that several redundant road signs have been removed in Town at the Selectmen's recent request and that his office is working on plans to make all of the directional/informational/legal signs in town more uniform and easier for motorists to read and understand. He appreciates the Selectmen bringing their concerns to his office.

        Tighe and Bond engineers will meet with CW and AA at WWTF on November 15 morning to discuss alternatives to housing the proposed furnace system.

        Lycott Engineering suggests that the Board consider doing an Notice of Intent for Card Pond at the same time he works on the NOI for Mill Pond. There would be a substantial savings if both were done at the same time. An NOI is good for 3 years and is renewable for 2 additional 3-year periods at the pleasure of the ConsCom. Board agrees that to do so makes economic sense, since there seems to be as much interest in removing the weeds from Card Pond as there is for Mill Pond.

        Board approves placing a Help Wanted ad in the Berkshire Eagle for part-time; on call snow plowing help for the Highway Dept. Applicants must have a clean Massachusetts CDL Class B license to be considered.

        Danny May, LaBruschetta, speaks to the Board re: scheduling hearings for a restaurant special permit and a hearing to alter the licensed premises of his existing retail wine and malt license and to apply (under a 2nd corporation) for a restaurant all-alcoholic beverages license. The Board informs Mr. May that they had just an hour ago received a response from Town Counsel on some zoning issues related to Mr. May's proposal and that they haven't had a chance to study the response.  The Board will set public hearing dates when they finish doing their research and not before.

7:30 PM:        There being no further business to consider, ED makes a motion to adjourn. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 2-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

______________________________  _____________________________
Elizabeth DiGrigoli                             Curt Wilton

Date: _____________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
November 15, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, ED, CW
                BOS approves previous meeting minutes
                BOS approves weekly warrants
                No permits before the Board

7:00 PM:        Fire Chief Skorput addresses the problem of a dwindling membership for both Volunteer Firemen and EMT's. He suggests that additional incentives may be needed to attract and retain volunteers.

        David Pearlson, volunteer fireman/EMT, has researched the option of providing a real estate tax credit to volunteers. 8 states, including NY and CT have adopted enabling legislation to do so. Credits range from $500-$3,000 per year. If such a program was adopted by the State, acceptance and participation would be a local option by Town Meeting acceptance. David is seeking Selectmen endorsement to bring the proposal to the regional Fire Chief's Association as the first step in building consensus for the idea.

        CW makes a motion to support the WSVFD effort. ED seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

        Carmen Tonini, WSVFD Women's Auxiliary member, announces that they are organizing a party on December 5 from 2-4 at the West Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club.

7:20 PM:        Attorney Louis Oggiani, representing the West Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club, delivers a serving policy for the Club per order of the previously held liquor license hearing. He also drops off paperwork for a Change of Manager at the Club.

7:30 PM:        Marge Powell, on behalf of the Tourism sub-committee of the Visioning Committee, discusses placing an ad in the Berkshire Visitor's Guide. Following a discussion, the Board agrees to spend $300 from the Selectmen's Expenses account for a spring issue ad. It is suggested that future related requests for promotion money be dealt with at a Town Meeting in the form of an article or line item.

7:45 PM:        SK Design seeks a waiver from the Sewer and Water by-laws which require ductile iron water lines for a private extension of the Town's water mains. SK argues that all of the mains in the area of Iron Mine/Iron Ore Roads are PVC. SK argues that ductile iron costs $15/ft. more to install than PVC and the costs do not outweigh the structural benefits. SK notes that the only concern voiced by the Town's Water Supt. is that PVC lines are hard to locate once installed. SK pledges to install a metal detecting strip with the PVC to aid in location.

        CW makes a motion to grant a waiver on the pipe material because SK is providing a substantial benefit to the Town. The Town will not spend a cent to extend its water main and add 12 needed customers. ED seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

        SK also delivers a $300,000 performance bond for Town Counsel review for the improvements they will be making to Iron Mine Road. A letter from the Board will be forwarded to the Planning Board stating that the Board is comfortable with the amount of the bond.

8:00 PM:        CW gives an update of this morning's meeting at the WWTF with the Town's engineers Tighe and Bond, Don Johnson, and the AA. A completed design and bid package was delivered by Tighe and Bond. The estimated cost of the project to upgrade and make repairs to the facility's heating and ventilation system - per DEP order - is approximately $200,000. CW thinks that this amount would be a hard sell to the voters and that adequate upgrades and repairs could be accomplished for far less and that he would like a little more time to investigate options. The 3 options, in descending order of cost are:   1) go with Tighe and Bond's proposal; 2) convert to oil fired furnace but without adding a separate furnace room; 3) simply replace the non-functioning propane heater units per the original plant design. Board agrees to investigate options further.

