Select Board Meeting Minutes 09/10/2019

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Town of Otis

Select Board Meeting Minutes

September 10, 2019


Call to Order:  Meeting was called to order at 7:00 pm in the Town Hall conference room.  A quorum was present and the meeting was recorded.


Present:           Selectman Bill Hiller, Selectman Larry Southard, Town Administrator Becky Stone, Larry Gould, Leigha Chaffee, Candy Chaffee, Mary Chaffee, Michael Moretz, Khristina Mortetz, Jim Richard, Sonia Morrison and Nancy Crandall were present.


Review Meeting Minutes:  The August 26, 2019 All Boards meeting minutes and August 27, 2019 Select Board meeting minutes were unanimously approved.


Board of Health:  No business.


Playground:  Leigha Chaffee asked the Board about the possibility of a common area, pavillion, and playground for residents and visitors of East Otis.  Sonia added that the Historical Commission hopes to phase in a playground at the old East Otis Schoolhouse, because they agree that East Otis needs a focal point.  She and Leigha discussed collaborating on a project, including necessary funding and donations.  There was discussion about the scope of work, parking, picnic tables, landscaping, challenges, liability issues, whether the school house property would be big enough and whether a project should be done in the center of Otis rather than in East Otis or at the Town Beach through the Rec Department.  Sonia invited Leigha to the Historical Commission’s next meeting on September 18th.  Leigha added that she could help get the manpower to build a park and help supply logs and boulders for kids to climb on.  There was discussion on getting more community backing or a petition, though space for this type of project in East Otis might be limited.


New Appointments:  Steve Schultze was appointed to the Technology Committee and Wayne Wosczyna was appointed as a ZBA Associate Member.



Highway Department:

            Tannery Road:  Khristina Moretz, the president of the Izaak Walton League, asked the Board to formally request that MassDOT put up a temporary bridge on Tannery Road as a necessity, because now that the road has been deemed unsafe and is closed, they are prohibited from entering with vehicles.  This prevents them from accessing and checking on the pavillion and club house, hosting events, getting a trailer down there or doing any maintenance work.  The town owns the road, but the state owns the bridge.  There was discussion that poles and electric lines may be moved depending on the state’s design for the road and bridge.  Khristina has spoken with Eversource and they will work with her on temporary power if the time comes that they need it.  There was also discussion about the possibility of the Board requesting a long-term temporary bridge rather than short-term, because MassDOT doesn’t have the bridge work scheduled until 2021.  Jim Richard added that as a member of the Knox Trail Sno-Riders, they also see a temporary bridge as a necessity, because it’s one of three spots to cross the Farmington River.  Becky will contact MassDOT on behalf of the Board.


            Waste Water Treatment Plant Paving Project – Bid Results:

The two following bids were submitted:

HMA Paving & Contracting, Mechanicville, NY – $42,545.00

Northeast Paving, Westfield, MA – $52,500.00


Derek and Becky opened the bids on August 28th at 2:00 pm.  The apparent low bidder was HMA Paving & Contracting and the contract was awarded to them.  The bid packet was reviewed for complete.  Paving will begin the first week of October 2019.


Historical Commission:  Sonia continued discussions with the Board regarding the use of storage space at Harmony Hall to store items securely while they do inventory.  The Rec Department supports them using this space.  There was discussion about items that would have to be stored.  The Board informed Sonia that the maintenance department would not be able to move items in or out of the storage space for them.  Next, there was discussion about Celeste Watman digitizing some inventory/books to save space and also moving books out of the Town Hall.  Then there was discussion about the deed transfer of St. Paul’s Church and the building itself, since it has been deemed unsafe by the Building Inspector.  Larry Gould shared two solutions for this:  tearing down the building or locking it and placing a tall fence around it until it can be repaired.  Lastly, there was discussion about the Knox Trail.  Sonia shared correspondence from October 27, 2009 regarding the Otis Select Board’s decision to designate the “65 Mile to Albany” Milestone Way as a Scenic Road for the use of foot traffic only pursuant to MGL Ch. 40, Sec. 15C.  All motorized road vehicles are prohibited from this scenic road with the exception of motorized vehicles used for the purpose of transport of handicapped persons.  There was discussion that there have been violations of this.  There has been increased off road vehicle activity on this road and the granite posts there have been repeatedly taken down.  The Historical Commission would like to notify abutters about the 2009 decision as a reminder, since there have been repeated offenses.  Sonia will supply a list of abutters to the Board of Selectmen and a site map for the Board to look over.  There is additional concern about an abutter diverting water onto the scenic trail.


Other Business:


Bill spoke to Commissioner Roy today from DCR in Boston about Tolland Road.  The Commissioner is not necessarily opposed to a gate being installed and is willing to work with the town after determining ownership of the road.  He will be getting back to Dominic and Rick at DCR to gather more information.  Bill forwarded maps to him from Larry Gould to assist them with determining ownership.

Whip City Fiber has a new drop contract with a new subcontractor.  The Technology Committee is not satisfied with the quality of work provided by the new subcontractor.  They were very pleased with the quality of service from the former subcontractor, including customer service.  They have decided to obtain quotes from different subcontractors, so they will post a bid for their own drop contract, rather than continue to use the one provided by Whip City Fiber.  They believe they can find more a qualified and experienced subcontractor than what is currently, though this could put the project 3 to 4 weeks behind schedule.  The project is already falling behind schedule since the new subcontractors have come in.  Drops for Phases 6 through 11 remain to be completed.

Leigha Chaffee would like to see a “Slow, Children” sign posted on Old Blandford Road.  There was discussion and she was informed she could speak to Derek directly concerning a sign.

Tolland resident Jim Richard asked how North Tolland could connect with the network through Otis, as Blandford has.  Bill and Larry Gould explained the process.


Adjournment:  At 7:47 pm the Select Board unanimously adjourned the Select Board meeting.


Respectfully submitted,

Nancy Crandall

Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis



List of Documents

  1. Tyringham Road project bid results from HMA Paving & Contracting and Northeast Paving.


  1. Email from Sonia Morrison, co-chair of Historical Commission, sent to the Board of Selectmen regarding anticipated items for storage dated August 28, 2019 and email from Rec Center Program Supervisor dated September 5, 2019 sent to the Board of Selectmen regarding their support for the Historical Commission to use the small room upstairs at Harmony Hall for storage.


  1. Letter signed by the Select Board and dated October 27, 2009 designating the “65 Mile to Albany” Milestone Way as a Scenic Road for the use of foot traffic only pursuant to MGL Ch. 40, Sec. 15C.