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Meeting Minutes

Town of Leicester

Selectboard Meeting Minutes


Monday, July 6, 2009




** See subsequent minutes for any changes


Members Present:  Diane Benware, Bob Oliver, Ken Young, Tom Barker, Ron Fiske


Others Present:   Julie Delphia, Arlan Pidgeon, Tim Johnson, Charles Johnson, Allen Watson, Mark Watson, Mrs. Watson, Sandra Trombley, Secretary


Call to Order:  Meeting called to order at 6:32 p.m. by Chair, followed by the Pledge of Allegiance. 


Agenda Review:  Agenda reviewed. 


Approve Minutes of June 15, June 17, and June 22, 2009:


The minutes for June 15, 2009 meeting were reviewed. 


Motion by Tom to approve minutes of June 15, 2009.   Second by Ron.  All in favor.  So approved.


The minutes of June 17, 2009, Special Meeting were reviewed.


Motion by Tom to approve minutes of June 17, 2009.  Second by Ron.  All in favor.  So approved.


The minutes of June 22, 2009 were reviewed. 


Motion by Ron to approve minutes of June 22, 2009 with correction of date from Wednesday, June 24 to Monday, June 22.  Second by Tom.  All in favor.  So approved.


Review and Sign Orders for Payment:


Bills making their rounds. 


Reports from Town Officials & Committees: 




Julie stated that she would like the Selectboard to authorize her to pay two bills that she received.  The first one is for beaver removal for $195 and the other one is from Gus Letourneau for the cemetery which is $600.


Tom wants to be sure they have signed the “hold harmless” form.

 Julie is holding all checks until they come in and sign.  She will check to see how we have paid Kurt in the past.


Motion by Ron to authorize Julie to pay the two bills, $195 for beaver removal and $600 for Gus Letourneau for the cemetery.  Second by Ken.  All in favor.  So approved.


Julie has contacted Royal Lock & Glass and is waiting for a quote from them.  She asked them for a few different options.  One being a lock with non-reproducible keys, one with a number pad and one with a scanner, so we can see what our options are.


Julie reported that delinquent taxes are at $45,272.83.  She got a little more money in today.


Dogs were at $242.  There hasn’t been much activity since the last time.  She’s waiting for Brian to have time to go around and contact people.  There are only twenty or so dogs left. 


Julie has the Ancient Road Grant.  The paperwork came in for the completion of the Grant.  Donna has that information and Mr. Magoon came down on Sunday and worked for several hours.  He came today and is coming again tomorrow.  He’s going through all the books.  He has asked that we start transcribing them.  Julie talked to Diane about having Ashley come in a few hours a week to help out.  Julie would like to have Ashley come in and do transcription.  The end date for the Grant as far as payment is July 13th.   The work has to be done by August 14th.


Julie needs authorization from the Selectboard to process whatever checks are required by the July 13th date.  With the information from Mr. Magoon, the transcription time, we have to do the checks prior to July 13th.  Also to transfer from the Grant Fund the amount that it comes to.  Donna doesn’t think that all the transcription has to be done prior to the date in order to still satisfy the Grant.  Julie will get with Donna this week to work out the details.


Motion by Ken to authorize Julie to process whatever checks necessary by July 13th date.  Second by Ron.  All in favor.  So approved.


Julie wanted to talk about a two of the bills.  One to the Addison County Humane Society.  The letter that they sent for the request, they requested the $500 agreement fee and a $1,000 contribution.  In the Town Report, we put in $1,000 total, instead of $1,500.  We already have paid the $500 agreement fee and Julie wrote a check for $500 contribution.  Julie asked the Selectboard what they wanted to do about the other $500 that wasn’t put into the budget. 


Diane explained that the $1,000 was something new because they have been unable to make ends meet.  They were putting that request out to all of the towns.  The contract $500 gives Brian the authority to take strays in at no cost to the town.  The $1,000 was an additional request to all of the Addison County towns.  They are a no-kill shelter and they are finding it hard to make ends meet. 


