MINUTES OF FRANKLIN SELECTBOARD

                                           MONDAY, APRIL 9, 2007, AT 7:00 P. M.

                                                 FRANKLIN CENTRAL SCHOOL

 

 

PRESENT: Peter Kittell, Jamie Boudreau, Lynn Paradis, Wayne Fiske and Sue Clark, Franklin Town Clerk.

 

     Peter called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.

 

TOWN CLERK’S CONCERNS:

 

     Rabies: Sue informed that the Town Clerk’s Office has been approached by people from the USDA and they are going to do a trapping/catch season here in Franklin.  It will probably last this year and next year.  They are asking that the Selectboard authorize them to trap within the road rights-of-way.  They are also asking Town Clerk’s to provide maps of large farms so they can contact property owners for permission to enter certain “prime” areas for the purpose of trapping raccoons and skunks.  She noted this trap/catch will take place in Franklin, Highgate and St. Albans.  Quebec is also starting up a program.  Healthy raccoons will be vaccinated and released.  Unhealthy raccoons and all skunks will be euthanized.  They will probably start within the next three weeks.  Sue provided a form which they ask that the Board sign authorizing them to trap within the road right-of-way.  They will contact private landowners directly for permission to enter their property.   She advised that Martha Pitt is the contact person and that Bob Johnson is the State Vet for Vermont.

 

     Solid Waste: Sue informed that she received a telephone call from Jeff Thayer from the Department of Environmental Conservation inquiring why Franklin had not applied for a solid waste grant.  They sent the paperwork up in January.  The grant would help us pay for hazardous waste collections and also to do promotional brochures or educational workshops on recycling.  She advised that this grant is for $2,000.  She noted that in order to receive this grant, you must have an approved solid waste plan and she stated she did not know the status of ours.  He told her that for purposes of this grant, we do have a plan.  Peter commented that we applied for and received a similar grant a couple of years ago and it was used to hire Bill Rose of Northwest Regional Planning to draft our Solid Waste Plan.  Sue responded that this grant would be strictly for recycling and household hazardous waste.  She advised that she downloaded another application and it is in the Selectboard folder.

 

     Reappraisal: Sue advised that the Listers have received a letter from Bill Johnson and they do not have to do a reappraisal on the cottages this year.  She noted that the COD had gone below 20% and fair market value is above 90% and he has released them from doing the reappraisal this year. 

 

     Town Services Officer: Appointment document needs two more signatures.  It is in the Selectboard folder. 

 

     Annual Fair Housing Workshop:   Sponsored by Community Development Programs will be held in Montpelier.  If you intend to look for community development money, part of their new requirements is for a member of the legislative body, planning commission, or ZBA to have fair housing training.  She noted that all community development monies go to low to moderate income people. 

 

     Drainage Map: Sue reminded Wayne that she needs the drainage map for the new garage.

 

     The Board thanked Sue and she exited the meeting.

 

RABIES:

 

     The Board discussed the program outlined by Sue and agreed it will be of benefit to the community.  Motion by Wayne/Lynn that Peter be authorized to sign the paperwork on behalf of the town.  Peter asked if there was any further discussion/comments and there was none.  All members voted in favor/motion passed.

 

MINUTES OF LAST MEETING:

 

     Motion by Wayne/Jamie to approved the minutes of the March 19, 2007 meeting.  Peter asked for any discussion/changes.  Wayne asked that on Page 6 in the paragraph “Guardrails” that the second sentence be deleted and that under motion by Jamie/Scott that the name of the company be added.  It will now read, “Motion by Jamie/Scott that Wayne be authorized to sign the contract with Lafayette for the guardrails.”  There were no other changes/discussion.  All members voted in favor/minutes approved with changes noted above.

 

BILLS AND ORDERS:

 

     Reviewed and signed.  Lynn provided members with current financial data for the Town.

