At the last public meeting of the year, 's Board of Selectmen addressed changes to , reviewed progress on a Revson Field project beset by delays, and approved a new town road, a Senior Center expenditure request and numerous committee formations and appointments.
Weston's Planning and Zoning committee recommended several important changes to the town's lease agreements with the Nature Conservancy, enough so that First Selectman Gayle Weinstein urged a new town vote, slated for January 19, 2012 at 7:15 p.m. at Weston Town Hall.
The changes include new and revised language that addresses processes related to fundraising, endowment drawdowns and lease extensions.
Both leases are ten years in length; there are provisions for 5 successive 15-year extensions, according to Selectman Dennis Tracey.
"This brings the total lease to 105 years," Tracey said.
Weinstein and Selectman David Muller voted in favor of the proposed changes; Tracey recused himself from the vote because of his involvement with the Lachat building committee.
Other signs of progress included notification that the town, together with the Friends of Lachat, won a state-funded Connecticut Preservation Trust Historic Preservation grant worth $20,000.
"It's been one thing after another," said Weinstein, who informed the public that the long-delayed Revson Field renovations have hit another snag.
The town, which considered firing Aqua-Turf, the current contractor, opted instead to retain it to protect against potential complications in the event that the work fails and results in a lawsuit.
The junior varsity field could be completed as early as next week, after sod installation; however, work on the varsity outfield was suspended indefinitely due to soil conditions.
"You can't grade mud," said Weinstein, "and that's what they were attempting to do."
Weinstein does not believe that Aqua-Turf breached the contract, although Tracey indicated a desire to discuss the issue more thoroughly. Tracey also observed that there appears to be "a serious issue with project management."
The board noted that had the contractor started the project on time — and used the two weeks of good weather that followed — that presumably none of these issues would have occurred.
Instead, the initial delay forced the project to continue through the extraordinary weather conditions seen this fall, resulting in additional problems.
Still another delay occurred when the town had to break up rock that was six inches beneath the surface; proper grading requires an 18-inch buffer zone.
While removing the rocks, the workers also found old swimming pool debris such as tile, concrete and metal piping.
Weinstein indicated that the town has requested in writing a verification that the extra project costs will be covered by Aqua-Turf and not the town.
Grey Fox Lane
The selectmen granted town road status to Grey Fox Lane, built as part of a private subdivision.
Glenn Major, who represents the owners, indicated that the subdivision was always planned as a town road. Before Weston would approve the road, the owners were forced to repair cracks and other issues so that the road met town standards.
The motion carried unanimously, with a caveat; the owners must present proof that appropriate roadside monuments have been placed at the next board meeting, slated for early January.
Board of Ethics Appointments and Legal Review Committee
The board also interviewed several candidates for the Board of Ethics.
"All four candidates are incredibly impressive," said Weinstein, who stated her desire to reappoint current member Paula Savignol.
Savignol believed her term expired a year ago, and as a result had not attended board of ethics meetings until recently. The selectmen agreed unanimously that Savignol should be reappointed based on her disenfranchisement during the past year.
The board also appointed candidates John Albright and Robert Lamb.
Lamb "really stood out," according to Weinstein, because he is unaffiliated with any political party.
"The role of the Board of Ethics is to make a dispassionate [ruling]," he said, noting his desire to remove political considerations from town ethics decisions.
The board of selectmen asked Joy Peshkin and Howard Aibel to submit their applications for the Legal Review Committee, a venture discussed in the past but now set in motion.
"I want to get the process rolling," Weinstein commented.
"I am fully in support of it," Muller said.
- Marc Butlein and Brian Collins were unanimously reappointed to the Weston Parks and Recreation Commission.
- The board unanimously reappointed Neil Horner to the Historic Commission, with Carol Baldwin serving as an alternate.
- Margaret Anderson, Terry Hulley and Laura Smits were unanimously appointed to the Commission on Aging.
- The board voted in favor of appointing Michael Bellacosa, Lynne Langlois and Sherry Pallay to the Library Board.
- The board appointed Valerie Mason Finegan to the Sustainability Committee, replacing member Lou Dempsey.
- Robert Uzenoff was reappointed to the Panel of Moderators.
- Tom Failla was appointed to the Conservation Commission unanimously.
Other Board News
- The board approved a $6,500 request from the Senior Center for its renovation, including the purchase of a new couch. The current couch is "just gross," said Weinstein, who also noted that its design makes it difficult to sit and rise.
- Weston's policies regarding its Government Access Channel 79 -- upon which town meetings are broadcast -- are under review. Resident Harvey Bellin discussed several proposed changes, including adding video streaming to Weston's town website for a reasonable $60 fee, paid by the town. Final policies will be discussed for approval in January.
- The volunteer coalition met with the town to discuss plans for emergency preparedness, including improved communication with residents as well as state and local health departments. The members are also examining solutions for better handling of traffic and downed power lines.