Monday, August 29, 2011

Historic Distric Commission Minutes

Town of Winchest
    Historic District Commission
Meeting Minutes
Monday, August 22, 2011

Attendance:  Mike Haman (Chairman), Harvey Sieran, Gene Park, Kim N. Gordon (Secretary & Planning Board), Sherman Tedford (Board of Selectman Ex Officio), Julia Ferrari (Vice Chairman & Alternate), & Alternate Mary DePina-Weeks.  Public:  Russell Rapoza & Ted Whippie.

Meeting opened at 6:55 pm.

First order of business:  Review of meeting minutes of 7/15/11.  K. Gordon made a motion to accept the minutes as complete.  G. Park seconded.  Discussion. 1 abstained, 4 in favor.

Second order of business:  Mr. Mike’s exterior repairs.  9 Keene Road, Map 26, Lot 54 Alliance Energy LLC property owner (36 East Industrial Road).  Contractor, Russell Rapoza from Mansfield, MA, representing Alliance Energy came before the board with the apology that the Land Use office had informed him that he did not need any permits to install the vinyl siding on the building.  He was issued an order to quit working after he began to come before the HDC. 
S. Tedford made motion to accept the application as complete. H. Sieran seconded. All in favor.

Before and after pictures were submitted to the board.  Only two and a quarter sides of the building are noted to be constructed with TX.  The backside will remain the same.  It is noted that it is easier to clean graffiti. 

S. Tedford moved to approve the continued construction.  H. Sieran seconds.  Discussion:  J. Ferrari notes that with buildings that are not contributing members of the historic value to the historic district should not be held to a stricter standard.  Mr. Mike’s would be one such building.  All in favor.

Third order of business: 99 Main Street, United Church construction. M. Haman recuses himself to present the updates to the construction.  J. Ferrari is acting alternate.  The proposals that the contractor would like to change are as follows:
1.      Proposed chimney on the addition be changed from brick to steel metalbestos.
2.      Remove the brick chimney and concert block on the inside chimney left in place.
3.      Vinyl white clapboard to match the existing.
4.      White Azac corner board with vinyl siding
5.      Baseboard white cladding along the top of brick façade to regular vinyl siding.

G. Park made motion to accept the proposals with the following conditions
1.      Condition if the façade can not be a brick chimney over the metalbestos, then the exposed portion must be a brick chimney
2.      Approve white vinyl siding, but no vinyl corner boards. The corner boards should be wide board (6” or more).
3.      No vinyl Mop/base board
4.      Approve keeping the two existing chimneys
H. Sieran seconds the motion. Discussion.  Amendment accept.  All in favor.  

Forth order of business:  Guidelines for the consideration of Demolition.  The original version has been locked on the secretary’s computer.  So, the Northville version was presented.  Discussion with board was decided that it is best to get the Winchester version forwarded to everyone before the next meeting to discuss.

Fifth order of business:  71 Main Street.  An appeal was submitted by Attorney Silas Little on behalf of the Zaremba Group (General Dollar), representing Margaret Sharra.  The documents were reviewed and a discussion about the upcoming Zoning Board of Adjustments meeting scheduled for Thursday, September 1, 2011.  It was noted that M. Sharra will be represented by an attorney, and it is questioned whether it would be wise to have the HDC board also legally represented by the town’s attorney.  S. Tedford stated that the last hearing cost $1,200 in legal fees and there was no money left in the board’s budget.  He was questioned whether all legal fees came from the general fund and not out of the budgets of committees – he did not know.  H. Sieran will check into the board’s budget, since part of the budget was for the HDC signs.  J. Ferrari noted that the majority of this cost was incurred by the confusion with the town administrative office regarding whether the board was allowed to hold public hearings and forwarding/faxing documents to the attorney representing Zaremba Group.  There was discussion as to whether this cost should be incurred by the applicant or the board.

M. Haman requests that the board be present to defend the board’s decision.  S. Tedford notes that it is not up to the board to defend and it is now in the hands of the ZBA. 

K. Gordon updated the board on the house on Back Ashuelot Road (formerly owned by Virginia Fenrich) and the unapproved upgrade to the Railroad Station.  J. Ferrari has postponed discussion on the signs due to the question of the committee’s budget.  She will be donating the typography and H. Sieran will be checking into the sign maker of other signs made in town. 

