stormwater bylaws up for vote
By Thomas D’Agostino
A capacity crowd supporting Webster Lake boat restrictions filed into Monday night’s Webster Board of Selectmen Meeting as one item on the agenda was still pending. Articles 9 and 10 from the December 5 Town Meeting were passed but the regulations were not binding, as the lake is state property and therefore governed by Massachusetts Department of Environmental Police rules and regulations.
The Massachusetts Attorney General sent a report to the town with a recommendation that if the town wishes to amend the rules and regulations for Webster Lake, they must petition the Department of Environmental Police.
Article 9: To see if the town will vote to amend Article 3 of the Webster Lake Rules And Regulations to add boat size restrictions to read, “Boat size restrictions for any vessel: No vessel shall operate on the lake which exceeds 40 feet in length.”
Article 10 was to rescind Article 16 of the October 16, 2011 meeting and replace it with, “No person shall operate a commercial vessel between sunset and sunrise…”
Back in May, a petition came before the Webster Board of Selectmen in regard to the above articles that were rejected by the Massachusetts Attorney General. In order for the town to pass such articles there would have to be a change in the Code of Massachusetts Regulations regarding such rules. Town Administrator John McAuliffe spoke to the crowd, explaining that there is a long process to change the Massachusetts regulations and town bylaws. Mr. McAuliffe also suggested that the group change the language of the petition.
The board approved a motion to start the process by holding a public hearing on November 5 and to make an official request, endorsed by the board, to change the Massachusetts regulations in regard to the articles presented above.
In other business, Director of Public Works, J.T. Gaucher proposed a two part Stormwater Bylaw to be voted on at the October 15 Town Meeting. Town Administrator John McAuliffe gave an overview of the ongoing process of stormwater management, stating that the Federal Government is in charge of the regulations and mandated testing, regulatory oversight, type of construction to be implemented and maintenance of these items called Best Management Practices, which have increased year after year. Mr. McAuliffe stated, “We are not seeking to create something new here…this is something that is going to be a new obligation of the town.”
Unfortunately, the town may have to see the implementation of a stormwater enterprise fund needed to help maintain the operation. “There are other towns in Massachusetts that are looking at enterprise funds for stormwater and, again this is being driven by the standards we have to meet, and, sooner or later this will just be a reality in Webster like it is going to be a reality throughout Massachusetts. It's an issue...its time is coming quickly.” Mr. McAuliffe stated.
The first article presented by Mr. Gaucher for vote is called “The Stormwater Management and Erosion Control.” This addresses stormwater related construction projects and post construction stormwater from development and redevelopment. The second article addresses illicit discharges into the stormwater collection system, which is anything that is not stormwater related. A special public hearing scheduled for October 9. Webster is one of about 60 percent of the towns that is behind with compliance of the project. Having the bylaws in place would show that the town is working towards complying with the necessary procedures and deadlines.
The board read a proclamation recognizing October 24, 2012, as United Nations Day. A notice will be sent out to schools and other institutions for support of the day.
Ronald Mathieu was appointed to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The board accepted Kathleen Aberizk’s resignation form the Conservation Commission with regrets and Joseph Kunkel was reappointed to that commission.
Town Administrator John McAuliffe presented some line items for the town warrant. One of the articles is a district-wide vote for Bay Path School expansion and renovation. Previously an individual town vote was held and the project was shot down. According to Mr. McAuliffe, instead of a town vote, there is a mechanism in place where the leaders of the school project can use a total vote count. This could cause the town to have some form of debt exclusion to fund the project. Mr. McAuliffe stated that the whole issue became convoluted and is a bit unclear so the exact nature of the article is still unknown. Vice Chair Deborah Keefe asked if a town meeting was needed for debt exclusion before going to ballot. Mr. McAuliffe explained that the issue could go directly to ballot. A town meeting would approve the appropriation for the ballot vote. The vote is regional and not restricted to the town as before. Again Mr. McAuliffe stated that the whole issue is still unclear in its nature. “If this gets a little clearer, I may have reason tonight that we sign the warrant to say why this makes sense to move forward with this, but it’s probably not because…there is a lot of moving parts, if you will, at the moment.” Mr. McAuliffe said.
- Tuesday, 11 September 2012
- Posted in Categories: : News