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 were students from Stonington High School, members of the public, and members of the press.
(1) Call to Order
Mr. Brown called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. and the Pledge of Allegiance was recited.
(2) Consider and act on Croft Court Road Acceptance
A letter dated October 25, 2005 was received from Jason Vincent, AICP, Director of Planning. Mr. Vincent states in his letter that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted on October 4, 2005 to recommend that the Board of Selectmen accept Croft Court as a town road. The road has been completed to town standards and inspected by the required town agencies.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci and seconded by Mr. Bessette to accept Croft Court as a town road. Brief discussion was held, after which the motion was unanimously voted.
(3) Consider and act on Resolution re: Pawcatuck Streetscape Project right of way activities
A memo dated November 2, 2005 was received from Jason Vincent, AICP, Director of Planning. Mr. Vincent states in his memo that the Pawcatuck Streetscape Project is a $2,176,000 project ($1,740,000 Federal TEA-21 High Priority funds and $435,200 Town of Stonington). The Town has set aside the funding for this project and is ready to proceed with the Right of Way Acquisition Process, providing all administrative requirements of the State and Federal Government are satisfied. He has forwarded the contract documents to the Town Attorney for his review. The contract cannot be executed by the First Selectman until a resolution is adopted by the Board of Selectmen, authorizing him to act on the Town’s behalf. Mr. Vincent requests that the Board
adopt such a resolution.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to adopt the following resolution:
“RESOLVED, that William S. Brown, First Selectman, be and hereby is, authorized to
sign the agreement entitled “Agreement Between the State of Connecticut and the Town of
Stonington for Right of Way Activities in Conjunction with Acquisition of Property for the
Pawcatuck Streetscape Project in the Town of Stonington utilizing Federal Funds from the High Priority Projects Program.”
(4) Consider and act on authorizing the First Selectman to proceed with acceptance of a gift of Open Space on Montauk Avenue
A letter dated October 24, 2005 was received from Marc E. Ginsberg, on behalf of himself and Barbara Ginsberg, Thomas Castle and Peter Castle, d/b/a Montauk Associates. Montauk Associates subdivided and sold land off Montauk Avenue and presently hold title to an 8.5 acre parcel of open space that was established when the subdivision was approved. The open space parcel abuts other land owned by the Town and the owners wish to gift the parcel to the Town if the Town is interested. Mr. Brown read a letter dated November 3, 2005 from Jason Vincent, AICP, Director of Planning, stating that the Planning and Zoning Commission voted on November 1, 2005 to find the proposed open space acquisition by the Town of Stonington to be consistent with the Stonington Plan of
Conservation and Development, adopted on June 24, 2004. Mr. Brown commented that Marsha Standish, Assessor, has informed him of the assessed value of the subject parcel, and at the current mil rate the taxes on the property amount to $820.93 per year.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette and seconded by Mr. Balestracci to accept the gift of property as offered by Montauk Associates. Discussion ensued.
Mr. Bessette stated he is in favor of accepting this gift of land; it would be a nice piece of property and perhaps some walking trails could be created. Mr. Balestracci stated he is not in favor of accepting this gift of land. Every subdivision has to set aside 15% as open space, and once that is done nobody can build on the property, it has to remain as open space. The land is already preserved as open space without the Town owning it, so why would we want to own it? Mr. Balestracci also expressed concerns about setting a precedent that other developers would want to follow, and then we’d have every developer trying to give us their open space. Mr. Brown commented that he is in agreement with Mr. Balestracci, the Town would not be able
to use the land and it is already designated as open space.
There being no further discussion on this matter, the vote on the motion was one in favor (Mr. Bessette), two opposed (Mr. Brown and Mr. Balestracci). Therefore, the motion failed and the gift of property will not be accepted by the Town.
(5) Consider and act on creation of a Design Review Advisory Committee
Mr. Brown commented that further information is needed regarding this agenda item and consensus was to set this matter aside for future consideration.
(6) Stonington Green Subdivision roadways: refer to the Planning & Zoning Commission for review and a report in accordance with CGS Section 8-24
A letter dated December 8, 2004 was received from Ron O’Keefe, requesting that the Board of Selectmen accept Rivercrest Drive, Lee Drive, Cowell Court, and Fallon Road into the town road system. Mr. O’Keefe’s attorney is presently in the process of preparing the Deed, the Certificate of Title, and the Real Estate Conveyance Tax form, which will be submitted to the Planning and Zoning Office for review and subsequent transmittal to the Selectman’s Office for acceptance by the Board of Selectmen. It would be appropriate at this point in time to refer this matter to the Planning and Zoning Commission for a report in accordance with CGS Section 8-24.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to forward this matter to the Planning & Zoning Commission for a report in accordance with CGS Section 8-24.