Guest, Ted Whippie, requested that the board post their future agendas on the town website. 

Items for discussion at the next meeting are signs for the historic district, a proposal for 2-18 Main Street upgrades, grants, and the proposed regulations.  The next meeting date is scheduled for the regularly schedule date of Monday, September 26 at 7 pm. M. Haman moves to adjourn. K Gordon seconds.  All in favor.  Meeting adjourned at 8:22 pm. 

Minutes approved on:
Minutes respectfully submitted by:

Kim N. Gordon, HDC Secretary

Michael Haman, HDC Chairman


not fooled said...

Hey Sherm, looks like you're trying to stack the deck here ! We all know how you feel about your pet Margaret, wise up buddy you may find yourself involved in a lawsuit.Using your position in an attempt to sway a decision in favor of Margaret is a no-no and since when are you concerned about spending money on legal fees, didn't the bos just get sued over it's childish actions in the Gordon affair. It's too bad Margaret doesn't transcribe the minutes for the HDC, then know one would know how biased you are and how many strings you're trying to pull for her. Remember Sherm, you work for us, not for her.

Anonymous said...

Informer is there anyway that this information that is published by you and "not fooled said" can be spread to the whole town? It's time for everyone to know that the BOS protects its own. It's time for everyone to know how "slippery" and unethical they are. This is why we still have a lousy reputation in the county. I wonder how many pockets are being lined? I also wonder what the pockets are being lined with.

Think about this Winchester you are getting what you deserve.

Anonymous said...

If you don't read the newspaper, you are uninformed; if you do read the newspaper, you are misinformed.
-- Mark Twain

Anonymous said...

Almost every wise saying has an opposite one, no less wise, to balance it.-- George Santayana

embarrassed said...

One thing for sure in this whole mess and in other actions taken by the people in power, WE ARE THE LAUGHING STOCK OF THE STATE.

the Winchester Informer said...

To Anonymous @ August 29, 20011 7:27pm

Pass the word along to your neighbors and friends about the blog and copy and print out the HDC minutes and pass them along, put them up at public bulletin boards and/or drop them off to whomever you would like to enlighten. The more people who are informed about the doings of our elected officials, the more who will make an educated decision when it comes time to vote.

dirty dealings said...

" S. Tedford notes that it is not up to the board to defend and it is now in the hands of the ZBA."

The five people you appointed to this board Sherm, kinda tells the whole story of this backdoor deal right from the start. Sharra attempted to discredit Gordon to get her off the HDC so you could use your influence to get it passed and when that didn't work, she appeals to the five appointees who we all know you've made it clear to them how to vote just like you did with Gene, only he told you to go shyt in your hat. Hope these ZBA people have the sense to do the same, we're watching.

Anonymous said...

The Town Selectmen and Administrator refuse to allow Barton Mayer to be present at this meeting to represent the Town quoting that "the HDC has spent it's allotted legal budget previously". What a crock ! NO department has a set legal budget, no line item or amount has been put into the budget for any department. Legal has it's own separate line for funding that comes out of the General Fund. In fact, the BOS added thousands to this fund just last year because of the many Land Use suits. Pretty good when they squawk about saving tax payer dollars and keeping legal fees to a minimum and cite the HDC's $1200 expenditure as extravagant when the Town spent over $28,000 because of Sharra during the Van Dyke hearings to name just one. Course this is Sharra all over again. I wonder what they spent on Mayer during the Sharra instigated witch hunt for Gordon? Seeing as how Sherm supports Sharra in this mess, is it any wonder they refuse to have legal council there to support the HDC's decision. This smacks of favoritism towards Sharra and will more than likely end up as another lawsuit against the Town shortly.

Anonymous said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
the Winchester Informer said...

The minutes posted here on the blog are a draft copy available at town hall. They did not come from Kim Gordon, sorry to burst your little bubble.

Anonymous said...

I have been trying to get on the Town website for a couple of days now and have not been able to. Anyone else having problems?

Watch Dog! said...

