Preston Board of Selectmen - DOC by benbenzhou


									Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

                              Preston Board of Selectmen
                                   Regular Meeting
                                  September 18, 2008

Selectmen Present: Robert Congdon, Michael Sinko and Gerald Grabarek.
Selectmen Absent: None
Guests: Rosemary Rheaume (Recording Secretary), Chester Sajkowicz, Andrew
Bilodeau, Norm Gauthier, Mike Clancy, Kent Borner, Bob Payette, Sandy Ewing, Rich
Chalifoux (Residents), Joe Selinger (Tobin Carberry),

1st Selectman Congdon called the meeting to order at 6:30 p.m.

1. Jane Dauphinais (SECCOG) – Affordable Housing:
(Two Handouts provided the 1st on Affordable Housing and the 2nd a Schedule of
Maximum Affordable Gross Rent and Income Levels)
Jane Dauphinais of SECCOG (Southeastern Connecticut Housing Alliance) addressed the
Board regarding affordable housing.
In CT extra zoning rights for developers in towns that have less than 10% of their total
housing designated as affordable. Preston is at 3.7%. If a development is proposed it can
only be denied to protect substantial public interests in health, safety or public interests
that outweigh the need for affordable housing.
With only 3.7% of Preston’s housing designated as affordable Preston needs an additional
125 units to be exempt from CGS 8-30g.
CGS 8-30g states that a developer needs to make 30% of a development affordable
providing exemption from many zoning regulations.
A developer could develop 416 units with 30% or 125 units deemed affordable.
Once you add 1,500 units of housing to the former Norwich State Hospital property then
you would be short 275 units of affordable housing.
If affordable housing is not incorporated into the Norwich State Hospital property
proposal the Town is vulnerable to a developer for 917 additional units.
1st Selectman Congdon stated it is a concept we need to be aware of.
We are in negotiations based on the development proposal that was presented.
Very sensitive, don’t want it construed that we are changing the rules or anything else.
We where aware of this. We would like the conversion to be affordable housing all over
the town..
Ms. Dauphinais noted in defense that this is not the only reason to do this.
This is not low-income housing, it is affordable housing.
Selectman Sinko asked about area?
Ms. Dauphinais noted that HUD designates everything.
HUD stipulates the Norwich and New London numbers.
1st Selectman Congdon asked if Preston were to work with a developer to build a housing

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

Ms Dauphinais noted that the state has funded a program.
1st Selectman Congdon noted a developer could come in right now and circumvent
zoning using CGS 8-30g.
Selectman Grabarek asked the price of affordable housing? What would be the rental?
Ms. Dauphinais noted it depends on a number of things.
HUD sets the formula for market rates.
Section 8 vouchers are used.
Several questions were asked regarding whether primary residences are only used, do they
include summer rentals and timeshares?
Ms. Dauphinais would have to check on summer rentals and timeshares.
The number of houses deemed affordable is a published number.
There is a relatively new program, which encourages towns to do an overlay zone. This
zone requires a minimum of 20% affordable housing. The benefit to the town is the state
will provide the town with financial benefits in the form of a one-time payment.
A $50,000 planning grant is available to the Town to use on developing this.
Ms. Dauphinais can work with the Town Planner on applying for the grant.
Selectman Grabarek asked how you get builders to build affordable housing?
Ms. Dauphinais noted that is one of the reasons for the program.
Selectman Sinko noted that there are problems with no municipal water and sewer.
Ms. Dauphinais felt that Preston and North Stonington have a built-in rental market with
casino workers.
Norm Gauthier asked if Preston has affordable housing regulations?
Selectman Sinko stated that regulations for affordable housing have been included in the
Planning & Zoning regulations.
Ms. Dauphinais encouraged working with any prospective developer to work with
affordable housing keeping it planned and under the Town control.
1st Selectman Congdon noted that a no strings attached grant would be good for the town.
Ms. Dauphinais noted that rental housing is the biggest demand. Any housing would
cause significant changes to school enrollment. She would be eager to work with the
Town Planner and Planning & Zoning Commission on this in more detail.
The 1st Selectman noted that it would be the Planning & Zoning Commission decision as
to what they want to do.

