The Stonington Board of Selectmen held a regular meeting on this date at 7:00 p.m. at the Stonington Police Station. Present were First Selectman William S. Brown, Selectman Stephen E. Bessette and Selectman Peter L. Balestracci. Also present was Tax Collector Gisela Harma, one member of the press and a member of the public.
(1) Call to Order
Mr. Brown called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited. Mr. Brown commented on the good news that the Sub Base has been removed from the base closure list, and the Board members expressed gratitude to all who worked so hard to accomplish this feat.
(2) Interview candidates for Boards/Commissions
The candidate to be interviewed was not present and Mr. Brown continued with the regular agenda.
(3) Consider and act on resolution to set the call for a Special Town Meeting
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to adopt the following resolution to call a Special Town Meeting.
“BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED, that pursuant to Section 3-3 of the Charter, the Board of Selectmen calls a Special Town Meeting for Monday, September 19, 2005 at 7:00 p.m. at the Stonington Police Station, 173 South Broad Street, Pawcatuck, Connecticut, to consider and act upon resolutions as outlined in the Notice of Special Town Meeting which will be attached to the Minutes of this meeting as Appendix A, which Notice is hereby approved.”
Brief discussion took place regarding the items on the call. Gisela Harma, Tax Collector, reviewed the three tax ordinances for the Board. She will work with the Town Attorney to include language to allow payments by Discover Card in the Ordinance pertaining to delinquent taxpayers seeking a clearance for the Department of Motor Vehicles.
Mr. Balestracci inquired with regard to the 600 kw generator, asking why it was not included in the School Building Committee’s plans for the new high school. Mr. Brown explained that, originally, it was thought that the existing 400 kw generator would be sufficient, but it is not. Mr. Brown explained that the issue was not the fault of the School Building Committee. The 600 kw generator is needed due to the fact that the high school is the designated emergency shelter for the Town, and there are certain requirements that need to be met which are over and above the normal requirements for school operations. Mr. Balestracci inquired what will be done with the 400 kw generator, and Mr. Brown explained that it will be mounted on a truck and will
become a portable generator for use at any town facility when needed.
(4) Consider and act on resolution authorizing Superintendent of Schools to sign grant award documents for the “Improving School Attendance” Project
School Business Manager Frank Connolly requests that the Board of Selectmen adopt a resolution authorizing the Superintendent of Schools to sign for a grant award from OPM in the amount of $30,000.00
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to adopt the following resolution:
“BE IT HEREBY RESOLVED that the Stonington Board of Selectmen hereby certifies that Michael McKee, Superintendent of Schools, is authorized to sign for OPM Grant 04JS432004X, Improving School Attendance. Said grant is in the amount of $30,000.00.”
(5) Consider and act on the Westerly-Pawcatuck Veterans’ Board of Control’s request to conduct a Veterans’ Day parade
A letter dated August 12, 2005 was received from the Westerly-Pawcatuck Veterans Board of Control, requesting permission to conduct their Veterans’ Day Parade on Saturday, November 12, 2005. The parade will form at 8:30 a.m. at the Pawcatuck Shopping Center and will proceed at 9:30 a.m. down West Broad Street. The parade will continue to Wilcox Park in Westerly, where appropriate ceremonies will be held.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to approve the request and grant permission for the Westerly-Pawcatuck Veterans’ Day Parade on November 12, 2005.
(6) Acceptance of sanitary sewer easement and drainage easement for Whaler Heights subdivision (Coccomo III, LLC)
A memo dated July 28, 2005 was received from Harold Storrs, WPCA Director, recommending that the Board of Selectmen accept the Sanitary Sewer Easement prepared on behalf of Coccomo III, LLC, for the Whaler Heights Subdivision.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to accept the Sanitary Sewer Easement prepared on behalf of Coccomo III, LLC, for the Whaler Heights Subdivision.
A memo dated August 24, 2005 was received from Joe Bragaw, Town Engineer, stating that he found some errors in the Drainage Easement prepared on behalf of Coccomo III, LLC, for the Whaler Heights Subdivision. He recommended the Board not approve the drainage easements until the corrections have been made. Therefore, no action was taken on the Drainage Easements.
