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Board of Selectmen Minutes 11/4/09
Board of Selectmen
November 4, 2009

Members present:        William Cavanaugh, George Fuller, John Murray

Others Present: Tony Blair, David Bonney, Bill Brownhill, Colleen O’Connor, Beth VanNess, Madeleine Swindlehurst, Rita Furlong, Pat Mullins, Troy Casey, Susan & Robert Beckwith, Gene Pike, Joan Monroe, Gale & Stephen LaBelle, John Hall, Meredyth Babcock, Jeanne & Richard Pryor, Bill Babcock, Julia Maynard, Bill Girard, Zina Jayne, Karen & Mark Karlberg, Neil Toomey, Barbara Stuhlmann

7:02 PM Meeting opened.  Bill advised that he has had a request from a citizen that asks that people be more courteous when attending Selectmen’s meetings.  He explained that the Selectmen’s meetings are relatively open meetings but he asked if people could raise their hand from now on when they wish to speak and try to be quiet during the meetings.  Reviewed minutes.  George advised that Yokum Pond Road was now open.  Briefly discussed the paving of County Road.  George motioned to approve the minutes of October 21, 2009, Bill seconded.  John abstained from voting since he was not in attendance on October 21, 2009.  Motion passed.

Public Input: Troy Casey addressed the Board regarding a lighting issue he is having with his neighbor.  He complained that his neighbor’s lights shine right into his windows.  He asked why there is a section in our Zoning Bylaws regarding the intrusion of lighting but this is not enforceable.  Bill asked if he made a request to have this looked at.  Troy advised that he spoke with Bill Girard and was told that he would speak to his neighbor.  He also wrote his neighbor a letter to see if he could change the direction of his lights.  He advised that he spoke with his neighbor and his neighbor said he did not receive his letter or email.  Tony advised that he gave his neighbor hard copies of the letter and email.  He is hoping to have this issue resolved as quickly as possible.  He wanted to know why the town bothered to put something in the bylaws if it is not going to be enforced.  Tony advised that this section of bylaw pertains to the site plan review process.  Bill explained the process that needs to be followed when there is an issue with zoning violations.  If Troy spoke with his neighbor and he still refuses to do anything then it is up to the Zoning Enforcement Officer to try to get the issue resolved.  If it is not a zoning issue then the neighbors would need to resolve it or get legal counsel.

Robert and Susan Beckwith addressed the Board regarding outdoor wood burner permit.  Robert explained that he received a citation because he never got a permit for his outdoor wood burner.  He advised that he installed the wood burner in 2004 and has been running it ever since and does not understand why he needs a permit.  Bill Girard advised that permits have been required for outdoor wood burners since the 1980’s.  He also advised that he sent them a letter back in February stating that they needed to get a building permit.  When they did not get the permit, Bill sent them another letter and the citation in September.  Bill said that they never came in to speak with him regarding this and if they had come in to get the permit he probably would have thrown out the citation but instead they are coming to the Selectmen.  The Beckwith’s are upset because the Building Inspector does not have any evening hours and when they asked if he could speak with them after hours he advised them that they could come to his house and speak with him if they could not do this during the days that he works.  Bob advised that he spoke with the fire chief and he told him that he did not need a permit.  Bill Girard advised that the fire department has nothing to do with this because it is a building code issue.  George wanted to know why it is an issue now when the wood burner was installed back in 2004.  Bill Girard advised that it becomes an issue as soon as he finds out it exists without a permit.  Bill gave George a copy of the State Building Code

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November 4, 2009
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that pertains to permits for outdoor wood burners.  Bill Cavanaugh advised that the zoning officer would be liable if he knew there was a wood burner but did not inspect it and issue a permit for it.  He also advised that an insurance company would not cover any damage caused by the wood burner if there was never a permit issued for it.  Tony advised that the town has a municipal hearings officer that deals with appeals of permit issues so this is their next step.  Bill Cavanaugh advised that the Select Board does not have jurisdiction over the building inspector or the state laws.  The Selectmen will look into seeing if the building inspector should work any evening hours.

