April 24, 2018
In Attendance: Robert S. Ciskowski, Carol A. Francesconi, and Ed St. John IV
Carol motioned to have the minutes for April 17, 2018 approved; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Cheshire Highway Superintendent, Blair Crane:
- Weekly Activity Log submitted 4/18/18-4/24/18.
- Majority of time this week was spent filling potholes. (Ingalles/Hutchinson Development).
- Received complaints regarding asphalt conditions on Ingalles and West Mountain Roads. Guardrail damage on Windsor Road. Meadowview Drive has a catch basin failure. Mallard Cove has a hole in the road due to faulty drainage. (Repaired) Wells Road potholes and debris on grass in right of way.
- Will be scheduling a time to meet with the BOS to discuss and tour town infrastructure.
- After checking the Town’s grader, it would cost a couple of thousand dollars. Blair prefers renting one for a month at an approximate cost of $4k. This would be short term solution. (Grader is 32 years old and needs to have a radiator repair. Robert asked Blair to check into the matter further.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber:
- Reported receiving several emails from the Berkshire Boys group regarding the scheduling of a community outreach meeting. Additionally, another applicant for a Retail Marijuana Store will be holding an informational meeting on May 9, 2018. Mark reminded the BOS that a Letter of Non-Opposition would need to be issued prior to executing a Host Agreement. The BOS had decided not to issue any letter prior to the outcome of the Zoning bylaw amendment vote at the June town meeting.
- This evening’s Advisory meeting was cancelled due to not being able to attract a quorum.
- Processed FY 19 insurance renewals: Volunteer Fire and Police Accident policy; registration rewal for antique fire truck and; Town’s property/casualty/liability/officers coverage. The last item, which is the bulk of our coverage, reflects an 11% rate decrease over the current year (MIIA).
- Responded to Senator Hinds office regarding the Board’s position on seeking funding for repairs/improvements to the off of Route 8 “Keystone Bridge.”
- Per the request of the Water Commissioners and at the insistence of the Department of Revenue, that next year’s operating budget closely reflect current year receipts. Mark reduced the FY 19 Water Department total budget request by $45K. The anticipated reduction in FY 18 receipts was predicted by the Commissioners because of the delay in the implementation of the new metered billing system. Mark added a warrant article for the FY 2019 Annual Town meeting warrant to supplement FY 2019 Water Department operating costs by transferring $45K from available certified Water Enterprise Retained Earnings. Accordingly, the Commissioners FY 2019 total budget request effectively remains at their requested amount of $279,162.
- Requested time on Tuesday, May 1, 2018 to review the Water Department change.
- Requested time for a final review of warrant articles for the June annual town meeting.
- Reported no update on the Highway Union negotiations. Mark expects a session in early May after reviewing Mark’s comments on their most recent proposal.
Town Administrator, Mark Webber: continued
- The Complete Streets application received Tier 2 approval.
- May 1st is the due date for the Cheshire School RFP submissions.
- Will review with Blair a response letter to Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bessette’s letter regarding poor road conditions on Stewart White Road.
- Mark will speak to Mr. E. Clairmont regarding Right of Way issues.
- Read the following letter from Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bessette.
I am hopeful that you will present our concerns at the next Board Meeting. A long term solution needs to be addressed instead of temporary fixes, which costs time and money.
We live on the black top portion of the road where 13 of the 15 houses and mobile homes are located. Our residence here has been for over 33 years. The only thing we and the others get for our taxes is the road, as well we all have a septic tank, well and leach field.
The dirt portion of the road is usually graded with dirt and rocks. Basically due to the fact that it ruts and washes out frequently. Over the years the drainage ditches have been filled in because of this practice which is not helping the road conditions. Unfortunately rarely is the black top portion repaired. We no longer have potholes but craters.
Last year 2017, I emailed Blair Crane about the road conditions. It had not been touched all summer. I issued a complaint that someone is the spring of that year dumped dirt on the black top creating a dust bowl. Then questioned why someone would do that? Blair did respond stating that he was aware of the road conditions but there was no funding to do it properly. “I emphasize properly”… He also stated that they would be here shortly to fix the holes. A few weeks later they filled in the holes by using paving material then tampering in the holes by running over them with the truck. Needless to say that lasted until the first rain as the road is undermined with water. All holes and craters were back.
Now comes March of 2018 just before the first Nor’easter of the season. Road conditions were beyond belief. The road crew appears with a leaf blower to get the water out of the potholes and craters then dumps truck loads of dirt once again on the black toped road to fill in the holes. As previously stated, “What a waste of time and money”. I once again contacted Blair Crane but did not get a response this time.
The dust bowl this is going to create this spring summer is very distressing. Last year we could not open our windows, keep our house clean or sit on our front deck. Needless to say how unhealthy it is to breathe this dust and dirt. Why in God’s name would anyone destroy the road by dumping dirt on it when it does absolutely no good? Another example of wasted time and money but no funds to do it property.
I think it would be advantageous for the Board of Selectmen to take a road trip down Stewart White Road and assess the road conditions. Then take one more trip when the road dies and see the dust bowl we are all dealing with. I truly do not think anyone would want to live under these conditions.
Last but not least is the speed that is traveled on this road. We do not have speed limits or signs that say thickly settled. Our neighbor even put up a sign for people to SLOW DOWN. Someone is going to get seriously hurt. If we could get it monitored especially in the morning when people are going to work and then returning later in the day they would see for themselves that speeds between 50 and 60 miles an hour is a regular event. Maybe then speed limits could be posted. Now to add salt to an opened wound, we have tractor trailers using the road as a shortcut, really?
Consideration to our letter would be more than appreciated. We all need your help in resolving these matters.
