Town of Otis
Select Board Meeting Minutes
September 24, 2019
Call to Order: Meeting was called to order at 7:01 pm in the Town Hall conference room. A quorum was present and the meeting was recorded.
Present: Select Board Chairman Gary Thomas, Selectman Bill Hiller, Selectman Larry Southard, Town Administrator Becky Stone, Eileen Cohen, Chris Tryon, Bud Bushey, Diane Dyer, Susan Brofman, Donna Rich, Peter Kolodziej, Mark Anthony, Sonia Morrison and Nancy Crandall were present.
Review Meeting Minutes: The September 10, 2019 Select Board meeting minutes were approved by Bill and Larry as written, with Gary abstaining.
Board of Health:
16 Elm Lane: Chris Tryon from Berkshire Geo-Tech explained site plans for the existing 3-bedroom cottage. Currently, there is no well on the property and the septic needs to be upgraded. Chris balanced out the design of the leach field as best as he could based on the present surrounding wells. The septic design includes a pretreatment unit into pump chamber, etc., as normal procedure. Will need a variance for a well to be drilled. Closest well is 63 feet away, so it is at least more than 50 feet away. All abutters have been notified and well testing will be done as required. Both well and septic variances were approved by the Board as recommended by Peter Kolodziej.
10 South Lake Ave: Septic system portion of plans were approved at a meeting last month. Chris Tryon now looking for a variance for a proposed well to be drilled on site, because currently there is a shared well. Proposed well site is 70 feet from the leach field. No changes to septic design, other than the brand of the pretreatment unit to be installed. Well to be drilled and tested for potability first. Well and septic variances approved by the Board as recommend by Peter Kolodziej.
13 North Lake Ave: Berkshire Engineering has variance requests for a well and septic system. Peter Kolodziej recommended that this matter be tabled. It’s a busy site plan, so he would like to see it in a larger scale. He has questions for the designer, including where the property lines are and if a survey has been done. The engineer is looking for a 44% reduction in the size of the septic system and an 80-foot setback to the well. He would rather give a variance on property lines with respect to the well, so he will wait until he and Jim have this information. It doesn’t appear that abutters will have to be notified. Mark Anthony, the buyer of the property, was in attendance. He noted that they have already gone through the Conservation Commission and that the closing is coming up on October 30th, so Peter and the Board decided both variance requests could be conditionally approved subject to Peter and Jim looking at the plans and discussing them with the engineer rather than tabling the matter.
Transfer Station Sticker Violation: An Otis Woodlands resident whose home is situated in Otis purchased town transfer station stickers for her family this summer, but gave a sticker to an Otis Woodlands resident from Sandisfield to use. When the infraction was discovered, her stickers were revoked indefinitely by the Board, because this infraction is in violation of the town’s Transfer Station rules. Ms. Cohen came before the Board to explain her actions, apologize, and formally request that their decision not be a permanent revocation. The Board explained to her that it is very expensive for the town to have garbage hauled away, so any additional garbage creates a financial burden to the town, which is why they considered this an egregious infraction. Ms. Cohen acknowledged the severity of her actions. Since the Board didn’t have any formal policy already in the bylaws, they made a decision to set penalties for misuse and violations against the transfer station. After a short discussion, they unanimously agreed to set a policy and terms to revoke transfer station stickers as follows:
1st offense, 60 days revocation;
2nd offense, 90 days revocation;
3rd offense, permanent revocation.
Since this was Ms. Cohen’s first infraction, the Board revoked her transfer sticker for 60 days.
Surplus Equipment Bid Opening. There were no bids submitted for the Maintenance Departments’s Scag Pro mower, which had a minimum bid of $1,500. The Board unanimously decided to repost the mower as surplus equipment and reduce the minimum bid to $500.
Harmony Hall/Rec Dept.: There were no bids submitted for Roof Recoating Project #2020-04. Because of this, different options were discussed. This project may have to be tabled until next year, which is an option. The Building Inspector has inspected the roof and since it isn’t leaking, the town won’t be required to close it down. There was additional discussion that the amount estimated and dedicated to do this project may not be attractive or even reasonable for prospective bidders. The town may need to put the item on next year’s annual town meeting to increase the appropriation. There was continued discussion that the town might be forced to tear down the building, which is the reason why the town is only coating the roof at this time rather than replacing it. This prompted Sonia Morrison to point out that the Historical Commission would like to see efforts made to keep the building. She pointed out that funds could be raised in order to keep the building to get necessary short term and long term maintenance done on it and that the Historical Commission could be part of that process. She also pointed out that the state has a matching funds grant, so that might be an option to pay for roof work to be done, but that there are other organizations with potential funding for historical buildings. She promised to bring up the matter at the next Historical Commission meeting to possibly collaborate with the town, because they are very interested in preserving Harmony Hall and believe the voters in town feel the same way.
