All members were present in person at our second regularly scheduled Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
After approving the minutes of the meeting of November 3, 2022, with some changes, the board moved on to its specific agenda items.
The board appointed Nick Jhilal to the Park and Recreation Commission for a term next expiring on January 2, 2025. The board approved a driveway variance and indemnity agreement for property located at 2 Easton Heights Lane. This is a commonly approved action by the board in which the town agrees to the installation of Belgium block on the portion of a private driveway that extends onto the town property near the roadway in exchange for a waiver of any damage claim against the town by the property owner.
The board set the date, time, place and agenda for a special town meeting. The special town meeting will be held on Monday, December 5, 2022, at Samuel Staples Elementary School at 7 p.m. The items for discussion and action at the town meeting are as follows:
1. Act on proposed changes to the municipal land use fee schedule. The Planning and Zoning Commission has suggested that certain fees be eliminated and other fees be added or the amounts charged be changed. The commission reports that the new fee schedule will better align our schedule of fees with those of area towns. Our ordinance requires that this set of fees be set by the town meeting.
2. Act on proposed changes to the Ethics Ordinance. There are a number of scrivener’s errors and inconsistencies that were discovered after the new ordinance was adopted. This action, if approved, will correct those oversights. Also, new language, if approved, will require a financial disclosure filing by town officials only when they know, or should know, they have an association with a person or entity that is required to be disclosed under the ordinance. The existing language requires all town officials to disclose extensive financial information even when there is no prohibited association which has proven to be unduly burdensome and problematic.
3. Act on whether to appropriate the sum of $244,000 from the undesignated fund for the construction of new pickleball and tennis courts. The town has previously approved $61,000 for this project. Together, these funds would allow the town to move forward with the project. The courts will replace the existing tennis courts at Helen Keller Middle School and set them up for dual use, if approved. The $244,000 will be reimbursed to the town from a state grant.
The town meeting will also discuss, but not act on, the placement of a conservation restriction on the last 10.9 acres of the property located at 18-22 South Park Avenue. This agenda item has been removed to a machine vote referendum by the board which will take place on Tuesday, December 13, 2022, at Samuel Staples Elementary School from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. If approved, this will allow the town to record on the land records the specific terms and conditions of the conservation restriction, thereby formally establishing the restriction as a matter of law.
The board heard public comment from several people on various topics:
Speaking on the language of the agenda item for the town meeting and machine vote referendum regarding the South Park Avenue property were: Grant Monsarrat, June Logie, Jeff Becker, Dwight Senior and Lou DiPietro.
Speaking on the agenda item for the town meeting regarding the new municipal land use fee schedule: John Meyer.
Speaking on the status of the sale to the Aspetuck Land Trust of the approximately 18-acre parcel of land located at 18-22 South Park Avenue: June Logie and Dwight Senior.
The board members wish all residents a Happy Thanksgiving.