(7) Stonington Commons request for emergency parking agreement/contract
A letter dated August 1, 2005 was received from Phil Biondo (for Stonington Water Street Associates, LLC). Mr. Biondo’s letter states that, as part of the zoning approval for the Stonington Commons project, Stonington Commons is to provide for the storage of vehicles and other items that must be removed from the property in the event of a weather emergency. They are requesting the use of Town owned property, to be used only on an emergency basis in the event of such a weather emergency. The cars will be parked and immediately removed as soon as possible. Brief discussion was held.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to allow Stonington Commons to use Town owned property on Spellman Drive (behind the high school) for the parking of cars from Stonington Commons on an emergency basis in the event of a weather emergency, as outlined in Mr. Biondo’s August 1, 2005 correspondence, with the caveat that the vehicles must be removed within 24 hours after the weather emergency ceases to exist or they will be towed at the owners expense.
(8) Bid Awards / Letters of Agreement
a. Burdick Lane Extension
A letter dated August 17, 2005 was received from Joseph Bragaw, Town Engineer, recommending that the Board of Selectmen award a bid for the installation of a gravel emergency access drive between the upper and lower sections of Burdick Lane in Pawcatuck to the low bidder, Crider Excavation & Paving Inc., out of Hope Valley, RI.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to accept the recommendation of Town Engineer Joseph Bragaw and award the bid for the installation of a gravel emergency access drive between the upper and lower sections of Burdick Lane in Pawcatuck, as outlined in Mr. Bragaw’s 8/17/05 letter, to Crider Excavation & Paving Inc. out of Hope Valley, RI.
Mr. Balestracci inquired if this gravel drive would be blocked off, to which Mr. Brown responded that it will be chained, but the Fire Department will have a key.
(9) 9-1-1 Street Numbering
The Planning and Zoning Department forwarded the following recommendation for assigning a street number in accordance with the Street Naming and Numbering (Emergency 9-1-1) Ordinance. The Assessor concurs with this recommendation.
885 Stonington Road, Pawcatuck, CT 06379
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to assign this street number as recommended by the Planning and Zoning Department.
(10) Correspondence – None.
(11) Re/Appointments Boards and Commissions
Planning and Zoning Commission
Charles Sneddon’s and Joseph Basile’s terms are due to expire on August 31, 2005. Mr. Sneddon has expressed an interest in reappointment; Mr. Basile is presently out of the country. The Board will await his return before considering his reappointment.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to reappoint Charles Sneddon as a regular member of the Planning and Zoning Commission.
Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority Representative Advisory Board
Peter Balestracci’s and John Mershon’s terms are due to expire August 31, 2005.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Brown and unanimously voted to reappoint Peter Balestracci and John Mershon as Stonington’s representatives on the Southeastern Connecticut Water Authority Representative Advisory Board.
Zoning Board of Appeals
Frederick Deichmann’s, John Seremet’s, and David Rathbun’s terms are due to expire on August 31, 2005. John Seremet does not want to be reappointed but wishes to remain seated through the September 2005 meeting. The other two members are eligible for reappointment and have been endorsed for reappointment by the ZBA Chair.
(11) Re/Appointments Boards and Commissions (cont’d.)
Zoning Board of Appeals (cont’d.)
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to reappoint Frederick Deichman as a regular member of the ZBA and reappoint David Rathbun as an alternate member of the ZBA.
(12) Old Business
a. Fee waiver requests
The following three fee waiver requests had been tabled at the July 27, 2005 regular meeting: 1) Mystic Seaport Museum, $3,830.00; 2) Mystic Flag Committee, $80.00; and 3) Lighthouse Community Baptist Church, $530.00.
Mr. Brown commented that the granting of fee waivers is heading in the direction of going beyond the intent of the Ordinance. In the past, fee waivers had been granted to Town agencies but now we’re receiving requests from more and more private, non-profit agencies. Most of these agencies have sources of income and he is not sure we should be waiving so many fees.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to waive the $80.00 sign permit fee for the Mystic Flag Committee.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette to waive half of the fee for the Mystic Seaport Museum. There was no second and the motion failed.
Further discussion was held and the consensus of the Board was to come up with a unified, balanced approach on how to deal with these requests. A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to table the other fee waiver requests.
(13) New Business
Mr. Bessette inquired about the date for the opening of Stonington schools this year. The Board members were uncertain but thought it would be September 8th or 9th.
(14) Comments from the Public
Vincent Faulise, Pawcatuck, stated that the Board is right to review the fee waiver process, and has to start drawing the line somewhere. He spoke about the Burdick Lane Extension project and about the emergency shelter at the high school.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the regular meeting was adjourned at 7:42 p.m.
The Board then interviewed Jonathan Mitchell, a candidate for the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commission, who had arrived late to the meeting. The Board thanked Mr. Mitchell for his time.
Kathy A. Kent