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News/Events - Meeting Minutes
Advisory Committee, October 11, 2006
OCTOBER 11, 2006
MEMBERS PRESENT: Tony Vegnani, Chairman; Constantine Constantinides; Paul Lemieux; Bob DeLorenzo; Peter Detwiler; Lisa Fenton; Kathy Donahue. MEMBERS NOT PRESENT: Richard Cook. ALSO PRESENT: Senior Center: Joan Wright, Richard Sherrell, Val Baker, Brendan Lynch; James Pollard, Board of Selectmen; Don Walter, Planning Board; Barbara Lydon; Doreen Close.
1.CALL TO ORDER. Chairman Tony Vegnani called the meeting to order at 7:00 P.M. in the Little Red Schoolhouse on Cudworth Lane.
2. ACCEPTANCE OF AGENDA. On a MOTION by Mr. Constantinides, SECONDED by Mr. Lemieux, the agenda was accepted as written by unanimous vote (7-0). Mr. Vegnani said that his understanding was that Articles 5 and 6 have been postponed. Ms. Wright said that they had not been advised that the Selectmen’s warrant, Article 5, had been pulled off until 6 this evening. She said that a citizen’s petition, Article 16, was kept on for this reason. This article is a request to borrow $1.6 million to supplement the $1.9 million for the Senior Center. She said that this is a borrow and not a debt exclusion. She asked what the cap is. Mr. Vegnani said that at the Financial Forecasting meeting he attended, he learned that this amount could not be borrowed without putting the Town in the red; therefore it would not be legal. Ms. Wright said that they have to be careful to retain the existing $1.9 million in the event that the $1.6 million is not passed. Mr. Vegnani said that under Article 5 the full $3.5 million would be a debt exclusion. Mr. Vegnani read Article 16 as written. Ms. Donahue explained that a vote would have to be taken to rescind the $1.6 million. Ms. Wright explained her concern with IPing this article, that costs will increase in the intervening time. Mr. Vegnani said that it would be fiscally irresponsible to go ahead with this. Mr. Vegnani said that the Advisory Committee would want to hear a full financial presentation. There was a discussion about the financing for this proposed project, and how a debt exclusion works. Ms. Fenton suggested Article 16 be written not as an amendment to Article 5. Mr. Sherrell said that the existing language was given to them by Mr. Agnew. Mr. Lemieux said that the $1.9 million is in the financial forecast; Mr. Pollard confirmed this. Ms. Donahue suggested a meeting between the Senior Center, Financial Forecasting, Advisory and the Selectmen so that this matter could be publicly discussed. Mr. Vegnani said that it is now too late to do this in time for the Special Town Meeting. Ms. Baker said that if it’s done in November it can be put out to bid immediately; if they have to wait the costs go up again. Mr. Vegnani said that it cannot be supported if it puts the Town in the red. Mr. Pollard said that it would not be wise to go forward with Article 16 as a citizen’s petition, as it would be a Town-owned building and you would have to have the support of Town boards. Mr. Vegnani agreed with this. Ms. Donahue suggested that Mr. Pollard and the Selectmen should put together this meeting as she suggested previously. Mr. Constantinides said that it should be done as a Selectmen’s meeting, inviting the various involved committees. Mr. Pollard said that Article 5 will be dealt with at the next Selectmen’s meeting. Ms. Lydon asked about the possibility of a community center. Mr. Vegnani said that it is not in the plans or in the articles. Ms. Wright said that such a plan was voted down at Town Meeting several years ago. Ms. Donahue said that the grant that would have supplemented the original $1.9 million would have limited the building as a senior center for five years, and the discussion had been that after that time the idea of a community center could be looked at; the grant was not received, so the building use does not have to be limited. Mr. Vegnani summarized by saying that it is not feasible to have a vote within 90 days so that it would make sense to IP Article 5. Previously he said that going forward with Article 16 without the support of the Selectmen and/or the Advisory Committee would be risky. He said that if necessary this article could be heard at an upcoming Advisory meeting. Mr. Vegnani also said that he would like to know how the sale of the existing building would affect the cost of the project. Ms. Wright said that the sale would reduce the amount needed for the project. Several Advisory members said that this would have to be included in the article wording. There was a discussion about the community center idea.