Everyone agreed to wait and see if they request the additional $500.


Julie wanted to let the Board know that she went over the budget because the line item was $113 in the budget and the request was for $113.08, so Julie made the check out for $133.08.  Diane stated that the auditors like to work in nice round numbers, so that is why the $ .08 was left off.


Julie gave the Board the budget report.




Tim reported that they sent out the result of grievance hearing letters today.  The recipients have 14 days to make an appointment with the BCA.  There were a total of 27.  The letters went out with certificate of mailing.


Zoning Administrator:


Kate stated that they had talked a little bit about driveways in the past.  Arlan found the ordinance that was adopted in the Town of Salisbury.  In our by-laws in Section 621 we say, any activity for which a zoning permit is required and which involves the construction or modification of a driveway intersecting with a public right of way, shall obtain an access permit from the Selectboard prior to the issuance of a zoning permit.  The problem is if the zoning permit is not required, we also don’t need an access permit.  Kate doesn’t think that was the intention of the way it was written.  She thinks the assumption was that driveways almost always accompany new construction.  However, in the lake properties, we have the situation of older camps which were constructed without a driveway and now subsequent owners want to put in driveways and there involves no zoning permits at that time.  Kate stated that they don’t really have a procedure for people to get this access permit. 


Kate stated that we have a small section on the zoning application which says, additional approval required prior to occupancy.  This is not giving permission to construct a driveway.  We now have two situations.  In the first situation, some out of state owners, with an out of town contractor, went ahead and put in an interesting driveway which goes into Hooker Road, which has real potential for problems in the road.  It’s next to another driveway that also just created problems.  Both of those driveways are in land that belongs to a third party who Kate doesn’t think was ever asked for permission, but doesn’t seem to be too upset about it.  He had a strip between the two properties.  This is trying to fix things after the fact, and not a good way to do things. 


Kate is proposing that the Town adopt an ordinance separate from the zoning which simply says that you have to apply and this is a decision based on the recommendation of the Road Foreman/Commissioner and final decision by the Selectboard.  The Salisbury version includes quite a good drawing of access standards and so forth, but essentially we should have a separate, very simple application with these standards.  The drawing is not really a zoning issue, it might be part of an application to build a new house, but Kate thinks they should have a way of handling the stand alone requests.  These things are just falling between the cracks.  It seems like something that we could accommodate fairly easily.


Kate would be happy to do a form, but mainly the Board would need to adopt some form of requirement.  The zoning ordinance would then cover the situation where both are required.


The second situation Kate explained, Jeff Smith filled out a zoning application for something which looks like a driveway, but is a pathway wide enough for a golf cart.  It was brought to Kate’s attention that situation came up four years ago in front of the Selectboard.  At the time, someone from the State came and stated it would be a major erosion problem and it was turned down.  Now, it is reappearing as a zoning application.


Kate thinks there should be some general language which refers to access and to driveways that would cover all of these eventualities.  This would impact a town road and some other things.  Driveways on level ground are not such a big deal, but driveways on steep hills and near the lake can be a problem.


Diane indicated that Mr. Smith’s request is on the agenda under new business.


Mr. Smith told Kate he wanted to be part of the process and she told him she would bring that up at the Selectboard meeting.  He was aware there was a Selectboard Meeting tonight and that this would be discussed.


Kate stated that she is going to a meeting on Wednesday in Montpelier with other Zoning Administrators in the Vermont League of Cities and Towns.  It is essentially just to look at applications and procedure.  It is not for the content of zoning by-laws or town plans, but just for procedural paper things to help streamline the paper process.  Hopefully, there will be some good ideas that come from the meeting.


The people who work on roads might take a look at the Salisbury ordinance and the Selectboard.  Salisbury’s is quite well written and comprehensive.


Julie commented that there has been some discussion among the Town Clerks about driveways and what the different town’s do as far as driveways.  Julie will gather that information from other municipalities, some our size and smaller, so that we could get a good feel what other municipalities are doing.


