Meeting Minutes of the Select Board

 Location:  Town offices Date:  July 15, 2021
 Opened:    7:00 pm Adjourned: 9:45 pm

Select Board Members: Andrea Hodson, Jay Jacobs, Kathy Scott____________________

Attendees: Beate Becker, Noel Greiner, Police Chief Mike Tollett, Don Scott, Pamela Worden, Charles Faucher, Jeff Cady, Guy Pettis, Jenny Pettis, Tom Andrews, Mary Marchese, John Cucchi, Anne Cucchi, Ryan Stone, Scott Stone, Ranae O’Neil, Marci Schepker, Earl Horn, Ned Hulbert, Mary Day Mordecai, Wes Tarr, Barbara Watkins, Max Boyd, Connie Boyd

Agenda – Following agreement to move the agenda item ‘Maintenance and Emergency Management’ to the end of meeting, Jay Jacobs moved to approved the agenda as amended. Kathy Scott seconded. All voted in favor.

Meeting Minutes– With the correction of two typos, the SB moved and voted unanimously in favor to accept the July 8 minutes as written.  

Non-Public Session– At 7:02 pm, per RSA 91 A:3II(l), the SB moved and voted unanimously in favor to enter executive session to discuss advice of legal counsel related to a property owner’s request to the town for a quitclaim deed. At 7:30 pm, the board moved and voted unanimously in favor to exit executive session.

Worden Quitclaim Deed Request Skatutakee Road – Andrea Hodson summarized the considerations by the board, subsequent to input from town counsel. These include being amenable to a deed which: a) is drafted by town counsel; b) includes town retention of a 7 foot right of way; 3) includes a surety bond to protect the town in the event of legal action against the town for granting of the deed; and 4) is preceded by an independent appraisal, paid for by the town, of the value of the transaction. Such appraisal may or may not result in the request for financial consideration for the value of ceding the public right of way to the lake.  Ms. Hodson noted the board would lay out these considerations in a letter to Ms. Worden.

The property owners requested explanation of conditions #3 and #4, believing these imposed undue and unfair burdens. They asked why they are being treated differently from property owners who previously were granted quitclaim deeds without such conditions. The board explained the difference in this transaction. Jay Jacobs disagreed that it was unfair given the value of public access to the lake, the value of what’s being deeded, and given the history of this particular parcel. He noted that ultimately the court may have to decide. Charles Faucher stated he wasn’t sure the town has any basis to claim that right of way and believes any action by the board may affect previously executed transactions. He and Pamela Worden will await the board’s outline of proposed deed conditions.

Class VI Road Maintenance – Ms. Hodson shared with attendees a draft authorization document, subject to input from Town Counsel as well as to agreement by Akhil Garland, the Road Agent and the SB, authorizing basic maintenance of the Class VI roads abutting or passing through the Garlands’ property.  This mechanism of Select Board authorization is required for maintenance by a private party of any Class VI road and aims to balance requests for permission to maintain the road with protection for all abutting property owners. The draft agreement is based on sample maintenance agreements executed in other towns.

The board generally supported the draft. Mr. Jacobs noted it gives Mr. Garland permission for what he has been doing and also lays out what is not permitted under state statutes. Abutters raised concerns that a bond requirement would be waived for routine maintenance and requested that a timeframe for permitted work be included. They also asked the process for enforcement. The board noted that any concerns or complaints should be filed as such and the SB would investigate.  They also emphasized that, moving forward, the current state of the road is the baseline for maintenance or disturbances. Abutters to the sections of road included in the agreement would be notified of the proposed agreement, though Kathy Scott noted the RSAs don’t discuss roles of abutters along Class VI roads related to maintenance. Based on discussions with Blood Hill/Cobb Hill abutters, none have opposed this idea.  Attendees agreed any permission does not pass to any succeeding property owner.

The next step is legal counsel review of the draft authorization, followed by review by Mr. Garland.

Transportation Committee, project update – Mary Day Mordecai summarized the committee’s work with the Planning Board, Select Board, the DOT and the Southwest Region Planning Commission (SWRPC), the development of the Complete Streets study and the resulting guidelines. Speeding and pedestrian and bike safety have been longtime concerns. A recent grant from SWRPC is funding the cost of two speed radar signs, which are in the process of being installed on Main Street and also at the intersection of Route 137 and Hancock Road, which has been a concern since 2013 if not before. Ms. Mordecai reviewed discussions with DOT in the years since about how to mitigate the danger and how the decision to locate a solar powered speed radar sign along 137 near the intersection came to pass. The committee reached out to property owners where siting was possible, based on available sunlight and also based on lack of available utility pole. They hope the Route 137 and Main Street signs will be operative by the end of July or early August. Police Chief Mike Tollett has confirmed the effectiveness of the locations.

Separately, Earl Horn reported on the Trails Committee piece of the MAST grant, which helped fund maps and signage for parking and trails. The maps are available at town offices and the library. Trail signage will be complete by the end of August. As part of the educational outreach that accompanies the grant program, the Transportation Committee will distribute flyers at public and event venues in town, will submit an article to Common Threads, and possibly will hold a community conversation.

Route 137 speed radar sign, Guy and Jenny Pettis – Property ownersat the corner of Rte 137 and Hancock Road expressed disagreement that speed is an issue, based on their 3 years there. They appreciate the dark night sky and oppose bright light from the radar sign coming through their windows. They also question that the proposed location, at the end of their driveway and so close to the intersection, is an effective one and asked if it can be moved.

Ned Hulbert explained the location constraints due to the grant, the engineering costs, existing ledge and the need for adequate sunlight to power the sign. The police chief then spoke to the effectiveness of radar signs and his belief that the proposed location will meet the intended purpose. It was also confirmed that speeding drivers are flashed as much as several hundred yards prior to reaching the dangerous stretch where slower speeds are sought. The committee is exploring possible options for mitigating the intensity of – and providing shielding around – the light. The frequency of flashing is programmable. The sign will be in place as long as it remains effective.

Building maintenance– Jeff Cady shared photos of equipment and debris at town facilities that he recommends removing. The SB will coordinate with the recycle center coordinator and highway department to remedy. The board will visit the old highway barn with Mr. Cady to discuss plans to use and heat that building and to remove the old oil tank. Mr. Cady estimates a cost of $2850 to install a new tank and replumb the building. Separately, Mr. Cady reported that the chimney at the police department has been rebuilt and a new liner is coming. The library sign has been repaired and he is getting quotes to paint the library steeple. The Safety Committee, under Mr. Cady’s direction, will resume its meetings and audits soon.

Other business
The SB signed the pay warrant in the amount of $141,985.88.

Board Chair would like to revisit Emergency Command operations, starting with Fire and Police Chiefs.

Don Scott resubmitted his proposal to the board to map culverts throughout town and prepare an inventory. The board will review.