By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Selectboard heard from Town Administrator Mark Rees at its meeting on 1/13/20, that the developer for the Rogers School project has reached another condition of the purchase and sale agreement.
Mr. Rees asked the board to accept plans submitted, although the plans were not exactly as specified in the P&S. Complete plans of the premises were to be submitted at this stage. Mr. Rees said that the plans he received were not construction plans, per se, which are massive, mechanical drawings, but are pretty comprehensive.
At this stage, said Mr. Rees, the schematics submitted show a “doable project” consistent with what the developer said he would do. He recommended that the board accept the plans.
Susan Loo, a member of the Rogers School Study Committee, said she met with Mr. Rees, Town Planner Paul Foley, Town Counsel Tom Crotty, to review the plans and the committee felt they were sufficient.
Selectboard member Daniel Freitas, who is the board’s representative on the committee, agreed that the schematics were sufficient for this stage in the process. He said, however, that “somewhere down the line,” he expected to see those massive mechanical plants.
“I don’t want a massive re-do,” he said.
Mr. Rees said there were many more milestones to come, and those plans would be forthcoming at a future stage.
The next milestone is for the developer to show that he has the financial backing for the project. He must show that by 1/23/20.
The board voted to accept the schematics, showing the developer complied with section 2A of the P&S. Mr. Freitas and Selectboard chairperson Charles K. Murphy, Sr., vote yes. Board member Bob Espindola was not at the meeting.
In another matter, the board briefly discussed the draft vehicle use policy, which would regulate how employees use town vehicles assigned to them. Some positions, such as building inspector and health agent, have town vehicles assigned to them because those jobs require driving to locations for inspections.
Employees are allowed to drive cars home in case they need to get to an emergency on off hours.
At the crux of the issue is whether or not it is more cost efficient to pay mileage for the use of a personal vehicle for emergencies, and to require the employee to leave the car at a town property; or if it costs less to pay gas/commuting costs for the town car to be driven back and forth to the employee’s home.
Mr. Freitas said he wanted to see how many times the employees who have town cars are actually required to use them for emergencies on off hours, except for the fire and police, he said.
Mr. Rees will get more information, including an inventory of cars and how they have been used, and the matter will be discussed at a future meeting.
The board tabled a discussion of a change to the town’s health insurance eligibility policy. The change only allow a person to be on the town’s retirement health insurance if the employee had been on the plan at the time of retirement. Mr. Rees was looking for preliminary approval, the policy will have to be approved by the union. Mr. Murphy is on the town’s health insurance plan, so the matter was tabled until Mr. Espindola can be at the meeting.
The board also agreed to set up a public hearing for Casey Boat/ Fairhaven Shipyard, which wants to construct a floating dock in the town-owned lobster basin at Union Wharf.
Mr. Rees said there is a dispute as to who has ownership of the waterway and the bulkhead there. He said the town wants to appeal a decision, but before the town can appeal, they need to hold a public hearing. He would not go into detail because it is an executive session item.
The board approved the call for a public hearing. The date was not set at that meeting.
The board also heard from Harbormaster Timothy Cox who was asking for approval to ask the Army Corps of Engineers for permission to place signs in the harbor, letting boaters know that the east side is Fairhaven. He said he wants to place “Welcome to Fairhaven” signs and no wake signs.
Mr. Cox told the board that everyone who enters the harbor knows it as New Bedford Harbor. He wans people to know that the east side is Fairhaven.
“There is a process,” said Mr. Cox, that they have to go through.
The town will have to pay for the signs, but the Corps has to approve it.
The board also approved April 26 for the annual West Island 5K, including the non-fee us of Hoppy’s Landing for parking.
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