Diane explained that the procedure for ordinance adoptions says that it has to be entered into the minutes of the municipality, posted in at least 5 conspicuous places within the municipality, full text or concise summary of it will be published in a newspaper circulating in the municipality on a day not more than 14 days following the date when the proposed provision is so adopted.  Along with the summary shall be published a reference to a place where the full text may be examined.  When the text or summary is published, the same notice shall explain the citizen’s right to petition for a vote on the ordinance or rule on an annual or special meeting as provided in the Section 1973 of this Title.  It shall also contain the name, address, phone number of the person with knowledge of the ordinance who is available to answer questions about it.


Action:  At the next meeting, July 20, 2009, the Board will discuss the proposal ordinance for curb cuts.



Road Forman:


Scott was out grading on Bullock Road and Meme Road.


Old Business:


Mr. Watson Letter:


Mr. Watson had written the Selectboard on July 2nd, his concerns with the issue of Lake Dunmore Road and his property.  Diane read some of the letter aloud.  He is expecting trenching and culverts in place by August, 2009.


Arlan has cut the asphalt over there.  Arlan stated that there has been a lot of water there because we have had lots of rain, but maybe this week we can get it done. 


Allen Watson introduced himself.  Mark Watson is his cousin.  Mark is on his way and should be arriving shortly. 


Allen explained that about 10 years ago, some property was owned northeast of the three Watson

Properties.  A fellow by the name of Nate owned that property.  A fellow came in and bought that land.  He tore the camp down and he clear cut right up the side of the mountain about 8 or 10 acres.  When he clear cut that and filled his land, he diverted the natural spring and brook that flowed north to Pinky Johnson’s spring, over onto us.  We would get a little bit of water in the spring of the year when it would over its banks and come down, but it would disperse into the ground.  There was never any running water there from the 1st of May to the end of August.  We never had any water at all.  I’ve been in that camp since 1964.  Other than the early spring, did we get any water; spring runoff.  When they changed that land in the rear, that’s when we started getting water.  We’ve gotten water ever since. 


Ken asked how often the water has gone into the camp.  Allen stated that it has gone into Mark Watson’s camp twice.  He’s bringing pictures with him that Allen took at the last high water.  There was about 39” of water inside of his camp.  


Ken stated that there was no amount of culverts that would have resolved the situation last year with that storm that we had.  That was a very unusual storm. 


Allen answered that if the culvert under 53 had been large enough to accept the water, because that’s what blocked it, that was the dam and there was a ditch away on the opposite side of the road which I think the Town got permission to dig out.  If they had had that, we would not have had the backup and the high water.  It missed going into my camp by an inch. 


Ron asked if there was any way they could go back to the original guy who diverted the water.   He stated that it is illegal to divert water right there. 


Allen had talked to the previous Zoning Administrator a couple of years ago and he was going to do something, and we never heard anything back from him.  Nothing has ever been done. 


Ron thinks we should go back to the original guy that made the mess and put it back to the way it was.


Allen stated that he doesn’t think you ever can because he filled so much back there; he filled probably 3/4 of an acre in the drop off from his land down to where the old original land level was, probably 3 to 4 feet.  Then he put in a little pond without a permit.  He put the outlet of the pond heading south to Watson’s property instead of North.


Tim stated that he doesn’t know who owns the property now, but that was Nate Sherwood’s old property originally from Mass.


Allen put an 18” culvert in under his driveway about three years ago.  The problem is that there are so much leaves and stuff that comes down that it plugs the culvert right up.  He stated he can’t bring his backhoe up here from Bennington twice a year to dig out the entrance to his culvert to keep the leaves from plugging it, so it just backs up again.  There is just so much debris coming down off the mountain.


Julie looked up the landowner and found it to be Chris Coombs.