 

SIDEWALK GRANT:

 

     Peter informed members that the next agenda item is the sidewalk grant.  He stated we were looking for grant funding to do Square Road.  Kim Gates-Maynard and Bonnie Waninger from Northwest Regional Planning entered the meeting.  Kim introduced Bonnie to the Board.  Kim gave a brief overview of the grant and shared with members the recommendations/results of the study which was done as part of the grant process. She noted that the initial application was made last year through a Safe Route to School grant.  Kim completed the first part on behalf of the school and Franklin was one of 28 (out of 39 that  applied) schools to be approved.  She advised that the school received $1,500 to be used to educate students on walking/biking to school.  Bonnie Waninger advised that not every school asked for sidewalk funds.   Schools asked for funds for different needs; some may have needed funds for bike racks.  Franklin’s request was for sidewalk funding.  Kim  informed members that the grant will only cover Square Road and not Main Street in front of the general store.  Various aspects of the sidewalk study/proposals were discussed by the Board including water/utility lines, culverts, driveways, crosswalks, fences, drainage, tree, stump and hedge  removal.  Kim noted that there are pros and cons to both of the recommended options and she really has no preference.  She further suggested that it might be a good idea to meet with property owners.  It was pointed out that the second step of the grant is to reapply and “fine tune” our request.  Ms. Waninger informed that she has been in touch with Vtrans and they have provided some additional suggestions to improve the grant and updated cost projections.  She  pointed out that the grant is a 100% grant for funding up to $250,000.  Peter noted that Bill Rose recently contacted us about another sidewalk grant for which he has applied on our behalf.  It is for 20/80% funding.  The second part of the Safe Route Grant application must be completed by the town and must be submitted by August.  Kim stated she wrote the first part of the grant and is willing to write the second part once the Selectboard decides which option it prefers.  Cost of the project was discussed and Kim stated the cost for Square Road alone was estimated to be $165,000 and, as we all know, costs keep going up.  Wayne asked if they had figures on cost per foot and they responded that they did not.  Jamie asked about the recently installed Square Road culvert and Peter advised it is wide enough for a sidewalk.  Kim and Bonnie stated they would like a decision from the Board  in a couple of weeks so they can begin work on the August application. It was noted that although the application is due in August, we probably will not hear anything on it until November and construction will probably not be until 2008.   Peter asked about the curbing and reminded that the Board planned to put another layer of pavement on Square Road, but held off because of the sidewalks.  He stated he has noticed some cracks, but it will hold up for a while longer.  The fact that another layer of pavement will be put down must be kept in mind when deciding on the height of curbing.   Peter asked that each Board member review the study proposals and walk Square Road and then e-mail their preference/recommendation to the Town Clerk’s Office.  The Selectboard was provided a copy of the study recommendations and covering letter from Ms. Waninger which outlined much of what was discussed tonight.  Wayne asked about the contractor and whether or not the Town can do some of the work.  Ms. Waninger responded that the municipality will oversee the project with Vtrans in the background and that if the town elected to do the work and could do it up to the required standards they certainly would be reimbursed, however, many towns do not want to get involved in such a project.  In those cases, it would be put out to bid with the bid package containing all specifications including time frame for completion of work.  Peter asked if there were any more questions and there were none.  The Board thanked Mrs. Gates-Maynard and Ms. Waninger and they exited the meeting.

 

NEW BUSINESS:

 

     Solid Waste Grant: Peter advised that he spoke to Bill Rose about our Solid Waste Plan and there are a couple more areas that have to be addressed.  Peter and Scott will be attending a meeting on April 17th at the Swanton Town Offices.  He noted that we have no money in the budget to join the solid waste district so we have to get our plan completed and submitted to the State.  We will also need to have a couple of meetings and complete whatever procedures are required to adopt the plan.  Peter will complete the grant application that Sue spoke about earlier tonight.  Motion by Wayne/Jamie that Peter be authorized to sign the Solid Waste Grant.  All members voted in favor/motion passed.

 

     Pigeons: Letter received regarding pigeons that have taken up roosting in the old town garage.  There is concern they will move over into the telephone company buildings once the old garage is removed.  Request to shoot the pigeons has been received from a resident.  After discussion, Board unanimously agreed to deny the request.