3. REVIEW AND VOTE ON ARTICLES FOR SPECIAL TOWN MEETING. Article 13: Historic or Traditional Architecture; Article 14: Third Floor Setback; Article 15: Off Street Parking. Ms. Close read a summary of backup she prepared to support the above articles.
Article 13: Mr. Vegnani read the article as written. Mr. Walter said that these articles will be heard at tomorrow evening’s Planning Board meeting. Ms. Close said that she has made a presentation to the Selectmen but that they will not vote without the Planning Board’s comments. Ms. Fenton asked to see the existing bylaw that this article proposes to amend; Mr. Vegnani said it would be important for the Advisory Committee to see it. Mr. Constantinides read from Zoning Bylaw Section 950(8). Mr. Constantinides observed that the intent is for this article to pertain to the overlay districts, but that it is not clear from the language for the article, it seems like it would pertain to the entire Town. He also commented that it may not be wise to continue to amend important bylaws; and said that he wishes to hear the Planning Board’s input because they would have to put this forth. He also said the Design Review Committee should have had an opportunity to review this. Ms. Donahue said that “scale” is important. Mr. DeLorenzo asked about the existing bylaws. Ms. Close said that she thinks the bylaws are antiquated, and that most historic towns like Scituate have much stronger bylaws. She said that she was disappointed in the Design Review Committee’s review of the Welch Company building. Mr. DeLorenzo said that things such as window style could be subjective. Ms. Fenton said that the timing has been problematic. She said that it is important that the goals are articulated so that the boards can support the articles. She also said that Planning and Design Review may wish to make some wording changes to make sure that the articles will have the “teeth” as intended. Mr. Detwiler said that he applauds Ms. Close’s efforts. Ms. Close said that she hopes that the articles do not get watered down in the process. Mr. Lemieux asked who makes the determination of what is historical. Mr. Vegnani said that he is concerned about the wording of the article; is Ms. Close the right person to be writing this article; he applauded her for her efforts but said that the support of the appropriate entities in Town would weigh more with the Advisory Committee. He said that he didn’t think it could be voted tonight. Ms. Donahue said that she would like to make it clear that the committee supports the article, so that this can be brought to the other committees and taken under consideration. Mr. Walter said that design review guidelines have to be looked at. He also said that the Harbor is eclectic and buildings have been built in different styles over time. Mr. Vegnani said that the wording of existing bylaws is very weak. Ms. Close asked for these articles to be heard again on October 26.
Article 14: Ms. Close said that the present height guidelines of 40 feet is a lot. Mr. Vegnani read the article, which makes an addition to Zoning Bylaw Section 620.1. She said the idea is to scale down buildings. Mr. Vegnani said that he is concerned that developers would be pushed to 40B with additional restrictions. He then retracted this comment.
Article 15: Ms. Close said that large projects are getting passed with only three votes for approval from Planning. She said that buildings with more than 5 parking spaces should require a special permit; not the site plan administrative review that is less stringent. Mr. Vegnani asked if Town Counsel had reviewed the new wording. He suggested that subsequent to tomorrow evening’s Planning Board meeting, the Town Administrator take these articles to Town Counsel to make sure that they actually do what they are intended to do. Ms. Fenton said that rewording will be necessary to achieve the desired result. Again, the committee said they will vote on this after the Planning Board has made its comments.
4. OLD BUSINESS. Mr. Vegnani went over the remaining articles to be heard. He said that the map for Article 10 is wrong. Ms. Donahue went over the recent history. Ms. Fenton said that other boards will be looking at current business zoning districts as well ask the overlay district. Mr. Vegnani also went over the articles that need to be heard again and voted on. He also said that the committee is still short a member.
5. NEW BUSINESS. Mr. Vegnani said the next Advisory meetings will be held the next two Thursdays.
6. ADJOURNMENT. On a MOTION by Mr. Lemieux, SECONDED by Mr. DeLorenzo, and voted unanimously by all present, the meeting was adjourned at 8:52 PM.
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