September 18, 2017
The regular meeting of the Board of Selectmen was called to order at 7:00 PM by Chairman Soter with all members in attendance.
Fire Chief Gentile
- A pinning ceremony was held for Captain Donovan.
- Megan Smith was presented with a Young Hero Award for her response to a medical emergency involving a family member.
Audit Presentation – R.E. Brown & Co.
Bob Brown appeared before the Board to present the annual financial audit. CFO Chris Laviolette also appeared with Mr. Brown. Mr. Brown stated there was one finding pertaining to all Federal Grant Programs. Due to this finding, Mr. Laviolette will implement a policy manual to manage all federal grants.
Mr. Soter thanked Mr. Brown for his presentation this evening.
ZBA Interview – Brian Wright
Mr. Wright stated he has lived in Bellingham for four years with his line of work being residential architecture. He wanted to be a member of the Zoning Board to get involved in the Town’s development. He served as an Alternate Member for three years before being appointed to an unexpired Regular Member position.
Mr. Wright stated he tries to stay as impartial as possible and follow the Zoning Bylaws.
Mr. Connor asked Mr. Wright if he feels the ZBA is pretty much in agreement when it comes to taking votes. Mr. Wright does feel the Board is pretty much in agreement and follows the intent of the Zoning Bylaws.
Mr. Martinis asked Mr. Wright what he offers to the ZBA. Mr. Wright stated being a young member and raising a family brings a different perspective and new ideas. He also feels his technical background is an asset.
Mr. Martinis asked Mr. Wright about his meeting attendance record. Mr. Wright stated he does make most meetings and cannot remember a meeting where he was needed and did not attend.
Mr. Spencer asked Mr. Wright if an issue has come before the ZBA that he was personally against but felt he had to vote in favor. Mr. Wright stated he has not felt that way stating that the zoning bylaws are well-written and not a problem to follow.
Minutes of September 18, 2017
Mr. Spencer asked Mr. Wright if he agrees with the type of job the Town has done with allowing growth while keeping its character. Mr. Wright stated some areas, such as Pulaski Blvd., need improvement.
Mrs. McNulty asked Mr. Wright what he feels is the biggest challenge the Town is facing. Mr. Wright stated there is so much growth and different zoning uses. There needs to be a balance to allow growth while keeping the Town’s character.
Mr. Soter asked Mr. Wright what improvements are needed on Pulaski Blvd. Mr. Wright stated there needs to be a sense of continuity along Pulaski Blvd. One item that needs to be considered is a new use for the Walgreens building.
Mr. Soter asked Mr. Wright his feelings on giving a company too many opportunities to conform to the Town Bylaws and still do as they wish. Mr. Soter noted he was speaking of a mulch business in Town. Mr. Wright stated he felt a company should be given the opportunity to conform. Mr. Soter stated this company has been given enough opportunity.
On a Martinis/Spencer motion, the Board voted to appoint Brian Wright as a regular member of the Zoning Board with all members voting in the affirmative except Mr. Soter who opposed.
Milford Auto Mall, 1380 Pulaski Blvd. – request to amend Class II License
Mike and Serge Abiramia, owners of Milford Auto Mall Sales & Service appeared before the Board to request an amendment to their Class II License by increasing vehicle storage from 10 to 56 vehicles. They noted that after meeting with Mr. Kupfer, they have reduced their request to 50 vehicles which would allow for 6 additional customer spaces.
Mr. Spencer asked the applicants if they have complied with the set-back so as not to disturb sight lines of the abutting property. Both applicants stated they spoke with the owners of the abutting property and will do whatever is needed to be a good neighbor.
Mr. Spencer asked if the area in back of the building is paved and they answered in the affirmative.
Mr. Connor asked if customer parking will be in the back and was answered in the affirmative. Mr. Connor felt that customer parking should be in the front alleviating any confusion as to where they should park.
Mr. Soter asked the applicants if they could place a sign directing individuals to customer parking.
Mr. Connor asked where snow will placed when the lot is cleared. Mr. Abiramia stated he pushes the snow at the back of the property noting there is quite a bit of space.
Mr. Gaboury, 1390 Pulaski Blvd. asked if the first car closest to the street could be moved back allowing better sight lines when exiting their driveway. He stated he does not have a problem with the business except for that first car.
Mr. Kupfer will visit the site and work with the applicants to establish sight lines.
Minutes of September 18, 2017
On a McNulty/Spencer motion, the Board voted to approve the request of Milford Auto Mall Sales & Service to increase the storage of vehicles on their Class II License from 10 t0 50 and that the first car closest to the street be moved back. Mr. Connor opposed; all other members voted in the affirmative.
