Adams Selectmen Hosts Open Forum for Boards, Committees

By Dan GigliottiiBerkshires Correspondent
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The Adams Selectmen are hosting an open forum for the town's other public bodies its workshop meeting on Tuesday.

ADAMS, Mass. — Tuesday's Board of Selectmen workshop will be an all-boards meeting, a chance for town boards and committees to openly discuss important initiatives in the new year.

Aside from those designated as ad hoc, there are a total of 11 boards and committees listed on the town's website. Discussion at Tuesday's meeting will likely be focused around issues facing half of those official groups.

Town Administrator Jonathan Butler said there was no annual practice for a meeting of this nature but he thought it could be helpful to the new members on the Board of Selectmen. To his knowledge, this sort of forum has not been conducted for at least a couple years.

According to the attorney general's guide to Open Meeting Law, members of committees and boards may attend other governmental meetings "provided that they communicate only by open participation; however, they cannot deliberate at such gatherings."

It is not clear which other officials may attend or what may be discussed (the agenda lists is as "open forum") but a number of issues dealt with in the past year have spilled into 2014.

The outline of a new solar bylaw has garnered much of the attention of the Planning Board for several months, most recently at its last meeting on Dec. 23. The town's installation of a solar panel array on a landfill at 300 East Road and its subsequent initiative to promote the use of solar technologies among property owners through its designation as part of the statewide Solarize Mass initiative are good indicators that the solar bylaw will prove necessary in the coming years. Once the Planning Board finishes its bylaw draft, it will face the rigors of town government, including Selectmen approval and that of the Zoning Board of Appeals.

Furthermore, a disputed solar panel array proposal by a private company caused uproar among some town residents of late, who filed a legal complaint against the Adams ZBA on Dec. 18. The complaint was filed under the names of four residents — Shaun Sutliff, David Krzeminski, Edward Driscoll and Peter Lipka — on behalf of a group of over 20 property owners in the neighborhood of 217 East Road, the proposed site for the 1.5 megawatt, 6,500 panel photovoltaic installation.

The Conservation Commission is dealing with a complicated permitting process, as well, attempting to finalize plans for the development of a new trail system at Greylock Glen. Issues such as proper trail flagging or delineating caused disagreement between committee members and state representatives at its last meeting on Dec. 19 as to standard protocol, which must be addressed in order for the project to be approved.

New staff changes may also be addressed Tuesday, with a total of three hirings to be made including a newly-created position. Applications for a new building inspector were due on Dec. 30, 2013, following the official departure of David Pelletier.

The retirement of Thomas Satko, who served as director of the department of public works for 39 years, led to a vacancy in that position. Applications are being accepted for this position through Jan. 15.

A tourism director position has also been created, as a method of collaborating with other regional municipalities and organizations investing in the cultural economy and managing the growing number of projects intended to generate revenue and from a tourism sector which is currently thriving in the commonwealth. Deadline for applicants is Jan. 17.

The town's Capital Committee may report on its projected expenditures for fiscal year 2015. These projects are slated to include the appropriation of $150,000 in matching funds to fund a new train station as part of the Berkshire Scenic Railway project. All capital expenditures must eventually be approved by town meeting.

At a Selectmen meeting in December, Butler said the town is eyening a March date for a special town meeting to move forward with some of the aforementioned initiatives prior to annual town meeting that takes place in June.

Correction: An earlier version erroneously confused the DPW director post with another vacancy.

Tags: open forum,   Selectmen,   

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