Board of Selectmen Meeting
Monday, August 20, 2018
Town Hall Hearing Room, 7:30 p.m.
Present: Julia Pemberton, First Selectman; Peg O’Donnell, Selectman; Michael Thompson, Selectman.
Also present: Michele Grande, Town Clerk; members of the Redding Police Department, members of the public; videographers; reporters.
1. Call to Order
First Selectwoman Pemberton called the meeting to order at 7:33 p.m.
2. Swearing in ceremony for interim Chief O’Donnell
Town Clerk Michele Grande swore in Chief O’Donnell. There was a brief congratulatory break in the meeting that reconvened at 8:08 p.m.
3. Approval of Minutes
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to approve the 7/23/18 Meeting Minutes as corrected: Page 1, heading, change “Redding Community Center” to “Town Hall Hearing Room.”
4. Station Road Bridge Project
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to change “Stepney Road” to “Station Road.”
John Wengell of WMC was present. He described the super structure replacement and stated that the replacement cost is approximately $400,000. If the choice is made to obtain grant money from the state, a full replacement will be required at a cost of $1.4 million and a construction period of four months. Julia Pemberton stated that there is money for this project in the LoCIP fund.
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted unanimously to utilize the LoCIP funds to replacement the Station Road bridge super structure.
5. Redding Life Care LLC (Meadow Ridge) Tax appeal 2017 Grand List
Julia Pemberton stated that Redding Life Care LLC is appealing taxes based on the new valuation. An engagement letter from Attorney Elliot Pollack proposes an increase in hourly fees effective next year. Current tax appeal and paralegal fees and the impact of higher fees need to be analyzed before further discussion.
The status of the 2012 appeal was reviewed.
6. Eversource Transmission Projects (2 projects): Discussion and follow up to August 13 community meeting:
-Redding to Wilton Project (1470 line)
-Peaceable substation to Archers Lane substation (1565 line)
Samantha Sojka was present from Eversource. J. Pemberton reviewed the document distributed at the 8/9/18 community meeting regarding the replacement of 26 utility poles with weathered steel replacements. The first part of the project entails maintenance in the Eversource right-of-way.
Joe Dolan, Windy Hill Road, stated that residents have not received notice from Eversource. He noted that if higher poles are installed, the wires will also be higher and will impact the landscape. He stated the need for a 30-day comment period and proper notification. Mr. Dolan questioned the factual basis for requiring a pole that is 4-feet higher.
John Gabriel, Windy Hill Road, stated that the process is disingenuous and is being conducted under the guise of maintenance. He also stated there are potential negative consequences on property value.
Brenda Phelps, Indian Hill Road, is concerned about the landscape and wetlands. She noted that flagging of areas was done in March and questioned why the project is being pushed through so quickly.
David Pattee, Pine Mountain Road, questioned why Eversource cannot furnish final plans if the project is ready to commence. Julia Pemberton stated that Eversource is not a public entity and therefore is not subject to Freedom of Information Act. Ms. Pemberton stated that a packet is received when the project is filed with the Siting Council.
Mr. Dolan asked the Board of Selectmen to engage Town Counsel to notify the Siting Counsel that we need additional time before the project begins.
Caroline Baker, Indian Hill Road, questioned the obligation of Eversource in maintaining roads. J. Pemberton encouraged Ms. Baker to also discuss this at the neighborhood meeting. Mr. Gabriel stated that curbs have been damaged.
On the motion of M. Thompson and the second of P. O’Donnell, the Board voted to hire counsel to assess the current status and project procedure. Julia Pemberton abstained.
M. Thompson stated that the hope is that Eversource will provide the town the information needed to work together.
7. Fracking ordinance: proposed update
Kelly Harran was present. She explained that the update give police the ability to enforce the ordinance, CSG 7-148. Ms. Harran will provide additional information where the amendment fits in the ordinance and what penalty/action the police will be taking. After the additional information is received, Town Counsel will be requested to review it.
a. WPCC: Layne letter
J. Pemberton stated a response from Layne is pending.
b. Pocahontas Road paving request update
Planning is awaiting responses from residents and police re: paving.
Scheduled road work is running late due to weather.
9. Public comment
Mr. Dolan and Mr. Gabriel commended the Board for engaging counsel quickly re: Eversource.
10. Other business
On the motion of P. O’Donnell and the second of M. Thompson, the Board voted unanimously to adjourn the meeting at 9:13 p.m.
Kristi C. Reilly