2020 Calendar Dates: The Board formally set April 29, 2020 as a deadline for citizens to submit petitions to the Board of Registrars for the Annual Town Meeting Warrant. This is in addition to the following dates already approved and voted on at the 2019 Annual Town Meeting, which includes April 29, 2020 as the deadline for voters to register to vote at the annual town meeting and election, May 19, 2020 for the Annual Town Meeting, and May 26, 2020 for the Annual Town Election.
Library and Museum Agreement: A revision was made by the Library Trustees to the annual agreement with the town and was then signed by the Board. All but one trustee was available to sign the agreement at this meeting. The revision was approved by the Board and in regards to Section 12, requiring quarterly reports to be provided to the town, which will be done annually instead. In addition, Diane Dyer introduced the new Trustees, Susan Brofman and Donna Rich, who were in attendance. Diane also presented a letter expressing that the Trustees have been carefully considering their decision concerning the town’s technology services contract for several reasons. There was discussion about their concerns with acquiring software and equipment, including switching to all-in-one computers, upgrading from Microsoft 7 to Microsoft 10, bandwidth from the new fiber network, maintenance and services, equipment upgrades, and releasing the IT person they have utilized for a very long time, because they are comfortable with his services. Bill recommended that they meet with Larry Gould to go over their needs again at their next meeting, because he will be their main point of contact. The trustees have decided they would like to do a contract with the town for one year to see how it works.
Library – Digitizing Books: This matter is tabled until October 22nd. Celeste Watman could not attend this evening’s meeting and the Town Clerk has some questions for Celeste.
Historical Commission: Sonia continued discussions with the Board about the “65 Mile to Albany Milestone Way.” She will help set up a meeting with Tom Ragusa, Dan Hamill, and Larry Southard to look at the historic site regarding motorized road vehicles, which have been prohibited from the site since October 27, 2009 when the road was designated as a Scenic Road. She would like abutters to be notified, because the granite spires have been tampered with. Larry Gould will also be asked to join the group to check their additional concern regarding an abutter diverting water onto the scenic trail.
First Congregational Church: Bud Bushey attended on behalf of the First Congregational Church. He shared with the Board that the church will offer “Trunk or Treating” for the community on the evening of Trick or Treating in town, along with a modest fire pit to toast marshmallows. He also came to inquire about how close to the road their new roadside sign is allowed to be placed on the church green by Route 8, because they will be replacing their current sign. The trees are getting larger and block their current sign. The Board informed Bud to check with the Town Clerk about current town bylaws for signs. From there, if he has any other questions, he can speak to the Zoning Board.
Tannery Road Bridge: There was a brief discussion about Tannery Road and the effect that the bridge closing will have on the Izaak Walton League and the Knox Trail Sno-Riders Snowmobile Club. Since the last meeting, Becky followed up with MassDOT District 1 Highway Director Francisca Heming. Becky issued her an email about the Izaak Walton League, its history, and how many functions are held on the property, which will require access, along with concerns from the KTSR. Ms. Heming suggested the town formally request that MassDOT install a temporary bridge on Tannery Road as a necessity, to access the 130-acre parcel in case of fire or any other emergency, since the Tannery Road bridge project is not slated for replacement until 2021. Ms. Heming felt the letter could prove beneficial in getting a temporary bridge. The Board signed the letter that Becky prepared for MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver. Becky will inform Khristina and Mike Moretz about the letter. She let Jeff Gamelli know and he will pass on the information to Jim Richard.
I-90 Exchange: Becky made mention of the upcoming meetings with MassDOT regarding an I- 90 interchange. The meeting dates are: I-90 Interchange Study Working Group on October 2nd in Lenox and an Open House Interchange Study on October 10th open to the public at the town hall in Blandford.
Adjournment: At 8:08 pm the Select Board unanimously adjourned the Select Board meeting.
Selectmen’s Secretary, Town of Otis
List of Documents
- Otis Library and Museum Annual Agreement dated September 24, 2019 will be filed with these minutes.
- Letter from Diane Dyer on behalf of the Otis Library and Museum Trustees addressed to the Board of Selectmen, dated September 16, 2019.
- Letter from the Board of Selectmen to MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver, dated September 24, 2019 requesting a temporary bridge be installed on Tannery Road will be filed with these minutes.