By Jean Perry, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on 10/19/20, the Fairhaven Selectboard met with Patrick Carr of A-1 Crane to sort out his complaint with the town over a cease and desist order he received from the former building commissioner. St the 10/6 meeting Mr. Carr said he had tried in vain to access executive session minutes and other information related to his industrial use of his property on Middle Street that the ZBA permitted back in 2013.
Mr. Carr showed the board police records showing over 30 complaints from just one abutter over the course of three months, which led to several late night/early morning police stakeouts of his property that could not prove noise disturbances alleged by the abutter.
Mr. Carr objected to Mr. Rees’s handling of the situation since the 10/6 meeting, and asked him why he would include other departments such as Conservation in his email response to Mr. Carr.
Mr. Rees simply stated that when addressing a complaint it is routine to include departments that might have jurisdiction and that he handled it in a comprehensive way.
“[I am] taken aback why he thinks that approach to … complaints is not the appropriate way to do it,” Mr. Rees said. “I did exactly what you’re supposed to do when you receive a complaint.”
Mr. Freitas allowed Mr. Carr more time than what was originally allotted to express his discontent. After some he time authorized Mr. Rees to continue to assist Mr. Carr by introducing the matter to the new building commissioner when he begins in two weeks and “begin his review with a set of fresh eyes.”
The board also met again with Nicholas Christy, owner of Nasketucket Bay Vineyards, and continued his public hearing for a farmer’s pouring license a second time. According to Mr. Rees, the interim building commissioner found a setback compliance problem that needs to be addressed before the board could vote on the license.
Mr. Christy said he was disappointed that the matter was not resolved in the timely manner he believed the board had promised him, but agreed to the continuance.
In other business, the board voted on the framework for a seven-member committee to assist in the search for the next town administrator. The board agreed that the third of the three options provided by hiring consultant Bernie Lynch of Community Paradigm Associates was the best composition of stakeholders to narrow the field of candidates down to a few finalists for the Selectboard to pick from.
The search committee will consist of one member from the Finance Committee, School Committee, and Planning Board, and each Selectboard member will be able to appoint one member of the community. The seventh member appointed will be a town employee.
Mr. Freitas said he preferred to have one actual Selectboard member sit on the search committee, and Mr. Espindola explained why he was disinclined to agree.
“We have the final say once it’s pared down,” said Mr. Espindola. adding that if a Selectboard member had a vote on the search committee and then later the final vote, “One person would get two bites at that apple.
Furthermore, he said, it would eliminate one opportunity for another person to have input.
A seven-member committee was how the town conducted its search for Mr. Rees, Fairhaven’s very first town administrator, in 2015.
“I think it worked very well,” said Mr. Espindola. “It’s an unfair advantage to have one [Selectboard member] have two bites at the apple. This town administrator position … [does not] just serve us; they’re serving the entire community….”
The board voted to select the option it discussed, but will deliberate the specifics involving whom they will each appoint during the next meeting.
Fairhaven has a new building commissioner now that the board has approved Mr. Rees’s appointment of Chris Carmichael to the position. Mr. Carmichael currently serves as the building commissioner for the Town of Norton and brings significant experience in zoning enforcement, inspections, as well as a history working as a contractor.
Mr. Rees said Mr. Carmichael’s experience serving on his local Zoning Board of Appeals made him more attractive to him as a candidate. He has also implemented an inter-department permitting system in Norton, which is a goal in Fairhaven.
Mr. Rees reported that there is a developer interested in purchasing the Rogers School property to create affordable elderly housing. The board voted to issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) to allow that developer — and any others — to submit proposals. Mr. Rees said the developer appears to have the wherewithal and experience to undertake the project.
There were no responses to the Town’s announcement that there was a vacancy on the Planning Board, therefore the Selectboard was unable to appoint a new member to replace Jay Simmons, who resigned from his seat several weeks ago. The Town will reissue a notice seeking interest from Fairhaven citizens willing to serve on the Planning Board and hopefully appoint a new member soon.
Support local journalism, donate to the Neighb News with PayPal.
Click here to download the entire 10/29/20 issue: 10-29-20 Foliage