Select Board Minutes 6-23-2020
TOWN OF RUTLAND SELECT BOARD OPEN MEETING
HELD VIA PUBLICALLY ACCESSABLE CONFERENCE CALL LINE
JUNE 23RD, 2020
Out of an abundance of caution around the covid-19 virus, this meeting was held via a conference call line which was made publicly available for anyone to call into.
- Board members present: Josh Terenzini, Mary Ashcroft, Sharon Russell, Joe Denardo and John Paul Faignant
- Meeting opened at 5:30 P.M.
Ms. Russell moved to enter executive session to discuss a pending tax sale of a town property with the Town Tax Collector Jim Scholtz, attorney for the tax sale Gary Kupferer, Town Lister Howard Burgess and Town Administrative Assistant Bill Sweet attending. Mr. Denardo seconded motion. The motion passed unanimously. The board entered executive session at 5:32 PM.
Upon leaving executive session at 5:59, with no action being taken the open meeting resumed.
New Business: Board to discuss the opening of Northwood Pool
- Mr. Rowe has sent an updated safety plan to all the board members.
- Mr. Rowe reported the pool is running and ready to be opened.
- People can call or drive to the pool to sign up for the sessions, with a limit of 25 people total.
- The water fountains will not be on.
- Bathrooms will be open.
- Chairs will not be provided.
- Discussed the kiddie pool being opened.
- Ms. Russell recommended keeping it closed due the difficulty of having small children maintain social distancing.
- Ms. Russell moved to open starting June 24th and adopting the guidelines present by Mr. Rowe, while keeping the kiddie pool closed. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion.
- Discussed how the lifeguards will handle any objections or issues with the guidelines. Mr. Rowe said he plans to be there during the time the pool is open to help handle any issues.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked how his plan lines up with the Governors orders and recommendations. Mr. Rowe said they are following the 25-person plan.
- Ms. Ashcroft said she feels having the kiddie pool open with parents staying with their child.
- Ms. Russell amended her motion to allow the kiddie pool to open but requiring a parent to stay with their child. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the amended motion. The motion passed unanimously.
Questions from the floor / Public Comment:
- Attorney Bill Ellis, who identified himself as representing the Rutland Town School District was present to discuss concerns from his client regarding what steps the town is going to take in respect to the closure of parks in the town including those which are owned by the school district, separate from the town. Mr. Ellis asked the board if the town will allow sporting events to occur, and he reviewed the latest guidelines given by the state.
- Mr. Terenzini asked Mr. Ellis if he has had any conversations with our Town Health officer regarding the orders. Mr. Ellis said he had not.
- Mr. Terenzini reviewed a recent request he received to amend the closure decision of the softball field at Northwood Park, which is on land owned by the school. Mr. Terenzini said he was informed the school had given permission for a softball tournament to be held there. He was contacted by the organizer and asked for it to be allowed, following the 25-person limit.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if the school will be responsible for the necessary policing of the social distancing and crowd limit requirements since they are the ones who gave permission for the use of their field. Mr. Ellis did not have an answer and said he would bring it back to his client.
- Mr. Faignant asked him to look at whether his client has the authority to make any rules of regulations within Northwood Park which the Act 250 permit vests in the town. Mr. Faignant clarified this applies to the field at Northwood Park and not the one at the school.
- Mr. Ellis said he has not done any legal research on the land records, but he understands there is a separately owned parcel where the softball field is.
- Ms. Russell moved to table the issue until Mr. Faignant and Mr. Ellis can research everything necessary for this topic since she feels they don’t have all the information needed. Mr. Faignant stated he is unable to work with Mr. Ellis because the town attorney Kevin Brown has been brought into this matter since the school board went the legal route. Mr. Ellis said he has spoken with Kevin Brown and was told he knows very little about this situation. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Mr. Ellis asked if there are any other agenda items dealing with restrictions on parks or school property. Mr. Faignant said he expected so.
New Business: Board to discuss resuming meetings in person
- Mr. Terenzini said he would like to have the next meeting in person, suggesting a location like the Center Rutland Fire Station in the apparatus bay so proper distancing can be done. Mr. Mr. Faignant did not object as long as a remote participation option is available as well for people who are not comfortable coming to the meeting. Ms. Russell asked that masks be required as well. Mr. Terenzini said the remote call in option will still be available. Ms. Russell moved to require masks at the in-person meeting. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Mr. Denardo asked if it would be appropriate to require masks to be worn at all town venues, like the Town Office, transfer station and meetings. He commented on situations he has seen at the transfer station where people have not been wearing them. This would apply at all public buildings.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if he felt there was a difference between being in a building and being in an open space. He felt that it applies in areas where people gather is close proximity like the transfer station. He realizes the enforcement can be challenging.
- Mr. Terenzini said he would be in favor of it while inside buildings.
- Mr. Faignant said he would be in favor of a mask requirement for town buildings. Mr. Terenzini clarified what this would include, for example Town Hall and the fire stations. After some discussion, the highway garage would not be included since this is not a public building. Mr. Faignant said this would apply to anyone who enters the building.
