Present: Ketcham, Pemberton, Takacs
Also present: 16 members of the public and a representative of the Redding Pilot.
First Selectman Ketcham called the July 15, 2013 meeting to order at 7:30 pm.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
Motion: move to approve the minutes of the June 17, 2013 meeting as submitted. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
DISCUSSION OF PROPOSED LEASH ORDINANCE
Paul Degener, Chairman of the Park & Recreation Commission, presented a proposal from the Commission for a Town Ordinance requiring that dogs be leashed while at Topstone Park and on other town-owned properties. He cited the problems at Topstone Park with unleashed dogs bounding out of the woods into the parking area or driveway scaring young children. The Park & Recreation Commission is concerned about the potential danger to young children and others. The Topstone Beach staff and P & R staff addressed the issue with the dog owners, but many have ignored the “leash” regulation. A Park regulation states that dogs must be leashed, but there is no legal means of enforcement. The number of dog walkers, from Redding and surrounding communities, has increased over the last few years.. A town ordinance would provide a means of enforcement by the Redding Police & Animal Control Officer. Mr. Degener suggested an ordinance be created that would apply to Topstone and all town-owned properties, with enforcement where needed.
The Selectmen were in agreement that an ordinance, if created, should be limited to Topstone Park at this time. The situation could be monitored, and future consideration could be given to expanding the ordinance to include other property.
Rob Blick, Director of the Park & Recreation Department, and Rory O’Donnell, head lifeguard for Topstone Beach, provided additional information why the ordinance would be helpful at the beach. The goal of the ordinance is to get people to comply with the leash regulation to encourage the right behavior so that all visitors can enjoy and be safe.
Jeanne Wendschuh, Deer Spring Road: Mrs. Wendschuh commented that the life guards are on duty for the protection of the swimmers, not to oversee dog walkers and unleashed dogs.
James Miller, Middlebrook Pond Road: Mr. Miller asked about the use of the park by non-residents. Mr. Blick responded that Topstone Park is open to the public for use of the trails, the Topstone Beach is available for use by permit. Dogs are not permitted on the beach during the summer season for health reasons. There is also a dedicated dog area away from the beach area.
The sample ordinance will be forwarded to Town Counsel for preparation of a draft ordinance for consideration at the August meeting.
DISCUSSION OF SOLARIZE CONNECTICUT PILOT PROGRAM
Susanne Krivit, Chairman of the Redding Clean Energy Task Force, addressed the Selectmen regarding a program designed to increase the number of residences with installations of solar panels. Redding has an opportunity to participate in the program with the towns of Easton and Trumbull. The program has been developed by CEFIA (Connecticut Energy Finance and Investment Authority) formerly the Clean Energy Fund. The goal is to offer incentives that will increase the number of installations by smaller companies.
Ms. Krivit added that she had solar panels installed at her home with a lease program in 2009. She pays $78/month on a fifteen year lease and generates more electricity than she uses. If the town participates in the program, the Clean Energy Task Force would be tasked with publicizing the program over a 3-month period. She would also engage other residents with solar panels to assist with getting information to the public.
James Miller, Middlebrook Pond Road: Mr. Miller asked that information on the purchase versus lease program be made available to the public.
The Selectmen were in support of the program. Mrs. Ketcham suggested that owners of properties in town with solar panels contact the Selectmen’s office.
METRO NORTH TRAIN HORN BLOWING
Mrs. Ketcham has had correspondence from a resident regarding the Metro North Train horn blowing near the West Redding train station. Currently the train whistle blows 4 times entering and leaving the station on the northbound run. Mrs. Ketcham noted that by state statute, the Commissioner of Transportation may regulate the blowing of the train horn. She suggested contacting the Commissioner of Transportation for a review to determine if the horn blowing is following the established protocol.
Motion: move that the Redding Board of Selectmen request that the Commission of Transportation, per CT Statute 13b 334, evaluate the horn blowing by Metro North at the West Redding train facility. Ketcham, Takacs. Approved. Unanimous.
The resident also requested a “quiet zone” in the area of the crossing near the West Redding train station. Mrs. Ketcham reported she had completed a review of the procedure and process involved in creating a “quiet zone” and found it to be complex, with no funding available, and an estimated cost of $3million to $4 million dollars. In addition to the main crossing requiring specialized gates and there is another existing crossing to a residence in the area that would require specialized gates.
A third request asked for a stoppage of all freight trains in the early hours and evening hours. Mrs. Ketcham will request that the Commissioner on Transportation respond to that issue. Information on the number of freight trains and the traveling speed would be helpful.
DISCUSSION OF TOWN MEETING NOTIFICATION SURVEY
The Selectmen discussed the best way to get information from town residents regarding their preferred means of notification of special town meetings. A short survey will be prepared for the town’s website. The survey will ask residents if they prefer to receive notification by email, website, phone call or post card. The estimated costs involved with the phone call and post card system will be included. The survey will also ask about the specific type of notification for various levels of expenditure being requested at the town meeting. The overall goal is to determine how to reach the residents and to increase resident participation.
One member of the audience suggested that the town establish two annual town meeting dates to discuss and approve large expenditures rather than addressing these needs as they come up. The Board of Selectmen took the suggestion under advisement.
DISCUSSION OF TOWN WEBSITE VIDEO
Mrs. Pemberton reported the video presentation is nearing completion. She will meet with the Town Clerk (Webmaster) to determine placement on the website. She expects the project to be completed in early September.
Motion: move to recess to executive session for a discussion of Police Union negotiations. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
Chief Fuchs was invited to be present.
The meeting recessed at 9:13 pm
The Chair reconvened the meeting at 10:10 pm
Motion: move that the Police union contract proposal as ratified by the union be rejected. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
Motion: move to adjourn the meeting. Takacs, Pemberton. Approved. Unanimous.
The meeting adjourned at10:14 pm.
Mary Maday, Recording Secretary