 

     Seasonal/Year Round Camps: Peter informed the Board that we need to come up with guidelines to be followed for converting camps from seasonal to year round.  Plans are to meet with the Planning Commission, ZBA and Water Shed Committee to come up with guidelines for the ZBA to use when these cases come before it.  It was noted that right now, our regulations make it very difficult to convert to a year round residence.  Among the things to be considered are adequate septic systems.  One suggestion is that those camps that do not have room for a conventional system be required to put in a holding tank and have an engineer certify that the system will work.  They would also have to identify a replacement area.  These holding tanks would have an alarm system which would warn the owner when pumping is needed.   Peter noted that year round residences would also need to have access roads/turn around areas adequate for emergency vehicles such as fire trucks and ambulances.  The roads are private and would have to be maintained during the winter months to ensure such access.  Discussion was held on the various “lake roads” and the fact that it would be up to the residents to come up with the funds to maintain/update the roads as required.  It would be up to property owners/owners’ association members to vote on whether or not to assume the expense.  It was noted that converting from seasonal to year round can be very expensive.  If a camp cannot meet the guidelines, then the ZBA would deny them year round designation.  Discussion was held on policing of the holding tanks and it was pointed out that agreements can be made with some haulers to notify the town when a tank is pumped and the amount pumped out.  It was also noted we must prevent seasonal camps from being sold as year round dwellings when they do not meet guidelines.  This could be accomplished by a notation  in property records on those camps.  It was noted that letters have been sent out to owners residing year round in a seasonal dwelling and it has caused quite a stir.  Discussion was held on the impact conversion from seasonal to year round would have on our tax base.  It was felt that while seasonal camps are taxed at a higher rate, improvements required to make a camp year round would raise the assessed value in most cases so there will likely be little change.  Lynn noted that some may remain second homes even though they are changed to year round.     

 

     Septic Ordinance:  Peter informed members that Bruce Douglas is working on our septic ordinance.  He will provide an outline of what needs to happen so that we can do it.  We are supposed to get our plan into the State by the end of the month.  He noted that it will give us more control over all septic systems.

 

OLD BUSINESS:

 

     TH#3 Traffic Problems: Wayne asked if Peter had the opportunity to contact law enforcement regarding this matter discussed at the last meeting.  He stated that the problem continues and is really bad between the hours of 5 and 9 a.m.  Peter stated he plans to discuss it with law enforcement at the April 18th meeting.  He noted that he was only able to reach a voice mail and did not leave a message. 

 

     Drainage, culverts, culverts/drives along the Magnant property and speed limits on this road were discussed.  Peter asked that Board members continue to monitor this road for additional problems that we must address with the contractor prior to the road being turned over to the town. 

 

     Scott Road Turnaround: Peter stated that now that the snow is nearly gone, we must set up a visit to see if we want to go ahead with this project.  It was decided the Board would visit the property on Tuesday, April 24th at 7:00 p.m.  Peter will contact Scott to see if he can make it.  Peter will also contact Kevin Dansereau to see if he wants to participate.  Wayne suggested that Boy, Ron and Marshall Ploof be included also.

 

     Town Hall and Library: Peter stated he visited the Town Hall today.  He informed new members that we have been going to do work on the town hall for the past two years, but were unable to find a contractor willing to do the work.  He outlined the window problems; some broken and some covered with plywood and his replacement/repair recommendations.  He also outlined the ventilation needs for the building now that the painted curtain has been restored.  There are clapboards that were broken/damaged by the loader and need to be replaced and there is a problem with the front doors.  Peter advised they are not the original doors and are plywood and are warped so they do not open and close properly.  He said the girls at the town offices told him that there are times when snow comes into the building through them.  Peter advised that we have $5,000 in our budget for the town hall,  $1,500 of which is needed for electrical and heating needs.  That leaves about $3,500 and he believes it will be sufficient for the needed repairs.  He stated he will speak with Richard Boudreau who has done work on the building in the past.  Wayne asked if the building has been designated as a historical building since that would impact upon any repairs.  It was suggested that the front doors could be replaced with steel doors.  Peter stated that since they are not the original doors, this should be no problem.  Concern was expressed over getting out of the building in an emergency since it is difficult to open the doors.  Lynn informed the Board that should Mr. Boudreau not be interested in doing the work, Randy Fregeau from Sheldon has done this  type of work in the past. 

