Discussions and comments about the proposed South Park Avenue hemp farming lease, the proposed pathway along Sport Hill Road and a request to raise the Pride flag outside of Town Hall drew the most attention at the Board of Selectman meeting on June 3.

South Park Avenue Farming Lease

First Selectman David Bindleglass updated the board on informal conversations with members of the town’s Agricultural Commission, noting the commission as a whole has not reviewed the proposed project and therefore does not have a position. The Ag Commission meets on June 16 and plans to discuss the proposed lease at that meeting. The Board of Selectmen meets again on June 17 and will also revisit the topic.

Sport Hill Road Pathway

The board reviewed the recommendation from the Board of Finance in regard to the proposed pathway along Sport Hill Road.

The Board of Finance approved funding for the initial design phase of the project, in the amount of $80,000. The town would be responsible for $16,000 of that amount following reimbursement from the state under the grant program. Because of the total amount, the funding request must go before the Town Meeting. The selectmen agreed adjourning the Town Meeting to a machine vote would be the best course of action due to the interest in this project. They intend to hold the Town Meeting on this issue in September.

The initial design will provide more detail and specifics to the project, adding more clarity to the conceptual design which has been discussed up to this point. The town will begin the process of looking for a design firm to complete the work.

Pride Flag Raising

First Selectman David Bindleglass moved to add an item to the agenda to discuss a request to raise the Pride Flag on the flag pole outside of Town Hall. The request is to hold a ceremony on Friday, June 25, which will include raising the Pride Flag in support of the town’s LGBTQ+ community. The applicants asked to have the flag fly through the end of the month. Selectman Bob Lessler proposed that the flag be displayed from June 25 through Monday, June 28.

Selectman Kristi Sogofsky commented that many people feel the town flag pole should only display the American, state or local flag, not the flag of special interest groups. She noted that her comments are not specific to the Pride Flag but relate to the general practice. Sogofsky asked about alternatives that would allow for displaying flags of groups within town.

The board agreed to look into options and plans to vote on the request at its meeting on June 17. In accordance with the Flag Policy adopted by the Board of Selectman last year, the group requesting the flag raising will submit a written request to the Board of Selectman prior to that meeting.

Additional Items

The Board of Selectmen also took action on the following items:

  • Awarded the bid for a Ford Police Interceptor and Ford Explorer to Gengras Ford in the amount of $69,012 as recommended by Police Chief Richard Doyle.
  • Awarded the bid for architectural and design services for the partial roof replacement at 660 Morehouse to Hibbard and Rosa Architects in the amount of $18,300 as recommended by Ed Nagy, director of public works.
  • Accepted the resignation of AJ Martinich from the Park and Recreation Commission, with thanks for his service.
  • Appointed Elaine O’Keefe to the Easton Diversity and Inclusion Task Force. She had been serving as an alternate member of the task force.
  • Discussed the Planning and Zoning public hearing scheduled for July 26 at Samuel Staples Elementary. It will be held in person, with a virtual component. Proposed changes to the Plan of Conservation and Development will be posted on the town website for review. The board agreed to prepare individual comments to share with the commission.

View a recording of the meeting on the town website.

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By Kristi Sogofsky

Kristi currently serves on the Board of Selectmen. She also volunteers her time with several youth and community groups. Kristi worked in local broadcast journalism for 20 years as an anchor and reporter.