Mark Watson had still not arrived so Diane asked that if it was alright with Allen, the Board would continue with other old business until Mark arrives so that Allen and Board would not have to repeat everything twice.  That was fine with him.  (Continued on page 7)


Dog Issue:


The order that was sent to Sally indicated that she was to dispose of the dog by the end of the day on July 1, 2009.  In the interim of our meeting with her on June 17th, and the 1st of July, she found a home for the dog out of town.  She placed it with a guy named Ed in the Bristol/Lincoln area.  Diane asked her if this man knew the history of the dog and she said, “yes”.  Diane asked Sally, knowing the history of the dog, he took the dog anyway, and she said “yes”. 


Prior to speaking to Sally, Diane talked with the attorney and shared with him her concerns that she would try to find a home for the dog out of town, and asked the attorney what the Town could do to minimize their exposure regarding the dog.  He advised that the Selectboard send a letter to the Town Clerk in Bristol and in Lincoln letting them know there was an Order to humanely dispose of this dog.   Let them be aware.  We will have done the best that we could do.  That’s the plan. 


Diane found out that the Humane Society does not impound dogs in that situation and we would have had to take the dog to the Middlebury Animal Hospital or Brian thought there was a place in Bristol to take the dog if we needed to, but it would have been expensive to do that.




Arlan said Goshen is not serious at the moment.  The offer of $6,000 from Stephen Brooks is not reasonable.   Consensus to keep running the Town’s grader.

Tom would like to put it in the Auto Hunter and Equipment Trader magazines. 


Action:  Arlan will have Scott make the phone call to them.


Bob reported that Bill Currie cut the cedars back on Dewey Road.  Bill said to check it out and if they needed to be cut more, he would do it.


Tom stated that the whole road needs to be trimmed back, from Currie’s South. 


Action:  Arlan can cut, trim and chip.


Julie followed a bus going down the West side of Shackett Road, going South.  The bus driver drives down the middle of the road so it doesn’t hit the trees on the right hand side of the road. 


Tom stated that there is another situation like that on Old Jerusalem Road in front of Jane’s.  Also Maple Street from the intersection of Shackett Road to the Salisbury Town line.


Mr. Watson Letter (continued):


Mark Watson stated what actions he wants to see happen in his letter. 


Diane stated when they were there in June, the thought was to have two culverts South of where Mark’s camp is and his letter indicates he feels there should be one north and one South.  Mark stated that there is already one South and it is too small and needs to be replaced and that’s fine.  It doesn’t stop the river from coming down and he wants that out of there.  They didn’t have it before and he doesn’t want it now.  If you put it North, and angle it down cross the road, it will drain right straight down through to the South end to where that culvert is today. 


What Mark wants to see now is the North end fixed. 


Allen explained that everyone to the North of their camps has filled some and contained it into a ditch, so now everybody has filled right on down and contained it into a small ditch so now it can’t disperse out and percolate into the ground.  The water has no place to go.  It’s in a two foot wide ditch and when it gets down to us, we’re level, and we can’t fill.


More discussion on culverts. 


Allen stated that the object is we need to get rid of the water.  There has been a long list of complaints.  It has destroyed their camp twice.  Mrs. Watson showed photos of the damage.


Allen explained that he came to the Town several years ago.  His father came to the Town before he went into the nursing home.    Mark’s father came to the Town.  We’ve talked with them.  We talked to the Zoning Administrator in the past.  They were going to take some action and do something and it fell on deaf ears. Allen stated that when the Selectboard came up two years ago, they said they were going to take care of it in a couple of weeks.  That was two years ago. 


More discussion about culverts, runoff, and if the property owner above the Watson’s who clear cut and diverted the natural water flow is responsible.


Mark stated that zoning has been a problem from day one for not stopping the guy up above.  He will do what he has to do to stop the water.  He stated that they are going to stop the river.


Tim stated that the Watson’s are here bringing up a problem.  The Town said they were going to take care of it a couple years ago.  That didn’t happen.  They are back again.  The Town is saying that this was caused by Mr. Coombs who did some excavating down there.  The Town signed off on the Coombs’ building permits.  The town ok’d what he could do down there.  So, if he did it wrong and the Town didn’t inspect that property, how is it the Watson’s problem and not the Town’s? 


