Selectboard Meeting Minutes 02/28/2023

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Selectboard Meeting Minutes

Otis Town Hall

Conference Room

Tuesday, February 28, 2023, at 6:30 PM



This meeting will be held in person at the location provided on this notice. Members of the public are welcome to attend. A remote option is offered via zoom with the link provided below.

Please note that while an option for remote participation is being provided as a courtesy, the meeting will not be suspended or terminated if technological problems interrupt the virtual broadcast, unless otherwise required by law. Anyone with interest in any specific item should plan in person attendance.


Town of Otis is inviting you to a scheduled Zoom meeting.


Topic: Select Board

Time: Feb 28, 2023 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)


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Attendance: Larry Southard-Chair, Gary Thomas, Terry Gould, Brandi Page, Mary Kay & Sandy Pinkham, Phil Magovern, Joel Meyers, Denise Hardie, Tammy Weidhass, Nancy Hansen, Robert Webb, Judith Webb, Jesse Cook-Dubin and Diane Provenz. On Zoom: Carol Lombardo, Jill Goodman, Heather Gray, Larry Gould, Zachary Levine and Eric VanOostveen.


Call to Order: 6:30 PM


Approval of Minutes: Minutes from Feb14, 2023 were approved as written.


Health & Sanitation: Jim Wilusz was on to talk with the Board about how we charge for Perc tests. He had sent the Board an email with comparisons. He recommended that we increase our witness fees and that we do away with the portioning out to the inspectors and instead build an amount into the stipends. The Board decided to review the information and set the fee as they are discussing budgets. The Board was also given a capacity priority list by the Southern Berkshire Public Health Collaborative. They have been asked to review the list and give feedback if there is anything they feel is important to public health here in Otis that should be changed or added.


Liquor License: Jesse Cook Dubin was present for the hearing on the proposed manager and premise change for Otis Ridge Properties (aka Grouse House). The manager is changing from Jamie Carr to Eric VanOosteen. This petition is to also continue the outside dining that was permitted under COVID. Jill Goodman commented on how nice the outside dining was last summer and would love to see it continue. Larry made a motion to approve the liquor license change. Gary seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Appointments: The Board had received two applications for the associate vacancy on the ZBA. Zoning was recommending Gordon Middleton. Larry made a motion to appoint Gordon. Terry seconded the motion and it passed unanimously. The Board had been given notice from the School to recommend three people to be appointed by the School Committee to serve on the Regional Agreement Amendment Committee. The Board will put an invitation out on the website inviting people who are interested to submit a letter of interest.


Historic: Diane came to the Board requesting permission to pay for small professional services out of the Historic budget even if they are for things at St. Pauls. Brandi noted, if granted, this would continue into future budgets as well. Gary made motion to allow these expenditures. Larry seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.


Short Term Rental Bylaw: The Board discussed implications of the bylaw with Jim Wilusz and Larry Gould. There were concerns about mandatory inspections upon registration vs the wording “may” inspect. The Town has to weigh the staffing capacity when these registrations and inspections begin. It was noted by one resident that to sign up for one of the rental platforms you simply fill out a questionnaire. There is no safety or documentation of wells and septics that needs to be supplied. Larry Southard asked to table this discussion until the next meeting when the Board has had more time to consider things. Tabled until March 14th.


Patricia Daly: A request had come in for a flat tire that the driver felt was due to stones left ungraded on the road. All our gravel roads in Town have had stone put down already this season due to a sudden thaw. The Board declined to act on the request based on the information presented.


COA Space: The COA room has asked for an additional small area of lower cabinets and counter top for crock pots and food items when they have lunches. They have also asked for a patio outside their door to enjoy in nicer weather. Brandi said if the board approves the patio we will first see if a business is interested in donating the pavers. The Board was unanimously in favor of the storage and patio.


Discussion of Rescue Services: Larry asked the other Board members how they feel about exploring a shared ambulance service with Becket. Gary stated that we had sought to sit down with Rescue and get an update but were unable to make that happen. He’s in favor of exploring what the shared situation would look like but that we still need to sit down with Rescue. Larry stressed we are not looking to cause any sort of divide and want to work together on a solution. The Board was unanimously in favor of getting together with the Board in Becket and starting a discussion.


Review & Approval of Warrants: Payroll and vendor warrants are on the table for signature.


Not Anticipated: There was a comment about the tree trimming on Reservoir Road and how much debris was left behind. The Board suggested calling Eversource to find out more information.


Adjournment: Open session closed at 7:50 PM.