The Weston Board of Selectmen held its regular meeting on Thursday, June 7. The following were among the agenda items discussed.
Homes with Hope
The board unanimously approved a donation to Homes with Hope, a not-for-profit agency based in Westport that serves the homeless population of Weston and the surrounding communities. The selectmen approved an appropriation of $14,853, the same amount the town has contributed to the organization for the last four years.
Jeff Wieser, president of Homes with Hope, and Westonite Hal Shupack, one of the organization’s board members, made the case for the town’s continued support. Homes with Hope (formerly Interfaith Housing), which includes permanent supportive housing, emergency shelters for men, women, and for families, a community kitchen and a food pantry, served eight clients from Weston in 2011, Mr. Wieser said.
That number is down slightly from a high of 10 in 2010, but is still higher than other recent years (three in 2005, six in 2006, five in 2007, three in 2008, and four in 2009). Weston clients ranged in age from 26 to 53 years old. All finished high school and 75% had at least some college education. Some had mental illness issues, Mr. Wieser said.
The selectmen agreed Homes with Hope provides a valuable and necessary service for the town. “One reason why I feel it’s important to support Homes for Hope is because we don’t have a facility here in Weston to help the homeless,” First Selectman Gayle Weinstein said. “We don’t have a facility to help feed people who might need a meal. You can’t be homeless in Weston — you end up in Westport or one of the surrounding communities.”
After a long discussion about road improvements and sight line issues on Old Mill Road, the board quickly gave its consent for the town engineer and the police chief to move forward with plans to improve sight lines at the intersection of School Road and Lords Highway.
Police Chief John Troxell said especially at the beginning and the end of the school day, traffic can back up at the intersection, in part because visibility is poor when trying to pull out of School Road into Lords Highway.
The roads “T” near Revson Baseball Field; there is a stop sign on School Road, but none on Lords Highway, which drops sharply downhill to the left of School Road and curves uphill to the right.
Chief Troxell said police have tried to slow traffic on Lords Highway by putting up traffic cones, orange traffic horses, and even a temporary stop sign. They all got run over or moved, he said.
Putting an officer there to direct traffic is dangerous, he added.
The Police Commission discussed putting in a three-way permanent stop, but there were concerns about cars coming around the corner on Lords Highway and not being able to see stopped vehicles in time.
The chief and John Conte, town engineer, looked at the intersection and determined there were sight line issues. In particular, there is an outcropping and some dead trees to the right of School Road (on town property) and a large tree to the left (on private property).
First Selectman Weinstein asked Mr. Conte to return with a financial estimate for the necessary improvements, as well as verification of the town property lines. She also suggested an initial contact be made with the property owner to the left of School Road.
In reviewing the town code before it is posted online, the first selectman said she discovered some sections that are outdated and need revamping.
The board agreed to ask the town attorney to come up with alternate language regarding the following:
• A section on “official sign posts” states the bulletin board in the town clerk’s office, a bulletin board at Weston Center, a signpost at the corner of Maple Street and Georgetown Road, and a signpost on Lyons Plain Road near Emmanuel Church are the official signposts for posting legal notices regarding town matters.
• Another section of the code states the Board of Selectmen or its designee is supposed to review applications for solicitation permits. In reality, Ms. Weinstein said, it is the Police Department that does that so that background checks can be done if necessary.
• The code also states the selectmen are supposed to approve tag sale permits for those who want to have more than two in a given year.
• The code names the Board of Selectmen as the agency that approves variances, rather than the Planning and Zoning Commission or the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The board interviewed Maryanne Bolella, Kevin Korsh and Angeles Rodriguez for possible inclusion on a Legal Review Committee.
The committee, which currently has no sitting members, will be tasked with reviewing the town’s legal representation.
The selectmen did not vote on Thursday, but said they would likely make a decision at their next meeting, set for June 21.
Carol Baldwin, a familiar face to the board because of her efforts to help preserve the Lachat farmhouse, was not available for a scheduled interview for possible inclusion on the newly forming Committee for the Oversight of the Lachat Property.
The board agreed it did not need to interview Ms. Baldwin and said it would make a decision about the composition of this committee, as well, at its next meeting.
Ms. Weinstein said even if the Lachat Committee does not have a “full complement” of members at the beginning, it is important to get it started because “there’s a lot of work to do.”
Appointments and resignations
The board reappointed Claudia Hahn to the Beautification Committee for a term to expire June 30, 2016.
Jordan Fenster was reappointed to a two-year term on the Commission for the Arts.
Phoebe Cole-Smith was reappointed to the Sustainability Committee. Her term will expire June 30, 2014.
The board accepted the resignation of longtime member of the Commission on Aging Terry Hulley, who recently moved out of town.