- Mr. Faignant moved to require a mask or face covering be worn by visitors coming into a municipal building. This would apply to the offices at Town Hall, both fire stations, and the transfer station office. Ms. Russell seconded the motion. Mr. Faignant asked the town employees in attendance their thoughts and they were in favor. Ms. Clark and Mr. Sweet were both in agreement. The motion passed unanimously.
New Business: Board to discuss reopening Town Hall to the public
- Mr. Faignant stated July 15th is the next date when the current restrictions will be reconsidered by the state.
- Ms. Clark said the process using appointment has been working very well. They can accommodate several people every day.
- Discussed the possibility of opening the building for regular public access. There would be a requirement for all visitors to wear a mask or face covering.
- Discussed allowing anyone being able to call and make an appointment for access to conduct any business they need to with the town. Ms. Clark said the office staff would be able to accommodate these changes. She said the changes could take effect June 25th
- Ms. Ashcroft moved to open Town Hall to the public by appointment and require all visitors to wear face masks. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
New Business: Board to finalize plans for viewing of fireworks on July 4th
- Mr. Rowe said he plans to park cars in the field to the East of the transfer station. This will allow for good viewing. Parking will also be done in the parking lot near the tennis courts, and on the grass near the basketball courts. Lifeguards will help direct traffic. People attending will need to remain in or on their vehicles. Lawn seating will not be open this year.
- Mr. Dumas asked for no parking signs again on Post Road. Mr. Rowe said he would take care of putting them up.
- Ms. Russell left the meeting.
- Mr. Ellis asked why the school parking lot could not be used, citing minutes from previous Select Board meetings. Mr. Faignant stated this was under consideration due to a concern of possible vandalism at the school, as well as it being a poor viewing site. Mr. Ellis questioned why it was shut down if there was a concern over a lack of parking. Mr. Faignant responded that it was not shut down. Mr. Ellis questioned why it was important to shut down the parking lot. Mr. Faignant stated it was due to people coming on school property and using the grounds without permission.
- Mr. Terenzini said he felt it would be fine to allow people to park there, but that it may not be feasible to view the fireworks due to the height of the trees. Mr. Faignant agreed with this.
- Mr. Ellis said he would forward the minutes to Kevin Brown.
- Mr. Terenzini asked if any board member objected to the use of the parking lot. None of them did.
- Mr. Terenzini reviewed a contract between the Town and NorthStar fireworks for the upcoming event, which needs to be signed. Ms. Ashcroft moved to approve the contract and authorize Mr. Terenzini to sign on behalf of the board. Mr. Faignant seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
New Business: Board to review municipal impact questionnaire for the Harbor Freight Act 250 permit
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if the application has been reviewed by all the departments listed. She gave examples of why it is important.
- Mr. Terenzini asked the department heads about their thoughts on it.
- Police Chief Ed Dumas commented that it would not be an issue for his department.
Approval of Select Board Minutes for June 9th:
- Mr. Faignant moved to approve the minutes. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion. After two clerical corrections, the motion passed 3-0 with Mr. Denardo abstaining.
New Business: Board to discuss a tracking system for fireworks permits
- Mr. Terenzini asked what we have been doing. Mr. Sweet stated a new section on the town website was created to post approved permits. This is updated each time a new permit is issued. This new section was shared on social media. It is included on the fire department page.
Tabled Business: Board to discuss reopening Northwood park and Dewey Field for outside recreation use
- Based on the governor’s recommendations, there is an allowance for the start of baseball and softball on a limited basis. Basketball is still not able to be played. Mr. Terenzini said he would like tom see baseball and softball to be able to start.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if other towns that are opening have any conditions on use of the fields. Mr. Terenzini said that parents and fans of players need to remain in their vehicles.
- Mr. Faignant expressed his concern over the supervision of compliance of conditions. Mr. Terenzini said it would have to be written into their agreement.
- Mr. Terenzini would like to allow the use of the fields, but proper precautions need to be taken and there is a lot of confusion in the public about what is allowed.
- Mr. Faignant stated he does not oppose reopening the park according to the guidelines proposed. He does not agree with it but doesn’t oppose it.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked for the guidelines to be clarified on activities. The various activities and restrictions were discussed.
- Mr. Rowe is in favor of clinics for practice but does not think games should start yet. He feels it would lead to larger crowds.
- Mr. Denardo is in favor if there is supervision and precautions in place.
- Ms. Ashcroft stated she is in favor with supervision but addressed other activities like disc golf. She asked how we would handle kids coming to play baseball at night. Mr. Rowe said it has not been an issue and does not anticipate any issues.
- Mr. Faignant asked Mr. Rowe if he would have an issue allowing specific activities in line with the governor’s orders. Mr. Rowe said he would not.