Town Administrator’s Report:

  • Tony advised that the issue with the Becket General Store’s sign has been looked into.  Bill Girard is keeping an eye on this to see if the sign moves off of the property and if it does than he will speak with the owner to make sure it does not happen again.  He also advised that the lighting has not been changed since the store was previously open for business.  Colleen advised that it has been changed.  Tony will have Bill Girard follow up on this.
  • Tony advised that $1,500.00 has been collected so far for the Central Berkshire Fund so we are very close to collecting the maximum amount of $2,000 for the matching grant.  If $2,000 is collected then the Berkshire Taconic Foundation will contribute $14,000 for the Neighbor to Neighbor program.
  • Tony advised that Yokum Pond Road is now open and that County Road has been repaved.  
  • Tony advised that Alice Briggs, who was in charge of the Community Garden, has decided that she will not be asking for a farm stand and will not be working on the Community Garden any longer.  He advised that there still are a few people who may work on the garden next year but there will not be any licensing agreements for the farm stand.
  • Tony gave an update on the four grants that he has been working on.  The CDBG grant will be discussed further in the meeting when they discuss the Community Development Strategy.  Another grant that he has been working on is the Community Wind Assessment Study.  This could lead to grants for $20,000 to put up a tower to test wind speeds for 12 months and if this shows sufficient wind, the town could get approximately half of the funding to put up a wind turbine that could produce enough energy so the town does not spend anything for electricity for town hall.  The town could also sell back the same amount of electricity so the town could make money on this.  This current application is the first step in a longer process.  He advised that there will be a series of meetings regarding the Green Communities Grant that would cover the five criteria that the town needs to meet to become a “Green Community”.
  • Tony updated the Selectmen on the dry hydrant issue.  He advised that the town is looking to install six new hydrants and repair three installed hydrants and will be going in front of the Conservation Commission to get the permits to do this.  If everything gets approved there may be time this fall/winter to install two and the rest can be installed next spring.
The Selectmen reviewed the updated Community Development Strategy.  Rita Furlong advised that this plan was adjusted to include the comments made at the public hearing and would like the Selectmen to vote to accept this so BRPC can go forward with the CDBG.  George asked Madeleine if everything was included that she wanted.  She advised that most of it was included and she is fine with it.  John motioned to sign the Becket Community Development Strategy, George seconded.  All in favor.

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November 4, 2009
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John motioned to appoint Robert Ronzio to the CBRSD Strategic Planning Committee, George seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed a letter of interest from Richard Pryor to be appointed to the Conservation Commission.  John motioned to appoint Richard Pryor to the Conservation Commission term to expire June 30, 2012, George seconded.  All in favor.  Tony advised that there is still one vacancy on this commission.

The Selectmen reviewed letter from WMECO regarding 6 MV Solar Program.  Tony advised that this is probably not something the town would be interested in but the Selectmen should get the word out so residents that have property that meets WMECO’s needs could potentially lease their property for these solar facilities.

Most of the employees will not be working on the Friday after Thanksgiving so the Selectmen need to vote to close the Town Hall.  Bill advised that this has been customary for years.  The employees will be using personal time or their floating holidays for this day.  George motioned to close the Town Hall on Friday, November 27, 2009, John seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the nomination form for Tree Warden of the Year from the Massachusetts Tree Wardens’ and Foresters’ Association.  Bill advised that Lenny Tisdale does not qualify because he does not meet all of the criteria.  Tony thought that the Selectmen should still nominate Lenny because he worked so hard after the ice storm and did an amazing job and he feels that he is deserving of this award.  John motioned to nominate Leonard Tisdale as Tree Warden of the Year, George seconded.  All in favor.