2. Acceptance of Previous Meeting Minutes:
September 11, 2008 – Regular Meeting:
A motion was made by M. Sinko and seconded by G. Grabarek to approve the minutes of
the September 11, 2008 Regular Meeting as presented. So Voted

Unfinished Business:
1. Norwich Hospital Property:
NHAC members reviewed the Shipman & Goodwin bill last evening.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

A motion was made by G. Grabarek and seconded by M. Sinko that the Board authorizes
payment of the Shipman & Goodwin bill in the amount of $119,843.50 from the
Northland funds. So Voted

The 1st Selectman reported that the negotiating team met Tuesday with the Northland
representatives from 1 p.m. to 3:15 p.m.
Another meeting is planned for next Tuesday.
The Norwich Hospital Advisory Committee met last evening and the entire Committee
was brought up to date on negotiations.
Norm Gauthier noted a newspaper account that Northland would be seeking a zone
change. He asked if there was any attempt by Northland to link the zone change to the
development agreement?
1st Selectman Congdon stated that a letter from Attorney Tobin to the Town Planner is
part of the public record.
The Chairman of Planning & Zoning directed the Town Planner to contact the attorney
that the Commission uses. The Commission will also have a meeting shortly.
Mike Clancy asked if a zone change is approved and the development does not go thru
does the zone change go away?
Selectman Sinko stated that a zoning change can’t be made contingent on a development
proposal. A zone change is a zone change.

2. Replacement of Town Hall Roof – Status report:
The 1st Selectman reported that the Committee is still working on why the roof is leaking
and to see if repairs can be made.
Chester Sajkowicz had provided a newspaper article from 1995 regarding faulty shingles
for review.

1. Ethic’s Commission Final Decision on Complaint of Eleanor Miller against P/Z
Member, Ed Fleming:
The Ethics Commission has provided a final report to the Board.

2. Post Office @ Preston Market (Route 2):
Hattie Wucik, Leslie Kornosewicz and the 1st Selectman had been working with Joe
Courtney’s office to get a post office substation in Preston. A lease has just been signed
with Preston Market to locate one there.
A letter will be sent to Mr. Courtney thanking him for his assistance.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

New Business:
1. Employee Handbook of Policy & Procedures – Emergency Closing of Town
Facilities (under the jurisdiction of the Board of Selectmen) during Inclement
The 1st Selectman reported that in the past the Town Clerk has closed her office when she
felt the inclement weather was too dangerous for her staff.
 A notation is needed in the handbook that the Town Clerk can close her office during
inclement weather at her discretion. The office is an elected position.

A motion was made by M. Sinko and seconded by G. Grabarek that the Employee
Handbook of Policy & Procedures is amended that the Town Clerk can close her office
during inclement weather at her discretion. So Voted

2. Tax Refund (s):
A motion was made by G. Grabarek and seconded by M. Sinko that the Board of
Selectmen refunds the sum of $1,463.97 to Terry Shawn for overpayment of taxes.
So Voted

A motion was made by G. Grabarek and seconded by M. Sinko to waive onto the agenda
Crary Farm Building. So Voted
Crary Farm Building:
The 1st Selectman reported that Lynnwood Crary is building a pole barn as part of his
farming operation. The Building Inspector considers it a commercial permit and issued
the cost of the permit based on the commercial fee of $16 per thousand.
The pole barn is being built with a grant from the State Department of Agriculture.
The calculated fee at commercial rates is $3,800 rather than the $6 per thousand for
residential. An individual can come in with documentation to lower the building fee.
Selectman Sinko asked why it was being treated as commercial rather than agriculture.
The 1st Selectman noted that our ordinance uses $6 per thousand for houses, barns,
specifically pole barns, chicken coops, greenhouses, etc.

Intent of the ordinance was to keep farms in town and not drive them out. Either the
Board of Selectmen needs to make a ruling as to the intent of the ordinance or take it to a
town meeting for clarification.
Norm Gauthier noted that that is one of the farms that the state bought the development
rights for.
Andrew Bilodeau asked if a vegetable stand is commercial? Are you opening a Pandora’s
Selectman Grabarek stated that he farms for a living and he doesn’t think this is
commercial. It’s a different way to make a living. Best thing to do is call a Special Town
meeting. The building fees have not been updated in a number of years.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

The 1st Selectman suggested that they ask the Building Inspector to review building fees
in other towns and what rates are in preparation for a town meeting so that the building
fees can be updated. The report is requested in two weeks.

