Here are the highlights from the Dec. 9, 2014 Westford Board of Selectmen Meeting.
The Green Area Next to the Cameron Senior Center Won’t Be Paved
Recently the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments did a study looking at parking congestion at the Cameron Senior Center, with some suggestions ranging from spreading out the schedule of events to shuttles from nearby overflow lots to possible new paved parking spots on the adjacent field, which now serves as an overflow lot during months without snow.
Several residents testified that the current parking lot was full only on rare occasions and that parking already does occur on the adjacent field, which meant that any paved spots would have very limited use.
Council of Aging Director Joanne Sheehan told the Selectmen that senior citizens sometimes bristled at not being able to drive to the Senior Center in the hopes of maintaining their independence, but long walks were at times challenging, especially on snowy days where the overflow lot was not available.
However, Selectman Andrea Peraner-Sweet noted that she was on the Planning Board when last request to pave the lots were made and there were concerns then in addition to those given by the neighbors such as paving over septic tanks and impeding on conservation land.
The board voted 5-0-0 not to pave the overflow lot, but vowed to help the Senior Center find methods to alleviate parking congestion through other methods.
A Request By Comcast To Renew Their Cable License Was Given A Preliminary Denial
Members of the Communications Advisory Council advised the Selectmen to give a preliminary denial toward renewing their cable license on Jan. 1
While this preliminary denial was approved 5-0-0, it was noted that this is only the first step in renegotiating a contract with Comcast and further negotiations could not occur if the license was summarily approved.
No Comcast customers will lose their service on Jan. 1 despite the preliminary denial.
Additional Sidewalks on Groton Road
The Selectmen approved the use of just over $22,000 to study new sidewalks on Groton Road just east of the intersection with Oak Hill Road.
A study, and eventual engineering, in the area is planned in conjunction with the town and the state, but the state declined to provide funding for the engineering of particular section of the road without additional funding from the town due to project limitations.
However, approximately $170,000 was appropriated by voters for the project and the final bid for the town’s contribution came in at around $120,000.
The Stony Brook Conservation Land Is Growing
A deed was given to the public for a land-locked property near the Stony Brook Conservation Land, officially known until this year as the East Boston Camps.
The matter goes before the Conservation Commission on Wednesday, but Westford Director of Land Use Planning Kris Kluchman said it was a fantastic pickup for the town.
A Committee Is Being Formed To Study Traffic And Parking In The Town Center
A task force comparable to recent task forces on drop boxes and the Drew Gardens property is being formed to study parking and traffic in the town center.
The task force will consist of…
- A member of the Board of Selectmen
- A member of the Historical Commission
- A member of the Library Trustees
- A member of the Planning Board
- A member of the Town Common Restoration Committee
- A member of the Pedestrian Safety Committee
- And several members of the public at large
Changes To Trash Pickup
Recycling Commission chairwoman Sue Thomas came before the board with three recommendations.
- Reducing the maximum amount of barrels of trash picked up per week from five to three cans.
- Recommending that residents be pushed toward replacing older barrels with smaller barrels around 32 gallons
- Reducing the rate for bulk trash stickers from $10 to $5.
It was unclear what impact the bulk trash sticker rate might have on the town’s finances, but reducing the rate would help prevent residents from putting larger items at the curb for pickup.
Thomas also said that approximately 97 percent of residents already use three or fewer barrels weekly and that putting a cap at three would help with the town’s recycling program, although she agreed that an attempt in recent years to put the cap at one was probably too much of a reduction.
All three changes will occur on Feb. 1