The Board of Selectmen held its second regularly scheduled meeting on April 20 with all members present in person.
The board approved the minutes of its April 6 meeting and several tax refunds as recommended by the tax collector. These are routine matters.
The board re-appointed Doreen Collins to her position as the Easton representative to the Aspetuck Health District. The AHD serves as the town’s health department. This position is for a one year term. Easton is part of this regional health district together with Weston and Westport.
The board appointed Jeff Borofsky to the Land Acquisition and Preservation Authority for a term next ending on January 2, 2026. The authority was created by ordinance in 2005, and operated for about ten years before falling into disuse due to lack of members and lack of the need for action. However, in view of the potential for several larger parcels of land going on the market in the near future, the board is moving to re-constitute this body so the town is better positioned to react. If anyone is interested in serving on this body, there are still several full and alternate seats available. Interested persons should contact the Democratic or Republican Town Committees or the first selectmen’s office in town hall.
The board approved a driveway variance and indemnity agreement with a homeowner for the installation of Belgium block on their driveway. However, the board did not act on an additional request for a variance and indemnity agreement for a stone pillar light post. From time to time, homeowners seek these types of waivers in order to construct items in the town’s right of way along the few feet of land immediately adjacent to the edge of the paved roadway. When homeowners put Belgium block or solid mailbox holders or lighting in this area of their front yards, they are often building on either town owned land or on the town’s right of way. While the town will often agree to such intrusions onto land it controls, it will do so only if 1) the construction does not create a safety hazard for users of the road and 2) the homeowner agrees to pay any cost for damage to the Belgium block or mailbox caused by, for example, a snowplow.
The board has been advised that Planning and Zoning Commission chairman, Ray Martin, has decided to resign from the commission in accordance with the recommendation of the Board of Ethics. Accordingly, the Board of Selectmen took no action on this matter in order to allow time for Mr. Martin to submit his resignation in writing and for the board to consider an appropriate effective date for the resignation. The role of chairman of Planning and Zoning is considerably different than that role on most other boards and commissions. Also, there are two new staff persons in this department as well as a comparatively high number of low tenured members of the commission. Therefore, the selectmen believe a transition period is appropriate in order to cause the least disruption to the commission and property owners with matters currently pending before it.
A statement on the valuation of the property colloquially known as South Park Avenue requested by the former owners/current tenants will be addressed at the next Board of Selectmen meeting on advice of counsel.
The board heard public comment at the beginning and the end of our meeting on the following topics:
Dan Lent, June Logie, John Foley, and Grant Monsarrat spoke about the ethics matter involving the chair of Planning and Zoning.
Grant Monsarrat, June Logie, Jeff Becker, and Dwight Senior spoke about the soil contamination at the former Easton Village Store and about the special permit application for this site.
June Logie asked about the relevance for the town of a South Park Avenue valuation statement.
June Logie asked about funding for the new Emergency Medical Service building.
All three selectmen encouraged everyone to attend the Annual Town Meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 24, 2023, at Samuel Staples Elementary School.
Selectman Lessler commented that one of the people who spoke during public comment tonight crossed the line of appropriate and civil discourse by making personal attacks and by cursing during his remarks.
First Selectman David Bindelglass responded to remarks made during public comment about the contamination at the former Easton Village Store by pointing out that the speaker made numerous incorrect statements, correcting the record and directing the public to various reports and resources for accurate information and history. He also responded to a concern about the use of executive session by the Board of Ethics by pointing out that the types of matters they deal with are generally excluded from Freedom of Information Act rules about public disclosure – at least during the investigative and adjudicatory phase.