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Board of Selectmen 07/11/2017: Paint Gate and the Animal House

by Ben Kaplan
July 13, 2017

The Selectmen hosted a packed house at their weekly meeting on Monday night. Two trending issues in the town were the focus of the night’s discussion: the status of the animal nuisance complaints at 70 Lakeshore Drive and the state of Chamberlain St. in regards to the double-painted yellow lines.

The Selectmen hosted a packed house at their weekly meeting on Monday night. Two trending issues in the town were the focus of the night’s discussion: the status of the animal nuisance complaints at 70 Lakeshore Drive and the state of Chamberlain St. in regards to the double-painted yellow lines.

A brief Town Administrator report announced that the town Facebook page has reached 486 followers. Mr. Ritter also stated that the demolition of the Flagg School is “under budget and on schedule.” The actual demolition portion is set to begin next Tuesday.

Lakeshore Drive resident Richard Rossini and Board of Health official Scott Moles discuss zoning measures 

A hearing is currently underway to investigate complaints by neighbors against Rebecca Brodie, a resident of a Lakeshore Drive property that has been brought to the attention of the Board of Health for improper removal of animal waste, inadequate housing for farm animals, and various odor and noise issues.

Cottage Drive resident Richard Rossini and Board of Health Agent Scott Moles provided the Selectmen with an overview of the issue and a tentative plan of action. According to Rossini all but 10 chickens of what had reportedly at one time been close to 30 animals ranging from goats to a duck have been removed from the property by animal control services. Moles said the board is looking into what complaints constitute as monetary fines when the hearing continues on Thursday.

Moles stated that this case only gained traction after it became a possible health hazard to the neighborhood and that even after involving both the Holliston Police Department and animal control services it was difficult to enforce anything on the property. Moles asked the selectmen if they would consider creating zoning laws to more specifically regulate how Holliston residents can raise farm animals. He said that while Holliston is known for being an accepting farming community, well-defined standards would make it easier and quicker to address these types of issues.

“The point is that zoning enforcement could have been done a little sooner,” said Moles. “She acquired these animals very quickly and if we had some zoning...within those first 7 to 10 days we could have said, ‘Hey you’re over your limit.’.”

Selectman Conley invited the public to comment on the matter. Neighbors and resident farming enthusiasts agreed that the town could benefit from clearer guidelines, yet these guidelines should not impede those that are raising, or would like to raise, animals in a respectful and lawful manner.

Joanne Fitzgerald, a Cottage Drive resident, said that specific regulations should be based on the number and type of animal, as well as property size. “I don’t anticipate [70 Lakeshore] will be the only issue,” said Fitzgerald.

The Selectmen noted that these regulations would benefit from a more in depth look and Selectman Ahronian suggested that they work with the Agricultural Commission to establish a framework that takes both prospective animal owners and their neighbors into account.

“There are certain state laws that usurp town laws,” said Ahronian. “I think that the Agricultural Commission can provide us with some perspective on what is best for our town and then we can go from there.

Brodie was not present at the meeting, nor at the first part of the hearing. She has made one public comment on a previous Holliston Reporter article where she asserts that she had not been made aware of the hearing and that she has done everything that she can to be in accordance with the town.

Resident Peter Hendrickson lays out two proposed motions to fix the conditions on Chamberlain St.

The long debated and confusing issue of the double yellow lines on Chamberlain St. has come to a conclusion; much to the joy of its residents. The board and members of the neighborhood came to a compromise. Contrary to a previous decision to leave the lines as they are, the board passed a motion to finish sandblasting the lines from Chamberlain St. to Jerrold and the portion from Jerrold to Prentice St. would be left as is.

This decision comes after almost a year long battle between the residents and the town that was further provoked by miscommunication between the board, the Department of Public Works, and the Highway Department, resulting in removal of line starting and then not being finished. A sizeable group of Chamberlain residents, once again led by Peter Hendrickson, attended the meeting to express their dismay at what they said is now both a dangerous and unsightly street and to get a solid answer about what is to be done to fix the road.

Chamberlain St. residents speak on how they are affected by the unfinished road work

Hendrickson, who had come to the meeting with two proposed motions to guarantee that the lines would not be repainted and to continue sandblasting, felt that they were successful in making their voices heard at the meeting and that the final decision was a solid understanding between the board and the residents.

“I think the selectmen listened well… and were much more willing to hear what we had to say,” said Hendrickson. “As such, we were willing to modify what we wanted to have done and they were willing to be respectful of our neighborhood and we found a middle ground. I think it was helpful for all parties involved and I think we left much more pleased than we started.”

Besides the motion passed this meeting, a separate by-law has been created that mandates that residents of a previously non-painted street are made aware of plans to paint it well before the process begins.

The Selectmen met with the Golf Advisory group to hear about ongoing projects at the Pinecrest Golf Club. According to the group, the irrigation system has been fixed and the update of the golf cart paths is underway. Fixing the paths is expected to cost slightly more than its original estimate at $38.6k. Future plans for the board include looking into the replacement and possible expansion of the main deck of the restaurant.

The Selectmen also finalized their decision for town counsel appointment after a brief deliberation. In a unanimous vote, the board chose Mead, Talerman & Costa LLC, citing the firm’s emphasis on availability and track record in municipal law. Selectman Marsden said that their local ties to the Metrowest area in particular would be useful.

“The fact that they both work in and around the same space that we work in on a regular basis makes it seem like they will really understand how we see things from our side of the table,” said Marsden.

 

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Comments (1)

for the records, 2nd pic in the article - I am a Chamberlain St resident, not Lakeshore Drive...

- Serena Keating | 7/13/17 3:46 PM

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