Tim stated there are two permits dated March 22nd and March 28 for Christopher Coombs for putting a mobile home down there.  No specifics on the landscaping or cutting.  If Mr. Coombs did all this clear cutting down there and the Zoning Administrator went down there at the time, and signed off on it, he shouldn’t have done that.  Tim stated that he thinks the Town has a little bit of interest in this.  You can’t pawn it off onto the Watsons.  Tim doesn’t feel the Watsons should have to go and fight the landowner if the Town let this landowner do that and didn’t correct it at the time of the zoning permit. 


Mark stated that this was already agreed to be trenched all the way down to the lake.


Charlie Johnson asked to be recognized.  Charlie stated that the Watson’s have gotten hold of Bobby LaPorte who does a lot of work with his equipment and he seems to think that this can be taken care of.  So, why is there such a big problem?  If one person says he can go over there and fix it, why doesn’t the Town have him do it?


Ron stated that they are asking us to dig up the road in two places and put in some massive ditches. 


Mark stated don’t do it in two, do it in one. 


Arlan has started on the other one.  He’s got the road cut.


Mark is talking about the west side.  They will take care of their side.  They haven’t even been able to get in there.


Allen wants a timetable when the Board will get back to them.




1.         Diane will contact the Town Attorney to see if the Town has any recourse back to Mr. Coombs.

2.         Ron, Ken, Tom, Arlan and Bob will take Ron’s transit 7:00 a.m. Tuesday to determine elevation.

3.         Talk with other landowner, Dennis McKeighan.

4.         Arlan to put two southern culverts in by Friday, weather permitting.


New Business:


Resignation of Shelley Glassner:


Motion by Tom to accept Shelley’s resignation effective June 30, 2009 with thanks for her service.  Second by Ken.  All in favor.  So approved.


Action:  Diane will send a letter to Shelley thanking her for her service.


ANR Forest Legacy Area:


Diane read letter for everyone’s information.  No need to respond.


Request from Mr. J. Smith:


Kate explained the application is dated June 10, 2009; however the drawing which accompanied the application is dated 2004.  Cecile Todd, who was on the Selectboard when that was considered, remembered it was something the Selectboard looked at, Arlan looked at, someone from the State looked at, and they felt it would potentially cause significant erosion to that hillside and was a very bad idea.  Based on that, apparently the Selectboard said “no”.   Kate looked through the minutes but couldn’t find the minutes for that meeting, but she was in a hurry.  When she talked with Mr. Smith, he made it sound like he had some informal conversation with you, and you felt it was a bad idea based on what the State had said.  He didn’t indicate that he had actually gone to the Selectboard. 


Arlan said they all went up there and looked at it.  Tom said that it’s still a bad idea.  Bob doesn’t remember the date, but he remembered that the State people and the Town’s Selectboard denied his request and Bob was the one that called Mr. Smith and notified him that his proposition had been denied because of erosion and run-off concerns.  Bob stated the idea is still a bad idea.


Kate will research the minutes to reference former events.


Action:  Kate will craft a letter for all to sign.




Julie stated, as a resident of the Town, she finds the shoes hanging off the lines on Fern Lake Road to be very distracting when she’s driving.  There are now 5 pair of shoes, on three separate lines. 


Bob has notified CVPS.


Kate indicated in many cities, shoes on the lines, is an informal way of saying that drugs are for sale, and that’s a sign.  Maybe kids are just doing it to be funny, but usually that’s what it means, and in cities, they get them down right away.  It means hang around, drive by.  That doesn’t mean that’s what it is here, but in the cities, that’s what it means.


Public Opinion:  None


Executive Session:  None


Motion by Ron to adjourn.  Second by Tom.  All in favor.  So approved.  Adjourned by 8:35 p.m.


Next regularly scheduled meeting July 20, 2009 6:30 p.m.



Respectfully submitted,



Sandra L. Trombley

Selectboard Secretary