12 February 2001 | Approved: 12 March 2001
Mayor John Compton called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. In attendance were Councilors Darrell Anderson, Dave Gumula, Paris Pacchione, Nick Suzich (for Ridge Road fields discussion only), Dodie Tippens, and Allen Winter. Many Town residents were present to learn about recent developments surrounding the sale of the Casey fields on Ridge Road to a developer.
Mayor Compton announced that the Casey Trust has sold their 60-acre residential parcel bordering Ridge Road to developer Sami Totah. John said that he and a small group including Ann Briggs, Clare Cavicchi, Charlie Challstrom, Jim Leng and Allen Winter would be meeting with the developer and his representative on Friday, February 16. Concerned Town residents addressed the following points:
- Could the Town purchase all or part of the property?
- Who owns Ridge Road and can the Town prevent access onto Ridge Road from the development?
- Town should work with neighboring communities affected by this proposed development.
- Town should hire an attorney with expertise in land use issues.
- Town should have an attorney (land use attorney) present when meeting with developer.
- Investigate public use of Town parks in light of accepting Program Open Space funds.
- Consult with County planners about the development process.
- How much influence does the Town Master Plan wield with the County?
- Could we get a planted buffer strip deeded to the Town?
- Could the Town buy half the field and develop it the way we want?
- What is the best tool for communicating? Website, e-group list, telephone tree?
- Could the Town annex part or all of the property?
Mayor Compton said that a summary of the first meeting with the developer would be put on the website and available at the Town Office. The Mayor said that this first meeting would be strictly to gather information and that Town Attorney Bill Roberts didn’t think it was necessary for him (Roberts) to be present. Allen Winter suggested that a joint Town Council/Planning Commission meeting be held in early March.
Carol Uhlendorf announced Municipal Night at the Ballpark on Saturday, April 28 and the essay contest for 4th grade students "If I were Mayor I would . . . ".
Approval of Minutes
Paris Pacchione moved, Darrell Anderson seconded, that the Town Council minutes of January 8, 2001 be approved as corrected. Vote: 5-0.
Paris Pacchione moved, Dave Gumula seconded, that the Treasurer’s report for January be accepted. Vote: 5-0.
Mayor Compton announced the following:
- A jury unanimously ruled in favor of the Town, Ken McCathran, and Jim Fletcher as defendants in the liability suit brought by Joe and Mary Ann Adams. The plaintiffs claimed Town irresponsibly failed to remove a Town tree that later dropped a branch that injured Mrs. Adams. Legal proceedings continue, as the verdict has been appealed on procedural grounds.
- Received responses from affected upper Ridge Road residents objecting to renumbering of addresses. Propose that common private drive to new subdivision be given a name, allowing upper Ridge Road residents to keep their current street addresses.
- McCathran Hall window refurbishment completed. Kudos to Darrell Anderson and Allen Winter for their work on the project.
Michael Shipway presented the Website Committee’s plans for reactivating the site. They propose that Diana Talbert act as website coordinator and Michael Shipway, Freda Temple and Mimi Bolotin will work on content. The Committee would like to establish an e-group link by subscription, which would allow current and former residents to communicate easily on subjects of local interest. Michael said that he is preparing instruction sheets on how to put Town information on the web and would be willing to moderate the e-group. The Committee has many helpful and interesting topics to include on the website as time permits and participation grows. The Council appointed Diana Talbert to serve as Website Coordinator and Darrell Anderson agreed to serve as Council liaison to the Website Committee.
Darrell Anderson reported that he and Mayor Compton had interviewed Dan Landry for the position of Town Forester. Darrell said that they were very impressed with Mr. Landry’s credentials, knowledge and enthusiasm and, with the Council’s permission, would like to offer him the job. Dave Gumula moved, Dodie Tippens seconded, that Dan Landry be offered the job of Town Forester. Darrell said that the salary range for a forester is $30-80/hour. The Council authorized Darrell to negotiate a reasonable hourly rate. Vote: 5-0.
Speed Hump Issue/Washington Grove Lane
Mayor Compton reported on the response to his letter to Dave Loughery, the County traffic engineer in charge of speed humps. The Town had asked the County to review the possibility of locating another hump closer to the Railroad Street/East Diamond intersection and to have that hump be a raised crosswalk for pedestrian safety. Mr. Loughery responded that the curved roadway would not permit another hump at or closer to the intersection. He said that the County would like to modify the hump in front of 125 Washington Grove Lane by eliminating the drop-off and improving the hump markings. He also suggested that the Town consider installing a “Welcome to Washington Grove – Please Drive Gently” sign. Darrell Anderson moved, Dodie Tippens seconded, that in the interest of retaining the positive aspects of speed reduction provided by the humps, the Council authorizes the County to modify the problem hump as a first step. Vote: 5-0.
Reflective Street Signs
Maintenance Supervisor Jim Fletcher displayed beautiful new reflective street signs made in the Town maintenance shop by Jim and Britt Garoni. The routed and painted letters have glass beads in them making the signs more reflective than those now in use. The painted cedar signboards are illustrated with native plants. An installation technique is being devised to keep the signs upright while making the signs easy to replace when necessary.
Dodie Tippens reported that the Lake Committee will meet on February 14 and begin the search for qualified lifeguards for Maple Lake.
Paris Pacchione reported that the County has installed speed limit and “no parking” signs on Railroad Street at the Town’s request.
Dave Gumula reported on Historic Preservation (HiP) Study Group meetings. Several former mayors have been interviewed to get background and a historical context for preservation measures. A number of ideas are being proposed including:
- Town preservation assistance
- State preservation assistance
- moratorium on demolition of the Forquer house
- zoning restrictions with specific, objective requirements
- use of an independent evaluator for ensuring compliance with plans, setbacks and heights as approved by the Town before construction begins
- improvement of zoning enforcement.
The HiP Study Group plans to issue a report for the May Town Council meeting for use at the June Town Meeting.
Joint Town Council/Planning Commission Meeting
In light of plans for residential development of the Ridge Road fields, the Council agreed that a joint meeting of the Town Council and Planning Commission should be held to discuss this single topic. A meeting was scheduled for Monday, March 5, at 7:30 p.m. in McCathran Hall.
The meeting was adjourned at 11:30 p.m.