Blair’s answer: Blair reported that he has looked into the cost of taking care of the road correctly and that would be approximately $100K. Water is the enemy. The road is a tough road to deal with and we have been hit with four (4) Nor’easters. He felt some of the statements to be contradictive as if the roads are in such bad condition yet there is a speeding issue.
Ed: How long would it take to come up with a solution taking into consideration money as an issue. Ed asked Blair to put a plan together and includ the financial costs.
Robert: Questioned Blair as to what he would do first.
Blair: Taking care of the water/drainage. Cut some trees. The town could do it by digging and hauling and adding culverts. Money is the issue and he does not know if it is gravel or ledge. Testing would have to be done.
National Grid Hearing-Jenks Road-18 poles:
Robert read the Petition For Joint or Identical Pole Locations submission. Jenks Road-National Grid to install 18 new poles in order to extend overhead utilities for 8 new house lots. Proposed poles will be north off existing pole #43 Jenks Road approximately 2600 feet total. Pole spans are approximately 150 feet. The location begins at a point approximately 4000 feet north of the centerline of the intersection of Windsor Road and continues approximately 2600 feet in a northerly direction.
Representative, Bonnie Brown from National Grid was prepared to answer any questions from the board or the audience.
- Fourteen individuals signed the sign-in sheet.
- Seventeen poles will be installed on the west side with one pole on the existing road.
- Resident, Bob Hitter, opposed the poles as he feels it is not a good thing. Jenks Road is a rural, dirt historic road. His home was built in 1758; Dr. Goldfarb just renovated her home. He said that the Fish and Game Commission had not received notification of the development. The change is going to affect animals and hunting in the area. Ten years ago Stafford Road had a similar situation and the water table decreased causing problems for gravity fed well. We no longer have a school and there are no jobs in the area. It will cause additional burdens to the town for additional plowing, electrical outages and lines coming down. With 8 houses going to be built people will want Jenks Road to be paved and that will cost the town more money. Now in the winter there is no place to put the snow. It’s a one (1) lane road.
Mr. Bob Hitter:
Not that long ago someone did forest cutting and did a poor job and clear cut Mount Amos. Mr. and Mrs. Hitter again stated that they object to the installation of the 18 pole project.
Robert: Reminded the group that the BOS has no authority if the lots sell or don’t sell – that’s up the economy or a realtor. It meets local subdivision laws; has been done on a local level correctly; we can’t stop progress.
Resident, Joseph D. Massaconi:
- Wanted the BOS to understand his sentiments regarding Jenks Road and the State property that abuts it. He has been a hunter his whole life. With this size of a development, there will be no place to hunt. He understands that the taxes received from the homes will help the town, but there will be more plowing needed.
- Explained that Carol A. Francesconi is a member of the Cheshire Conservation Commission and the owner will have to go before the Conservation Commission and complete their processes for approval.
- Would like the town to be proactive rather than reactive. The road is deplorable as it is. It needs major construction before buildings can go up. He noted that culverts overflow on the road.
Resident, Diane Hitter:
- The area is agricultural and the road is used by small slow farm trucks. Sometimes cows get out. Building all of these houses takes the character of the area away. Agriculture is being snuffed out.
- Asked what would happen if we took all the poles away? Is it ok for you to have a pole and not new families? The parcels will be sold eventually and electricity is needed.
- Believes the BOS has to review all information received.
Mr. Bob Hitter:
- There would only be a narrow strip going to State up to Stafford Hill. No animals would be there. He does not post his land.
- Appears to be a viable plan. Poles are needed and the plans clearly demonstrate the need. Although he would not vote for it right now, he believes in growth for Cheshire and it would improve and expand the tax base.
Resident, Diana Thurston:
- Discussed the large amount of traffic when the bridge was being repaired. She is terrified about the building of new homes and her water table. She has had experiences in the past with her well going dry with new construction.
- Motioned to continue the meeting for two (2) weeks until Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7:15PM in the Selectmen’s office; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken. Robert suggested walking the site.
Town Clerk, Christine Emerson: No issues or concerns.
Police Chief, Timothy Garner: Submitted weekly report.
- Discussed the continuous tradition of walking to the cemetery on Memorial Day Parade. The essay contest will not happen this year.
- Carol motioned to post no parking signs on the east side of School Street; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Cheshire Planning Board, Donna Defino, Chairman
- Reviewed with the BOS what the procedure would be for possibly going forward regarding the licenses for Marijuana Retail and Cultural licenses.
1. The BOS would have to sign a Letter of Non-Opposition.
2. A Host Agreement would have to be signed. Mark advised both Boards to wait until the June Annual Town Meeting when the voting of a Marijuana Bylaw will take place.
- Donna presented a letter to the BOS regarding the attitude of a department member at the meeting.
- Donna was disheartened by the accusations against the Cheshire Planning Board as she is very very proud of its accomplishments without serious lapses as in the past. All members are doing a fine job for the job.
Carol motioned to schedule an Executive Session at 7:45PM on Tuesday, May 1, 2018. “To discuss the reputation, character, physical condition or mental health, rather than professional competence, of an individual, or discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual”. (See attached Rights of Individuals); 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Mail and Correspondence:
Resident, Fred Balawender:
- Wanted to advise the BOS about the Notch Road Bride and the need for grading, repairing sharp edges and blacktopping. The situation could start damaging the bridge. Robert told Fred that Blair plans to take care of it this week.
Carol motioned to adjourn the 6:30PM Open Meeting at 9:00PM; 2nd by Ed with a unanimous vote taken.
Carole A. Hilderbrand, Board of Selectmen’s Secretary
Robert S. Ciskowski, Chairman
Carol A. Francesconi, Clerk
Ed St. John IV, Superintendent of Buildings and Groundsv