 

     Peter then updated the Board on problems with two leaks (near the chimney and front door) in the Library.  He stated the problem has been caused by ice backing up under the shingles.  He noted that the furnace room on the third floor is finished with sheet rock, but is very hot.  There are vents there, but he could not determine whether or not they are working and/or plugged.  He said the other side is not finished.  He asked members to take a look at the problems should they get over to the library to see what they think.  Peter will also have Richard Boudreau take a look at it.  The Board unanimously agreed that Peter should address these concerns with Richard.

 

     Old Town Garage: Peter asked members how they feel we should proceed on the old garage.  Discussion was held on the possibility of salvaging some of it ourselves to be used in the building of a new salt shed.  After discussing all possibilities, the Board unanimously agreed that the first step should be to see if there is anyone out there willing to pay the Town for the salvage rights to the building.  Peter will draw up and see that an ad is placed.  The Board suggested Buyer’s Digest and the Courier.   Sealed bids for the salvage will be opened at the next meeting which is presently scheduled for May 14, 2007.   If there are no takers, then the other options are seeking bids to tear down and remove the building or the town salvaging useable materials and then seeking bids to remove the remainder.  It was noted that Ron suggested we keep the cement and use it for parking, etc., but members agreed that it would break up over time and should be removed before that happens.

 

     Discussion was held on cold storage and Peter stated we might want to consider a cargo container.  Lynn described cold storage Swanton built off their salt shed.  It was noted we have about $17,000 for a salt shed and must stay on budget.  Peter noted that we have to go up there and decide where to locate the salt shed.  It was noted that there is a telephone cable buried there, but it is marked.  Peter stated we will have to pick a spot that is adequate for our needs while also keeping in mind the possibility that we may be required to build a sand building at some future time.

 

MEMBER CONCERNS:

 

     Website: Lynn stated that Polly sent her an e-mail asking if we could post minutes and meeting notices on the website.  It was noted that Janet Norcross has the website up and running and that minutes will be forwarded to her for posting.

 

     Dewing Road: Peter and Wayne have some concerns over the Dewing Road at the corner of the Towle Neighborhood Road.  Peter stated before it was paved, they went up there and agreed on how it was to be paved, but that plan was not followed when the actual paving was done.  Both Peter and Wayne feel that there should be reflectors or signs put up, perhaps the type used to mark a sharp curve.  They will also check to make sure that the stop sign is still there and, perhaps, consider double signs.  It was noted that residents who are familiar with the road know that the Dewing Road has the right-of-way, but it is very dark there and someone not familiar with it might not be aware of the sharp corner or of who has the right-of-way.  It was noted that Boy has ordered some signs and they just need to be put up.  Mention was also made of the fact  that we have many missing signs.

 

     Gravel: Discussion was held on gravel and our needs for the coming season.  Wayne noted that we had some rocks in the St. Pierre pit that we were not able to use as we have no crusher.  He stated that Leach is willing to swap load for load, a load of stone for a load of gravel.  It was noted it will be a good deal for the Town.  It was also noted there is a pit in Richford that might meet our needs and we have to go take a look at it.  Discussion was held on our plan to gravel roads and it was noted that road postings will be lifted on the 15th of May so that we should be able to start hauling after that date when the weather clears so the plows can be removed from the trucks.  It was also noted that the new truck needs to go in for some work and will probably be tied up for about a week. 

 

SELECTBOARD FOLDER:

 

     Zoning Administrator: Copy of letter he wrote to residents who are living year round in seasonal camps.

 

     ZBA Schedule: Peter noted they didn’t have enough people for a quorum last meeting.  Another meeting is scheduled for this Thursday night and Peter plans to attend. 

 

     Peter asked if members had anything else to discuss and there was nothing.  Motion by Wayne/Jamie to adjourn.  All members voted in favor.  Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

 

Respectfully submitted,

 

Barbara M. Varin

 

April 10, 2007

 

Note: These minutes are not final until approved by the Selectboard at their next regular meeting which is presently scheduled for May 14, 2007.  Note: These minutes were approved by the Selectboard at their May 14, 2007 meeting.

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