Article 12: General Bylaw Amendment – Bulk Storage
Mr. Kupfer explained under this proposed bylaw amendment, businesses engaged in the bulk storage of materials which may cause excessive noise, traffic and odor and may otherwise impact the health, safety and welfare of Bellingham residents must obtain a Bulk Storage License from the Board of Selectmen. Also under this bylaw, no more than 5 Bulk Storage Licenses shall be granted and in effect at any one time, however, each bulk storage use existing as of the effective date of this bylaw may be entitled to a License. In the event there are more than 5 existing bulk storage uses that obtain Licenses, no new licenses may be granted until the number of the active licenses falls below 5.
On a Soter/Connor motion, the Board unanimously voted to recommend Article 12: General Bylaw Amendment/Bulk Storage at town meeting.
Macy School Property – Purchase & Sale Agreement
On a Martinis/Connor motion, the Board unanimously voted to sign the Purchase & Sale Agreement between the Town of Bellingham and Lobisser Building Corp. in the amount of $575,000.
Town counsel Interview – Louison, Costello, Condon & Pfaff
Attorney Costello and Attorney Kate Connolly represented the law firm. Atty. Costello gave an overview of his firm’s services.
Atty. Costello stated he is somewhat familiar with the Town since his firm does Bellingham’s tax title work. He listed Blackstone, Uxbridge, Framingham and Chatham as a few surrounding towns where his firm serves as Town Counsel.
Mr. Martinis asked who would be primary counsel for Bellingham. Atty. Costello stated both he and Atty. Connolly will represent Bellingham.
Mr. Martinis asked what the annual average cost of litigation would be since it is not covered under the flat fee. Atty. Costello guessed it would be approximately $6,000 to $10,000.
Mr. Connor asked what the law firm would be giving up to take on Bellingham. Atty. Costello stated the firm won’t be giving up anything to work for Bellingham. He noted there are towns that have contacted his firm and they declined to submit a proposal because the attorneys did not feel it would be a good fit for their law firm.
Mr. Connor asked if there have been towns that voted against hiring Louison, Costello and what the deciding factor was. Atty. Costello stated he can only remember Holliston not going with his firm and noted he wasn’t given input as to the Town’s decision.
Minutes of September 18, 2017
Mrs. McNulty asked Atty. Costello if there have been times when his firm and the Town they represented did not align. He stated what comes to mind is a zoning issue which ended up in court. He stated Town Counsel can advise, but the ultimate decision is up to the Town.
Mr. Spencer asked Atty. Costello about his areas of expertise and he responded with real estate transactions, tax assessment work, town meetings and charter issues.
Mr. Martinis asked Atty. Costello what his role would be at town meetings. He stated he would be complimentary counsel and would work out his role with the Town Moderator.
Mr. Fraine asked who would be attending Planning Board meetings. Atty. Costello stated it would be either Kate or him.
Mr. Fraine asked who would be attending town meetings. Atty. Costello stated he wasn’t sure who it would be, however, it would be one individual working from start to finish.
The Board thanked Attorneys Costello and Connolly for interviewing for the Town Counsel position.
Mr. Soter stated the Board will be making a decision soon.
On a Spencer/McNulty motion, the Board unanimously voted to authorize the DPW to purchase rock salt for Fiscal Year 2018 in accordance with bids received in the Cooperative Bid Number PW358 administered by the Town of Framingham.
On a McNulty/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to award Contract 2017-WRWM, Wrentham Road Water Main to the low bidder Gravity Construction of Plainville, MA in the amount of $446,380.39.
On a Connor/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the request of the Bellingham Lions for their annual White Cane Toll Road on Saturday, October 14th, rain date October 21st, 9 AM – 1 PM at the Town Center & Pulaski Blvd./South Main St. intersections, with submission of insurance binder to the Town.
On a Martinis/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the request of St. Blaise Knights of Columbus for their Tootsie Roll Drive, Saturday, October 7th & Sunday, October 8th, 8 AM – 4 PM at the Town Center & Pulaski Blvd./South Main St. intersections. An insurance binder has been submitted.
On a Martinis/Connor motion, the Board voted to accept the August 24th minutes as submitted. Mr. Spencer abstained; all other members voted in the affirmative.
On a McNulty/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve the following abatements: residential water, $2506.95; residential sewer, $3178.01; residential trash $574.00 and municipal water, $5379.93.
Minutes of September 18, 2017
On a Martinis/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to approve a Common Victualler License for St. Brendan’s Fall Fair, Nov. 4th & 5th, 9 AM – 5 PM, with fees waived.
Mr. Fraine requested an executive session pertaining to discussion of the Host Community Agreement with Good Chemistry. Members of the Board were polled with all voting in the affirmative. The Board will not return to open session.
On a Martinis/Spencer motion, the Board unanimously voted to adjourn the meeting at 9:00 PM.
Jacqueline A. Bokoski