The Selectmen reviewed the monthly reports of the Ambulance Department, Animal Control Officer and Citations Issued by the Police Department.  George asked Tony if he ever found out if the ambulance box could be placed on a new chassis.  Tony advised that the box is grandfathered to go on a new chassis which could save the town a lot of money.  George also asked if Tony heard anything from Maddy Elovirta about the ambulance grant.  Tony advised that they will not hear anything about the grant until about May or June.  George asked why Bert is still getting calls for horses getting loose on Bonny Rigg Hill Road.  He asked why Maddy is not called.  Nina advised that it is neither the animal control officer or the animal inspector’s job to corral horses.  Maddy’s job is just to inspect the health of the animals.  She did not know who else to call.  Karen Karlberg advised that Roy Sutton, an MSPCA officer could be called to help the town in these kinds of situations.  George gave Tony a police report from the Town of Stockbridge that shows what they include in their report.

Any other business: Tony gave the Selectmen a list of people who wish to be appointed to the Town Energy Committee and also to the Green Community Planning Grant Energy Committee.  He explained what each committee would be doing.  George motioned to appoint the following to the Town Energy Committee: Joshua Lombard, Steve Turner, Mark Karlberg, Chuck Garman, Doug Rebeley, Beth VanNess, Tony Blair (ex officio), Bill Girard, Len Tisdale and Steve LaBelle, John seconded.  All in favor.  George motioned to appoint the following to the Green Community Planning Grant Energy Committee: John Murray, Gale LaBelle, Bill Girard, Steve LaBelle, Steve Turner and Tony Blair, Bill seconded.  John abstained from voting.  Motion passed.

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November 4, 2009
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Tony advised that Lenny Tisdale has a Chapter 90 Project Request for some additional funds to cover the asphalt costs on Hamilton Road.  George motioned to sign the Chapter 90 Project Request in the amount of $16,000.00 for Resurfacing-Bituminous Concrete Overlay on Hamilton Road, John seconded.  All in favor.

George suggested that the Board send the Police Department a letter asking it to patrol County Road.  He explained that since it has been repaved the cars are travelling at a fast rate of speed.

Colleen suggested that the town have noise and light ordinances.  Bill advised that it is very hard to have a noise ordinance because you need to know what the decibels are in order to know if it is in violation of the noise ordinance.  Tony suggested that Colleen speak with the Planning Board about these ordinances.

The Selectmen reviewed the meeting notice for the Center Pond Weed Project.  This meeting will take place on November 16, 2009 at the Town Hall at 7:00 p.m.

John motioned to sign the Licensing Agreement between the Town of Becket and Vinton Withers for the Dry Hydrant that will be located by Greenwater Pond, George seconded.  All in favor.

Tony advised that there is a new town accountant.  He let Beverly Cooper go since she was very hard to get a hold of and was never in town hall during business hours and was not performing her job satisfactorily.  Tony appointed Amy Lane as the new accountant who used to be the accountant in Lenox and was given a great recommendation by the Lenox Town Administrator.  George asked if we needed to post this job.  Tony advised that this position is his appointment and he does not think he needed to post this.  George suggested that Tony check with Town Counsel to see if this needs to be done.

George asked if the Parks and Recreation Committees need to be accountable to the Selectmen regarding their budgets.  Tony advised that the Parks and Recreation Committees’ budgets are set by the Finance Committee and Selectmen and are voted at the Annual Town Meeting.  The committees do not need to advise the Selectmen about how they are spending the funds.  George advised that the committees do not post their meetings.  Tony advised that the committees meetings are posted on the bulletin board in the hallway of the town hall.

Tony advised that there have been a number of break ins in Sherwood Forest and he spoke with Bill Elovirta regarding this and was told that anyone that sees anything suspicious should contact the police department.  Bill Elovirta also suggested that if someone that sees anything suspicious could get a license plate number it would help a great deal in finding the suspects.

Reviewed correspondence.

8:40 PM  George motioned to adjourn, John seconded.  All in favor.

Reviewed payroll/expense warrants.

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November 4, 2009
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Respectfully submitted,                                                         _______________________________
Nina Weiler, Secretary                                                          William F. Cavanaugh, Chairman