(7) Consider and act on Regular Meeting schedules for 2006
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to maintain the same schedules presently in effect; that is, the Board of Selectmen will meet on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of each month at 7:00 p.m. and the Stonington Resource Recovery Authority will conduct special meetings as needed.
(8) Bid Awards / Letters of Agreement - None.
(9) 9-1-1 Street Numbering
Joe Larkin, Zoning Official, forwarded the following recommendation for assigning street numbers in accordance with the Street Naming and Numbering (Emergency 9-1-1) Ordinance. The Assessor concurs with these recommendations.
143 Hewitt Road, Mystic, CT 06355
10 Oak Lane, Stonington, CT 06378
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to assign these street numbers as recommended by the Zoning Official.
(10) Correspondence - None.
(11) Re/Appointments Boards and Commissions
Mr. Brown stated that David L. Taylor’s term expires December 31, 2005 and he requests reappointment for another term.
A motion was made by Mr. Bessette, seconded by Mr. Balestracci and unanimously voted to reappoint David L. Taylor as a member of the Commission on Aging.
Mr. Brown commented that two resignations have been received. George Crouse is resigning from the Recreation Commission due to other commitments, and James Schalla resigned from the Waterfront Commission due to out of state employment. Letters of thanks will be sent to both gentlemen.
(12) Old Business - None.
(13) New Business
a. A letter dated November 9, 2005 was received from Cynthia Ladwig, Town Clerk, stating that pursuant to Section 7-65 of the General Statutes of Connecticut, as amended, the Registrar of Vital Statistics shall appoint Sub-registrars with the approval of the Board of Selectmen. With the Board’s approval, she would like to appoint James P. O’Boyle, Patricia A. Moody, John N. Baldwin, III, and John D. MacDougall for a term of office beginning January 2, 2006 and ending January 7, 2008.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci, seconded by Mr. Bessette and unanimously voted to approve the appointments of Sub-registrars as recommended by Ms. Ladwig.
b. Mr. Balestracci commented that he would like to see “Comments from the Public” moved up to the beginning of the agenda from now on. He mentioned that it used to be first on the agenda, and was changed when Mr. Dibble was First Selectman. He’d like to give citizens the opportunity to speak on the agenda items before the Board makes their decisions instead of after the fact.
A motion was made by Mr. Balestracci and seconded by Mr. Bessette to change the agenda format for the Board of Selectmen, moving “Comments from the Public” to the beginning of the meeting.
Further discussion took place. Mr. Bessette mentioned that Mr. Brown has accommodated citizens by moving “Comments from the Public” to the beginning of the agenda on an as-needed basis, and he is comfortable leaving things the way they are now. Mr. Brown commented he is “in the middle” on this issue, and asked the audience for comments.
Ed Hart, Stonington, commented he likes the way the Board of Education does it, because they allow comments from the public at the beginning of the meeting and at the end of the meeting.
Fran O’Neill, Pawcatuck, commented that years ago, citizens were allowed to speak as each agenda item was being discussed. Mr. Brown stated he remembers that it became chaotic and the practice was stopped for that reason.
Joan Balestracci, Mystic, was in favor of putting it at the beginning of the meeting, and limiting the amount of time people could speak, if necessary. Mr. Brown commented he does not like to limit people’s time unless they begin to repeat what has already been said.
Vincent Faulise stated he would like to see it moved to the beginning of the agenda.
An unidentified student commented that she agreed with Ed Hart and the Board should consider putting it at the beginning and the end of the agenda.
Mr. Bessette stated he would agree with putting it at the beginning and the end.
There being no further discussion on this matter, the vote on the motion was two in favor (Mr. Brown and Mr. Balestracci), one opposed (Mr. Bessette). Therefore, the motion passed and “Comments from the Public” will now appear at the beginning of the agenda.
(14) Comments from the Public
Fran O’Neill, Pawcatuck, inquired about the Pawcatuck Streetscape Project and asked if Mr. Brown has asked for a splitting of the grant yet (to separate r-o-w acquisitions from the rest of the project). Mr. Brown commented that the resolution passed by the Board tonight was necessary in order to make sure the funding stays in place, but had nothing to do with splitting the grant.
An unidentified man commented that his street, Kidd’s Way, used to be swept sometime in April, and now it doesn’t get done until July. He requested that the Highway Department do all street sweeping in April. Mr. Brown commented that the Highway Department is stretched thin at times and they can’t get to all the streets at once. Further discussion about this matter took place.
Vincent Faulise, Pawcatuck, inquired about new electronic voting machines. Discussion took place, with Mr. Brown commenting that the Federal government will be paying for them. Mr. Faulise also commented on the poor quality of the sound system at the Police Department meeting room, and Mr. Brown commented the issue is being worked on.
There being no further business to come before the Board, the regular meeting was adjourned at 7:35 p.m.
Kathy A. Kent