Nov. 20, 2017
By Nan Shnitzler
Following is a summary of discussion and action items from the Nov. 16 Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
New police to be drawn from reserves
Selectmen voted to approve Police Chief Warren Nelson’s proposal to have a reserve officer be sponsored by Bolton to attend the full-time police academy in exchange for staying in Bolton as a full-time officer for at least five years.
Nelson said that over the past year, he has lost two full-timers, and when he recruits from outside, the applicants have been “less than average”; they fail background checks or go with larger towns that pay more. By drawing from reserves, he said, Bolton will know it’s getting a quality officer.
For proof of concept, Nelson said, look to Lt. Luke Hamburger and Detective Jason Puri, both of whom came on the same way more than 10 years ago. Nelson said it would be a $10,000 investment: $3,000 for the five-month academy plus paying the step 1 patrolman’s rate of $20,000 during training. He said his budget could handle the costs for the single full-time opening he has right now.
SRO MOU approved
Selectmen voted to approve the Memorandum of Understanding for the school resource officer, despite the fact the School Committee declined to add a section called “necessary follow-up” requested by Selectmen Chairman Jonathan Keep. The section says that a teacher or school employee with knowledge of a reportable act will prepare and submit a report and secure any physical evidence.
Town Administrator Don Lowe said the school superintendent reported the procedure already exists, so it’s not necessary to add it to the MOU.
New propane tanks approved for Florence Sawyer School
Selectmen voted to approve the application of Suburban Propane to store 5,000 gallons of propane in five new underground 1,000-gallon tanks at Florence Sawyer School. The new tanks are needed for new boilers at the school. Representatives from Suburban Propane explained that the tanks will be installed on the south side of the school in a triangular section of field. The new tanks will be placed on concrete slabs underground, and the area will be fenced. About 100 feet of 3/4-inch gas line will also be run underground.
The installation conforms to federal National Fire Protection Guidelines and has been approved by Bolton’s fire chief and lieutenant, according to selectmen. Town Administrator Don Lowe said excavation would start Wednesday, Nov. 22, and the tanks would be installed by Nov. 28. The boilers will be installed two weeks later, he said.
Town Common purchase closing and holiday approved
Selectmen voted to close on the purchase of the Town Common from the Bolton Conservation Trust with a target closing date of Dec. 1, and to have Town Counsel act as the board’s agent. Town Administrator Don Lowe said a licensed site professional had confirmed the land is clean for its intended use and no ongoing monitoring is required.
Selectmen also approved the holiday tree and menorah lighting for Saturday, Dec. 9, at 6 p.m. which will take place on the Common.
Selectmen voted to appoint David Calcagni of Old Bay Road to the Conservation Commission.
Surplus equipment disposition
Selectmen voted to approve the transfer of a surplus, though usable, Fire Department water tanker to the Department of Public Works, which will use it to move water from the cistern to the salt barn and to pretreat roadways before snowfalls.
They also voted to authorize DPW Director Joseph Lynch to dispose of a 2003 police cruiser and a 2005 Ford F350 light duty dump truck, as the vehicles are no longer operable or usable, and to turn over any proceeds to the general fund.
Main Street corridor to start with information
Selectmen heard from Mark Ayotte, head of the Route 117 Strategic Roads Planning Committee, who said Jan. 15, 2018, is too soon to have estimates for a master plan for Route 117. The strategy the committee came up with is to send out a Request for Information (RFI) to design firms. The whole corridor is a comprehensive enough project that companies would be attracted to provide input; then eventual Requests for Proposal with pricing would be more realistic, Ayotte explained.
“You can pick off projects [to work on] once the whole thing is designed, not the other way around,” Ayotte said.
The five-person committee could use more members, he added. Town Administrator Don Lowe said he and Barry Lorion of the Mass. Department of Transportation met with the head of Paragon at 41 Main St., who said he had lost at least one employee to traffic; people can’t get to Interstate-495 during the evening rush because Route 117 westbound backs up for miles.
Officials thought the left turn onto Wattaquadock could be a culprit and suggested banning it during certain hours, which they said selectmen could vote to do. Ayotte said at least one warrant article for May Annual Town Meeting would be to adopt the Municipal Modernization Act, which would bolster the work they are doing on the school safety zone at the high school.
The next step is for the selectmen to review the RFI.
Selectmen approved a new roadside sign for the Bolton Public Library because the existing sign is tilted and deteriorating. The new sign will sit on two granite posts, have a marquee with magnetic letters, and be easier to maintain.
Martha Remington of the Historical Commission said she thought the design too modern for the national historic district and the building’s early 20th-century provenance, but acknowledged it was “lovely.” “I guess we have to learn to adapt,” she said.
Selectmen also approved a sign for Robin Bonazzoli at 727 Main St. that directs people to her business, Country Well Healing, at 563 Main St. and the 4-by-8.5-feet real estate sign at 96 Hudson Rd. (Camp Virginia), which was previously installed without approval.
Fence approval deferred
Selectmen deferred a decision on a brick-and-wood fence new residents at 225 Main St. want to install in front of their house for noise mitigation. The fence would be 12 feet off the roadway, but encroach 5 feet into the town right-of-way.
Selectmen differed on whether the fence would adversely affect sightlines where the road curves at that location, and Police Chief Warren Nelson wondered whether neighbors would have a clear view when exiting their driveways. Selectmen Chairman Jonathan Keep noted that the brick pillars would be on footings that make the fence a permanent structure as opposed to a wooden fence that could be lifted and moved. He didn’t want a permanent structure in the right-of-way. He asked DPW Director Joe Lynch, who had eyeballed the right-of-way based on landmarks and old Mass. Department of Transportation plans, to stake the right-of-way for a site visit. Selectmen told the applicants that if the fence is fully on their property, they could do whatever they want.
Climate change resolution passed over
Selectmen did not vote on a nonbinding resolution to support the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord, as requested by “concerned residents and taxpayers of Bolton” because two of them did not think it was appropriate for them to “represent the town’s political views,” as Selectman Bob Czekanski put it. Selectmen Chairman Jonathan Keep disagreed, saying that the resolution would add to Bolton’s designation as a Green Community, as it is nonbinding, and would be a symbolic gesture “to our children to say we take [climate change] seriously.”