(Original MS-Word Document)
Wilmington Selectboard - Minutes June 5, 2002 7:00 p.m.
Selectboard Members Present: Fred Skwirut, Paul Kasanoff, Michael Penson, Robert Wheeler and John Redd.
Others Present: Sonia Alexander, Mary Towne, Brian Johnson, Gordon Ketterer, Alan Davis, Barker Willard, Jr., Cliff Duncan, Michelle Maynard, Pete Maynard, Harriet Maynard, Mark Hardy, Ed and Deborah Haslund, Bob Covey, Marianne Kipnes, Jack Kipnes, Kevin Downey, Gary Austin, Jim Wiesner, Joe Reagan, Chris Richter, Dawn Nieters, Donald Towne, Gary Gale, Linda Green, Dan Facilla, Margaret Frost, John Cerrato, and others.
- Goals and Objectives: John Redd went over the attached list of goals and objectives that the Selectboard and Town Manager developed during the Manager evaluation process. They also included public input from the last few months. The list will be reviewed regularly and timelines developed. New items will be added as they come up and the Board welcomes input from the public.
Additional items added were telecommunications ordinance and tax maps. The Board will conduct another town manager evaluation in October and then annually thereafter.
- Visitors and Public Comments:
a. Inquiry about hiring new police officers and feeling they are not needed in a town this size.
- The full-time officer appointed last week will work with the Southern Vermont Drug Force until September 2003 and is funded by a grant for that purpose.
- Part-time officers will be hired in July. That was in the budget under part-time officers. Part-time officers alleviate a lot of the overtime by the regular officers. Although Wilmington's resident population is about 2000, the police activity is much busier because of the second homes, tourists, and traffic. The additional full-time officer that was voted down at town meeting will not be hired.
- Status of Act 60 committees and shadow tax bills. A lawyer has been contacted to look at the list of suggestions. The committee will meet again before another group meeting is held.
- The recent petition to abolish the town manager form of government was from a group of people, not just the town clerk. Skwirut's comments diminished their efforts and he should have stepped away from the table to make a statement. Redd said that Skwirut had prefaced his remarks with the caveat that it was strictly his own opinion and not that of the Board.
- Roberts Rules of Order would require that the chair does not participate in debate. The Selectboard has not adopted Roberts Rules of Order for their meetings and operate more informally.
- Selectboard Comments: Wheeler said he had attended the Planning Commission meeting as Ex-Officio in Redd's place. He said the upcoming zoning bylaws rewrite is very important and will have long-reaching effects. He encouraged everyone to participate. The 4 p.m. meeting time is difficult for both Wheeler and Redd to attend.
- Building Inspector: After Jean Canedy's resignation, a part-time building inspector was hired. He subsequently took a full-time job elsewhere and is unavailable days, but is working part time
Wednesday evening and Saturdays. Funding for a full-time building inspector position was voted down at town meeting. The issue now is whether to have a part-time building inspector or none at all.
- Architect Gordon Ketterer said he had deep reservations about a building inspector and the building code being used because:
- The BOCA code is designed for public buildings and not one and two-family homes, farms, or residential day care facilities. There is also a CABO code for one and two-family homes but the only place it is being used in this area is Connecticut.
- The BOCA code is a good code for public buildings but that is covered by the state and the state inspects them. Some BOCA rules are very expensive to comply with and restrictive because they do not apply to single-family homes.
- If the town has a part-time or full-time building inspector, the town is liable for everything in the code. We should not have a code at all and let the state assume liability for public buildings.
- The State requires that if a town adopts a code, it must be the BOCA code. Only a few towns in Vermont have building codes.
- Fire Chief Johnson said the State does not inspect homes unless they become rental units, then they come under BOCA. Vermont is #1 in the nation in per capita fire deaths.
- Barker Willard Jr. said some insurance companies require a lot of the codes also.
- Asked if grades of lumber are required, Building Inspector Mark Snow said no, but if engineered lumber is used then it needs to be used for what it is designed for.
- Several people agreed that either we should enforce the codes right, or not at all as it is a liability for the town.
- Alan Davis said any reputable contractor carries liability insurance, so the town needn't incur additional liability. If there is no code, it would be left to the owner and contractor.
- Since the ordinance was adopted back in the 70's by the voters, it may have to be rescinded by them. Now there is a provision that the Selectboard can adopt it.
- When the code was adopted there was not as effective enforcement by the State, but now they are better.
- Snow said the most common problems are bedroom egress and snow-loads. He likes to resolve problems before building starts. His recommendation is to try a part-time inspector who would be available in the daytime hours. He is concerned about safety issues.
- Most other towns have zoning regulations, but no building ordinance and let the State inspect public buildings. Our sewer ordinance covers septic systems. They are now inspected by the Zoning Administrator and an engineer signs off on them.