A motion was made by M. Sinko and seconded by G. Grabarek that the Building
Inspector report to the Board in two weeks on what building fees are in other towns as
compared to Preston’s fees. So Voted

A motion was made by G. Grabarek and seconded by M. Sinko that the Board allows
Lynwood Crary to move forward with the construction of a pole barn and pay the $6 per
thousand-construction fee. So Voted

Andrew Bilodeau commented that the Building Inspector has recommended a fee of $16
per thousand, I don’t know why you don’t go by her recommendations rather than your

A motion was made by M. Sinko and seconded by G. Grabarek to waive onto the agenda:
Rich Chalifoux of Poquetanuck Fire Department. So Voted
Poquetanuck Fire Department:
Rich Chalifoux stated that the Fire Department is in need of office space. There is only
one office being used by everyone.
The plan is to use some space as there is no more bingo for three offices, one for the Fire
Department, one for EMS and the last for the Administration including the Fire Chief/
Fire Marshal, Resident Troopers and paid fire personnel.
Medicare will allow funding for 1/3 of the project ($8,300) with EMS Capital Fund.
He is requesting the Town fund 1/3 which is $8,300. The planned renovations are not
eligible for LoCIP funds. The department members will be doing the majority of the
The 1st Selectman suggested that the Board see if the Fire Chief needs office space at the
Fire House and if so a recommendation can be made to the Board of Finance for funds.
Norm Gauthier asked what he does for office space now?
1st Selectman Congdon noted he uses a home office but all his records are stored at town

3. Mike Clancy (resident) – Public Comment and behavior of Boards, Commissions
and Committees:
At this time Mike Sinko recused himself from the meeting.
Mike Clancy addressed the Board regarding uniform conduct of members of the various
Boards & Commissions, in particular the NHAC meeting of 8/20/08.
He is not here to make a complaint but he felt that the Co-Chairmen of the NHAC were
rude and he felt that he was being censored.
He is requesting that the Board of Selectmen write a code of conduct.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

Mr. Clancy also requested that the board ask the Ethics Commission to add a section on
complaints and investigation proceedings.
Mr. Clancy attends a number of meetings since public comment started and feels very
comfortable at the Board of Selectmen meetings. He does not however feel comfortable
at the NHAC meetings. Even if members are under a lot of stress there was no need for
the why he was treated.
The Ethics Commission suggested he come to the Selectmen with his concerns even
though the Board of Selectmen are members of the NHAC.
Mr. Clancy provided the Board with what he considered problems at NHAC meetings.
He felt that people should not be disrespectful. The night in question several members of
the NHAC were scheduled to give testimony at an Ethics Commission hearing. The
meeting started late because not enough members were present. The Town Ordinance
states that Public Comment can only be deleted for a reason, which must be provided.
The public comment period is supposed to be 15 minutes by ordinance.
Janet Clancy noted that the Town Employee handbook has a section on proper conduct,
which could be incorporated.
Both Selectmen noted that as a Board they can provide how the public is to be treated to
appointed members but not elected members.
Mike Clancy stated that the Board was dancing around the issue. He would like a simple
code of conduct written by the Board of Selectmen.
Mike Clancy requested that the Board write a letter to the Ethics Commission asking
them to revise their charge to include complaints.
The 1st Selectman noted that the NHAC is a group of volunteers who have put in a large
amount of time. He could understand how a committee member could become frustrated.
Mr. Clancy felt that there is a problem and it needs to be remedied.
Norm Gauthier had helped write the town ordinance for public comment and get it
He always felt the Board of Selectmen’s meetings were excellent already.
The NHAC is a temporary Committee and it sounds like Mr. Clancy is owed an apology.
Mike Clancy stated that he went to a Board of Selectmen meeting and no public comment
was on agenda.
Although he started a petition to have public comment again he didn’t submit it.
1st Selectman Congdon noted that there was a period of time when public comment was
removed from the agenda as certain individuals were using it to conduct discovery.
The Board of Selectmen is much different from the other Boards & Commissions.
Right now the NHAC is working on a development agreement in executive session
because it is impossible to negotiate an agreement in the newspaper.
Public Comment is more limited on other Boards & Commissions due to public hearings,
open applications, statutes, etc.
Selectman Grabarek suggested a letter to all Boards & Commissions reminding them to
treat the public with respect. He is not in favor of the Ethics Commission taking on
complaints. Lack of respect is not an ethics issue.
Mike Clancy felt that the Ethics Commission was the logical place to bring it.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