- Mr. Faignant moved to allow organized softball, with a supervisor, according to the governor’s recommendations. This would include organized soccer clinics or baseball supervised by a coach and allow disc golf. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion. After some discussion, the motion passed 4-0.
Bill Sweet Administrative Assistant to the Select Board:
- Presented an updated meeting schedule and committee agenda items
- Provided the revised operating permit for C&C Fireworks.
- Ms. Ashcroft moved to authorize Mr. Terenzini to sign on behalf of the board. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously.
- Provided Act 250 project review sheets received
- Ms. Ashcroft asked fort hem to be shared with the Planning Commission as well.
- Provided correspondence from Green Lantern Solar regarding the proposed Northwood Park array.
- They are ending their plan to develop an array.
- The energy committee met recently and discussed this project.
Kari Clark Rutland Town Clerk/Treasurer:
- Provided an updated budget status overview for the end of the fiscal year.
- There is approximately $124,000 which was not spent.
Barbara Noyes-Pulling Rutland Town Planning Commission Chair:
- The proposed pocket park in Center Rutland will be discussed at the upcoming Planning Commission meeting at the next meeting. Otter Creek Engineering said they would provide one more round of modifications to the plan at no cost.
- Discussed the letter sent to Allco Energy regarding the Otter Creek Solar project on Cold River Road.
- Thomas Melone testified before the PUC about a related matter and expanded to insinuate the town approved of the project and that it should move forward. He represented that both the Planning Commission and Select Board voted to approve the projects.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if this was after the latest letter was sent and asked who it was sent to. Ms. Noyes-Pulling said that it was after the last letter was sent and a copy was sent to the developer, the Regional Planning Commission, and the PUC. Mr. Terenzini clarified that all the Select Board did was to say they did not support waiving the 45-day period.
- Mr. Faignant moved to have Kevin Brown write a letter, and include the previous letters, to the PUC stating the towns position on this matter. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.
Mike Rowe Rutland Town Recreation Director:
- Discussed the cost for using the pool this season. He stated he would like it to be free of charge to all town residents, proof of residency required, and charge non-residents $3 to use it. This is about half of what it used to cost.
- Mr. Faignant moved to accept this proposal. Mr. Denardo seconded the motion.
- During the discussion, Ms. Ashcroft asked that priority be given to town residents if a scheduling conflict occurs. This was accepted. The motion passed 4-0.
Byron Hathaway Rutland Town Road Commissioner:
- By Thursday of this week all the roadside mowing will be done. The new tractor is working well.
- Ms. Ashcroft asked if the mower head on the new mower is smaller. Mr. Hathaway said that it was 10” smaller. Ms. Ashcroft asked if this would increase our costs of mowing. Mr. Hathaway said it will not because we are able to mow back farther since we have more time with the mower, not being shared with Clarendon any longer, which is a bigger town and took more time to mow.
- Ms. Ashcroft reviewed the Highway Committee minutes. The list of 2020 projects were discussed. The committee recommends moving forward with the projects. Ms. Ashcroft moved to approve all the projects outlined. Mr. Faignant seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.
- Ms. Ashcroft thanked the City of Rutland for paving Campbell Road.
- Ms. Ashcroft reviewed the discussion of the drainage area project on Grover Drive.
- Mr. Faignant asked if Mr. Hathaway is ok with the project going forward. Mr. Hathaway stated he was.
- Mr. Faignant moved to proceed with the project as described by the committee. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion. The motion passed 4-0.
Chris Clark Rutland Town Fire Chief:
- The truck committee has met 3 times so far to discuss the replacement of Engine 3. They are making good progress
- Discussed the gutters at the Center Rutland Fire Station. They overflow easily and are damaging the plants below them.
- Eric Carrara was contacted and has developed a plan to correct it. He has offered to donate the materials and his time to compete the work.
- The process to properly correct the problem requires a cut across the parking lot toward the road. The gutters overflow because the size of the gutter and downspouts are not large enough to handle the water.
- Mr. Denardo suggested coordinating with the Highway Department to complete the work needed.
- The only expected expense is for excavation work. Mr. Hathaway said he would be able to help and will review the site.
Ed Dumas Rutland Town Police Chief:
- Recent calls for service were provided.
- The speed cart is being moved around to various locations to address issues.
- All the Town Police Officers will be working on July 4th for the fireworks.
Committee meeting updates:
- Energy Committee
- Mr. Faignant said the committee is now looking into alternatives for a solar array at Northwood, as suggested by a representative from Green Mountain Power.
- The committee needs to meet again to discuss these alternatives.
- The array installed on the landfill is not going to be developed.
- After some discussion, the meeting will be warned for Monday June 29th at 9AM.
Mr. Denardo moved to adjourn. Ms. Ashcroft seconded the motion. The motion passed unanimously. The meeting was adjourned at 7:59 PM.
Respectfully submitted, Mr. Bill Sweet
|Joshua C. Terenzini, Chairman|
|Mary Ashcroft, Clerk|
|John Paul Faignant|
Center Rutland, VT.