The following is a recap from the Westford Board of Selectmen meeting for Sept. 16, 2014. For other parts of the meeting, click here.
For video of the meeting, head to westfordcat.org
7:30 p.m. – The meeting began with the Pledge of Allegiance, led by Bob Price.
In open forum, Town Manager Jodi Ross recognized Highway Department Superintendent Chip Barrett for his award from the American Public Works Association and also notified the town that the town’s new radio station, 1630 AM, is on the air.
Originally, the station was only used during emergencies, but Ross discussed with Ellen Harde about putting other things on the air related to the town during non-emergencies.
7:32 p.m. – The board then went to a transference of a Wine and Malt Section 15 Retail Package Store License for the Tedeschi at 64 Brookside Road.
Attorney Michael Bonenfant represented the man seeking to acquire the license, Mizanur Rahman.
Bonenfant said Tedeschi’s will not enter into agreements until licenses are given by local boards, and he gave other details about Rahman’s preparations getting into the Tedeschi location.
Mizanur used to run the Tedeschi’s on Main Street and Bonenfant said there would not be a significant amount of difference from before.
There was a roll call vote since Selectman Scott Hazelton was attending by phone, Chairwoman Andrea Peraner-Sweet notified the crowd about this.
The vote was unanimous.
7:35 p.m. – Peraner-Sweet then noted the continuation of determining dates for the three day license suspension at Evviva Cucina and Westford Market and Liquors.
This delay was due to ongoing ABCC deliberations on the matter.
The issue will be heard again on Sept. 30.
7:36 p.m. – The Selectmen then went to the item of public comments regarding the former Graniteville Fire Station.
At the Selectmen’s recent meetings, they declared the fire station to be surplus property and agreed to requests by neighbors to brainstorm on what to do with the property.
Peraner-Sweet emphasized that nothing has been determined yet on what to do with the building.
Jodi Ross indicated that this neighborhood group was different than a task force that had been established on the 10 North Main Street property.
Peraner-Sweet talked about the request from Westford Veterans’ Agent Terry Stader and his idea to donate the property to the adjacent American Legion post.
Specifically, she was told by town counsel the town cannot donate the property.
Jodi Ross explained that under the law, a request for proposals must be given for any property appraised over $35,000. The Graniteville property is far above that.
The property doesn’t have to be sold at face value, but a reason must be given and a sale below face value is subject to a Town Meeting vote.
Jane Calvin of 64 Broadway Street then began to talk about the meeting.
She said 30 people showed up and a dozen were in attendance at the Board of Selectmen meeting.
During the meeting, Calvin said that the residents wanted the building to remain standing, as much had been lost. However, she also asked for more time and then talked about some ideas for how the building could be used.
She also noted that since the neighborhood meeting, several firemen had come forward to talk about possibly using the property as a museum.
Darlene Winn of 3 Cross St. came to the microphone next.
Winn’s driveway is part of the fire station and she asked that be taken into account when determining what be done with the property.
An unnamed person in the audience asked what would be done from here, Jodi Ross and Peraner-Sweet said that nothing would happen in October’s Town Meeting and that a transfer would require Town Meeting’s approval.
Peraner-Sweet asked Selectmen Don Siriani and Hazelton for their views.
Hazelton asked if it would be appropriate for town staff to determine if the septic system is viable.
Jodi Ross said she talked to the Board of Health and that the septic system would not allow the property to become a residence, but she could investigate more to see if it would be appropriate to make it into a commercial or community use.
Hazelton said that should be noted as certain purposes require more water than others.
Peraner-Sweet also noted that the zoning in the area was important regarding the decision.
Siriani said he was happy with the process so far. He was at the meeting and said it was treated as an initial meeting and it was a success because it gathered input.
Selectman Kelly Ross said he was pleased to see a list of possible uses, specifically since in many similar cases, neighbors are not as flexible.
Peraner-Sweet was pleased the neighbors were dedicated to the process and then reminded everyone there is no time pressure and it was best to allow the neighbors to determine their thought processes on what should be done for the property.
She asked them to come back in roughly a month for a preliminary plan moving forward.
It will be next discussed at the first Board of Selectmen’s meeting after Fall Town Meeting, Oct. 28.
Town Moderator Ellen Harde reminded the neighbors that the warrant had to be put together for Annual Town Meeting in January.
Calvin then mentioned a possible easement and that there had been some discussion over things discussed by Hazelton such as the septic system.
Michael Perron of 55 Broadway Street said it might be helpful to the residents to walk through the building.
Peraner-Sweet said it would be possible to do that.
Siriani then said if he read the town counsel’s notice correctly that the town can set the Request for Proposals.
He also noted that the neighbors are appreciative of work on 12 North Main Street, which is also in Graniteville.
Stacey Perron of 55 Broadway Street asked for more information by the next neighborhood meeting.
Jodi Ross said she would do what she could, but there is no current funds appropriated for renovation.
Perron and Ross also talked about assessments on the property.