8:15 PM:        AA offers a MEMO for Board approval to be sent to the Planning Board which states the Board's position that the new owners of the Kingsmont property must provide the Town with a right-of-way to Town owned recreation land on Harvey Mountain. The MEMO also cites related deed research being done by Assessor Irene Skorput. It is the Board's position that recorded deeds clearly say that the Town has rights of way from W. Alford Road to its Harvey Mt. land. However, the location and definition of that right of way is not clearly defined in deeds. Nonetheless, the new owners of the former Kingsmont property must provide public access to the Town's Harvey Mt. property.

8:30 PM:        Other items:

        Board discusses and decides to send a letter to the BHRSD School Committee with its suggestion for naming the 2 new District school buildings. Their recommendations are: Monument Mt. Elementary School and Monument Mt. Middle School.

        AA notes that the date has been set for a Special Town Meeting, as per citizen petition, for 11-29-04 at 7:00 PM at the Village School for the purpose of discussing the future of the Town Hall.

        Board approves a revised harassment policy for Town employees.

        Matt Merritt, owner of an old structure on Harris St. Extension, requests an opinion from the Board. He is considering demolishing the building and wants to know if doing so would preclude him from future building on the property. The Board refers Mr. Merritt to the Building Inspector.

        AA reports that he; the Treasurer and the Accountant are nearing completion of a water/sewer rate review and will provide the Board with a report soon.

        AA reports that the new Police cruiser will be lettered this Thursday.

        AA reports that a meeting has been set up for next Monday at the Richmond Town Hall to discuss a heavy truck exclusion on Swamp Road. Attending will be the Richmond Town Administrator and Highway Supt., CW and AA.

        AA reports that Paul Faggioni has agreed to become the water/sewer meter reader.

9:00 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, CW makes a motion to adjourn. ED seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

_____________________   ______________________  _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ____________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
November 22, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, ED, CW
                BOS approves previous meeting minutes
                BOS approves weekly warrants

7:00 PM:        Board discusses and decides to send a MEMO to the Planning Board stating the Board's position that a right of way be maintained from W. Alford Road to town owned land on Harvey Mt. The Planning Board has a hearing scheduled for 12-13-04 to hear and act on an application for a common driveway that may intersect where the Town asserts that it has a right of way.

        Danny May addresses the Board regarding 3 public hearing applications: Change of licensed premises; new all-alcoholic beverage restaurant license and; restaurant permit. Board schedules all 3 hearings for 12-20-04.

        Board decides to meet next Thursday with Town Officers to tour the Village School for a discussion about moving Town offices over to the Village School. Meeting will be posted for 6:30PM.

        Board reviews several designs for a sign at the Village School for Police and Town Offices. A variance will need to be sought from the ZBA because the sign exceeds the size allowed by Zoning By-laws.

        AA reports on a meeting held today with Richmond officials about a heavy truck exclusion ban on Swamp Road. A number of additional steps need to be taken and will be worked on by the administrators from both towns.

        Board reviews deed and map information on the Town owned Harvey Mt. land.

7:45 PM:        Ogden Gigli reports to the Board on CMR regulations that ban industrial burning of brush and construction debris during burning season. A copy of the regulations will be forwarded to the Fire Chief.

        Bob Powell discusses his previous letter to the Board regarding his next door neighbor's driveway and what's being done about it. Board reviews the matter and decides to ask Dominick Luchi, the builder of the driveway next door, into a future meeting in an attempt to reach a resolution.

        Bill Kie reviews additional maps and deed information on Harvey Mt. property with the Board.

8:30 PM:        There being no further business to discuss, ED makes a motion to adjourn the meeting. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

_______________________ _______________________ _______________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: ________

Board of Selectmen
Meeting Minutes
November 29, 2004

6:30 PM:        Open Meeting
                Quorum present: LT, ED, CW
                Board reviews and signs warrants
                No permits before the Board.

Other Items:    Board approves a Change of Manager for the West Stockbridge Sportsmen's Club. The new Manager is Michelle St. Marie. All of the paperwork is in order. However, the application needs to be accompanied by a check for $200 made out to the ABCC when it is sent in. That check was not with the application. Attorney for the Club will be contacted.

        Board discusses Police Dept. overtime policy. It is decided that the Board will recommend to the Chief that police officers be paid time and one-half for holidays worked. It is recommended that this policy be adopted immediately.

        AA informs the Board that BRPC will install a new GIS program on the Assessor's computers next week at no charge to the Town. It is under a new State sponsored program run by MassHighway.

        AA presents an e-mail from Carol Kuller who is unhappy with the timeliness and content of financial reports from the Town Accountant and the Town Treasurer. Board decides to call in the Town Accountant and Town Treasurer to the next Board meeting to discuss the matter.

7:00 PM:        There being no further business, ED makes a motion to adjourn the regular meeting and go into the gymnasium for the Special Town Meeting to discuss the future use of the Town Hall. CW seconds the motion. Vote taken, 3-0 in favor.

Minutes approved by:

___________________     ___________________     ____________________
Lawrence Tonini, Chair  Elizabeth DiGrigoli             Curt Wilton

Date: __________

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