First Selectman Gayle Weinstein began the meeting by praising Connecticut lawmakers for passing gun control, mental health, and school safety regulations that are among the “toughest in the country.” (See story on page one.)
She thanked, in particular, Weston’s three state legislators — Sens. John McKinney and Toni Boucher and Rep. John Shaban, all Republicans — for “putting party politics aside” and all voting to support the bill. “I’m incredibly proud of the three of them,” Ms. Weinstein said.
Selectman David Muller said, “I’m really proud as well. I’m very happy.”
Selectman Dennis Tracey asked that the selectmen have a chance to look over the details of the new state laws before making a final decision on proposed revisions to Weston’s town ordinance on firearms.
The selectmen have been working on revisions to an existing 20-year-old ordinance since the school shootings in Newtown last December. The latest draft of the ordinance prohibits all residential target practice, allowing it instead only at the Weston Field Club, the Weston Gun Club, “or other locations as approved by the chief of police and the Board of Selectmen.”
The revisions also align definitions of firearm, machine gun, and assault weapon with the state’s definitions. They explicitly prohibit the discharge of any machine gun or assault weapon in town, and limit discharge of other weapons to police officers, bank guards, etc., in the line of duty, or those acting in defense.
The ordinance would also raise the penalty for violations to $250.
Ms. Weinstein said earlier this week that because the proposed ordinance change is now “fundamentally different than what was originally proposed,” the selectmen will review it again at their next meeting, and then will likely hold another public hearing before voting to amend it.
The board accepted the resignation of Joseph Limone from the Planning and Zoning Commission, effective April 15.
The first selectman thanked Mr. Limone for his service, saying he has done “an incredible job.”
The board voted unanimously to accept the recommendation of the Historic District Commission to limit the size of signs posted on the Onion Barn in Weston Center to 16 square feet each.
Ms. Weinstein said a current regulation stipulated the Historic District Commission and the Board of Selectmen were responsible for deciding if a sign on the barn was of “appropriate size,” but then that decision was delegated to the code enforcement officer.
She said she asked the commission to consider what size might be “appropriate” so the code enforcement officer might have a solid guideline.
“I’m definitely in favor of more objective criteria for the size,” said Mr. Tracey. But, he added, he doesn’t want the content of a sign to determine whether it should remain on the onion barn.
Ms. Weinstein said she believes signs promoting events as opposed to issues should be allowed.
Old Mill Road
The selectmen were perplexed as to why no police officers or police commissioners showed up at the meeting for a discussion about how road improvements on Old Mill Road have affected traffic there.
Ms. Weinstein explained earlier this week that when the board voted to approve money to improve sight lines on Old Mill Road by cutting down a number of trees, one of the conditions of the approval was that the Police Department come back to the board in a few months to report on the effectiveness of the measures.
“We were surprised no one showed up,” Ms. Weinstein said.
The item will again be on the agenda of the board’s next meeting.
The board voted unanimously to authorize the first selectman to sign a “Master Municipal Agreement for Construction Projects.”
Ms. Weinstein explained after the meeting that the state is trying to “streamline” its procedures. The master document does things like use the words “first selectman” or “police commissioner” instead of using names so whole documents won’t have to be re-written when those posts change hands.