Maybe a mediation process which takes the burden of the Board of Selectmen.
1st Selectman Congdon also felt that the Ethics Commission was not the place.
The Ethics Commission has plenty to do already.
Respect – disrespectful is so subjective.
Mike Clancy asked if he can ask the Ethics Commission if they will entertain this when
updating their guidelines?
Bob Payette, chairman of the Ethics Commission stated that the Ethics Commission is
looking at some changes. Setting up an arbitration process – pre-compliant to see if an
issue can be resolved pre-legal. He tended to think this is not an ethics issue. He would
think it was more of a Board of Selectmen issue not an ethical issue.
He would not want to see the Ethics Commission a catch all for all problems.
Mike Clancy stated so if the Ethics Commission doesn’t want to take it so that’s just the
way it is.
The two Selectmen agreed that a letter could be sent as to treatment of the public to all
Boards and Commissions.
Mike Clancy asked if he could get a copy and when will it be sent?
1st Selectman Congdon thought it would go out within the week.
Norm Gauthier who is also an Ethics Commission member noted that if it was added to
the Ethics Commission charge they would try to address it but it is extremely difficult.
Mike Clancy suggested that it sounded like the Ethics Commission didn’t want to take
this on. He hopes it won’t happen again.
Norm Gauthier noted that it should not be with the Ethics Commission the place is the
election booth.
Andrew Bilodeau stated that he listened to this and obviously the executive body missed
an important opportunity with the Selectman reclusing himself from the room.
It was disappointing for him not to hear how public wants to be treated.
There is a set policy, which is posted, set the ground rules at the beginning of the meeting.
Hope the Board of Selectman reaffirm Public Comment & Post it.
Provide agendas at meetings and make it available should they choose to be allowed to
participate in Town Government
The 1st Selectman noted that Mike Sinko was at the Ethics Commission meeting and he
recused himself from this meeting so that Mr. Clancy could feel free to openly discuss the
He is very aware of Mr. Clancy’s concerns and acknowledged that there was a problem.
Kent Borner noted that usually when you recuse yourself you leave the meeting.

Appointments and/or Resignations:

Correspondence Received/Sent Out: For Review:
   1. Letter from legislature concerning Public Hearing for Pilot Funds.
   2. Thank-you from Lucille Thoma.
   3. Letter from CCM that ATT must notify towns of placement of large cable boxes.

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Board of Selectmen
Regular Meeting
September 18, 2008

     4. Letter from Andrew Bilodeau regarding the fennel to be replaced on the top of the
        old library.
     5. Covanta is celebrating the 250 millionth ton at the incinerator with a luncheon.

Public Comment and Questions:
Mike Clancy stated that the rules posted for public comment are not the actual ordinance
and that the actual ordinance should be posted.
Rich Chalifoux asked about the procedure to close the road between the firehouse and
Preston Community Park during the open house scheduled for 10/18/08?
The 1st Selectman will provide him with the information needed.
Bob Payette asked how the Selectmen stand on the recycling center proposal for the
incinerator property?
1st Selectman Congdon noted that there are actually two proposals.
The 1st by SCRRRA is a single stream recycling facility. They did come before Planning
& Zoning to see if it was a permitted use.
Legal Counsel for Planning & Zoning opinioned no and they have not been back with an
The 2nd is by Covanta has stated that they would be willing to build one on the incinerator
property and the CT. Sitting Council would have control.
We have seen no plans for either and how it would effect neighbors, Route 12, etc.
Mike Clancy asked about taxes?
1st Selectman stated that if Covanta built it there would be a payment in lieu of taxes,
(pilot payment)
Andrew Bilodeau asked the status of a newsletter to share information?
1st Selectman Congdon stated that there have been some talks regarding it and
encompassing all agencies. Research is ongoing.

The motion for adjournment was submitted, seconded and approved at 8:36 p.m.

_________________             __________________             _______________
Robert Congdon                Gerald Grabarek                Michael Sinko

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