The item was tabled until next week's meeting.
- Brian Johnson, Fire Chief spoke about the Town's Rapid Response Plan that the Selectboard approved and is updated every year. The plan has phone numbers of who to call for what type of emergency. It also identifies high-risk areas and high-risk citizens such as disabled. There is also a special plan for the elementary school that has a propane facility nearby.
He also explained the All Hazard Communication Program, which is a more detailed plan and is also revisited on a regular basis. This plan includes hazardous spills. He spent 5 hours today with FEMA in Newfane today talking about emergency planning. Assistant Fire Chief Richard Covey acts as a back-up person for Johnson when needed. There is not an evacuation plan as such, but we do have designated evacuation centers - the high school and town hall. The school does not have a power back-up yet, but the town was recently given a huge donation of a generator, for which he is looking into set up costs.
Johnson also reported that the town has written the Insurance Services Office, Inc. to come and re-check our rating due to improvements. This could reduce some insurance premiums. He said that on Route 9 East the 9th dry hydrant has been installed with the help of a state grant.
Several people have just completed a training class, but the department is always looking for new volunteers. He said he has excellent dedicated people in the department and he is proud to be a part of it. The Board thanked Brian for coming in to update them.
- Access Management Categories for State Highways: This was tabled until next week.
- Anti-Nudity Draft Ordinance: The attached letter from Police Chief Joe Szarejko was read by Skwirut and discussed. The Board was given a copy of a draft ordinance to consider. This draft was based on an ordinance that has been upheld in court.
- Mrs. Frost reported that there is no difference from last year despite the efforts of the police, the power company, and ledges group.
- The power company does not feel they can designate an area for nude bathing because they have an obligation to keep the lake open to the public.
- Nudity used to be contained to ledges area but is now reported in other areas of the lake and boats. People who are offended or do not want children exposed should be respected.
- The objectionable behavior at the ledges is actually not nudity but homosexual trysting ad there are already laws against lewdness. It is an enforcement issue and law abiding nudists should not be punished.
- Someone asked if a strip club could be addressed by zoning.
- We are in a tourist town and many tourists come for the nude bathing. They spend a lot of money in town.
- The ledges area is listed on the internet as a site for homosexual cruising.
- If there were enough enforcement, then there would be a notice on the internet to watch out because it is not a good site.
- A lot of time was spent last year on this issue but people are not honoring the sanctity of the ledges and it cannot be forced back into that zone.
- The process: The Board adopts an ordinance if they decide to do so and it is effective in 60 days unless a petition is filed, in which case it would have to be voted on by the voters.
- Donald Towne, a Searsburg resident, presented a petition to the Selectboard and he is also presenting to the Whitingham Selectboard. The petition called for both Wilmington and Whitingham Selectboards to adopt an anti-nudity ordinance.
- Susan Manton requested additional public meetings before a decision is made.
- There was a lot of public input last year and plenty of press coverage of the issue.
A motion was made by Redd, seconded by Kasanoff, that the Selectboard consider adoption of an anti-nudity ordinance at their next meeting. All were in favor.
a. A letter from Tom Montemagni of Mount Snow was read. A reply letter will be sent that all money donated to the Town of Wilmington was given directly to the Wilmington Education Fund. The Town of Wilmington did not receive any checks made out to the Town.
- A letter was received from Ann Ketterer, Chair, Pettee Memorial Library. After much discussion the trustees have decided that they cannot agree to the proposal regarding the library and Act 60.
- A letter from Ed Haslund and memo from Sonia Alexander regarding Road Supervisor/Selectboard Conflict of Interest was received. Mr. Haslund and Alexander will meet and discuss the issue.
- A letter from VHB regarding the Bypass was received. State officials and VHB representatives will attend next week's meeting to update the Board.
- Act 250 Log was reviewed and no action taken.
- Minutes of May 22, 2002 were accepted.
- A motion was made by Redd and seconded by Wheeler to go into Executive Session to discuss Civil Actions at Law. All were in favor and the Board entered executive Session at 9:35 p.m. with Alexander and Mary Towne also present. They came out of Executive session at 9:45 p.m. Action: The Board would like to meet in Executive session with the Planning Commission to discuss pending litigation.
- Other Business:
- Alexander replied to Kasanoff's question of last week that warnings and minutes are not necessary when Listers are conducting their daily work such as viewing properties, etc. because these activities are not considered "meetings".
- Alexander told the Board she will be out of the office Thursday and Friday attending the Vermont Town Manager's Conference.
The meeting adjourned at 9:50 p.m.
Mary Towne, Secretary
Approved by Wilmington Selectboard
Fred J. Skwirut, Chair Paul Kasanoff Robert D. Wheeler
Michael B. Penson John Redd