Shem knows how to rob other department budgets. Huh! Don't ya Sherm! How about the $5,000.00 from the A.C. Lawrence Legal Fund to give to John Gomarlo for comp time or under Sherm's and Gus' watch as John Stetser found money to pave the highway dept illegally. Sherm??? John Stetser taught you well!!!

Anonymous said...

So what happened at the ZBA meeting

the Winchester Informer said...

The ZBA had a conference call with the Town's attorney Barton Mayer before the meeting. What was discussed was kept secret, though the HDC's decision was based on information they had received from attorney Mayer.

The Board voted to accept the appeal; though the HDC committed no procedural errors, nor did the Zeremba Group in it's appeal give any new and compelling evidence. They then asked because there were many present, for everyone who wished to speak to keep their comments to around three minutes. The board then allowed Silas Little & Zaremba to talk for an hour before allowing the public to comment.Little and the Group dangled at least a half dozen carrots out to the ZBA if they decide to not uphold the HDC's decision. (Donating property to the ELM was one of them). It was sickening! One right after another. They were allowed to give a completely different presentation than they did before HDC and claimed that they had offered all of this to the HDC which was a bold faced lie; yet the board sat unmoved and did not stop them, why not?. Different pictures the whole nine yards. This was so wrong and should never have been allowed.

Time and time again, Little gave testimony that was very questionable, giving his personal opinions over and over again in his attempt to to argue the building had no historic value to the town and that it would be too costly to repair; though there were tenants ling in the building until Sharra evicted them so she could sell. he dewelled on the whole block on Main Street and gave very little evidence about 71 Main Street, the building in question. He questioned how unfair the Town's regulations were and how by not allowing Sharra and her brother's to sell that it was like taking their building, so untrue, the Town has/had no intentions of taking the building.

When they finally opened the floor, Silas resembled a Jack-In-The-Box jumping up and refuting everything that was said (mind you, that would never be allowed in a court of law) and it ended up that he spent a great deal of time at the mic. Harvey Sieran presented four documents to the board (property never for sale, property renovated to be two residences and rented, Electric company was never called to the property to test for Energy Code as said and the tax card showing taxes have not been paid ); Mike Haman reiterated to the ZBA that they were given a lot of bribes that were not presented to our board and that it was their place to uphold our decision and why. Julia Ferrari was able to speak three times and she relayed her conversation with the LGC and spoke about the points Silas made - NONE of which were factual and a complete fabrication.

When Attorney Kelly Dowd for Kulicks' market got up, he was superb in his delivery and focused on the HDC's regulations that were used to come to their judgment. He also refuted Silas Little's interpretation of the case law he had quoted (Burrows vs Keene) as not applying and gave another case law from 2001. During his spiel - Margaret Sharra's brother & wife got up and left. Silas sat stewing during this testimony and didn't jump up to interrupt attorney Dowd.

The board closed the public hearing, but have postponed the decision until next month's regularly scheduled meeting though there was no reason to and they should have voted to uphold the HDC's decision. By delaying, one can only wonder how much influence certain parties will have in their decision next month.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Informer, that clears up a lot of questions some of us had and shows that the ZBA is slanted towards Margaret, otherwise they would have held a vote and upheld the HDC decision. This is surely going to get ugly.

Anonymous said...

Interesting narrative, who took the official minutes? Not the secratary, one would hope...

Anonymous said...

Alan Humes an ex-board member took the minutes but was this legal?

Anonymous said...

I was present and Thank you for a very accurate recap for those who were not there. I don't know how Attorney Little keeps his license to practive law. His behavior is rude, unprofessional and he is just plain a poor excuse for a lawyer. I hope that the board heard the words of Atty Dowd, who stuck to whether the decision could be overturned based on the WHD going against the ordinance. They did not!!! He provided clear facts. The rest of the not to be believed promises of new designs, etc by Mr. Little and the developer were irrelevant...period. If the ZBA honore the appeal, they are in Margaret's pocket for sure and yes as was said, there will be law suits. Noone wants the dollar store and if Margaret had honored her word back when she was part of the beginnings of the historic district, she would have put the house on the register and received financial assistance for her restoration and a bed and breakfast. Like Mr. Dowd says, the ZBA and the town are not there to bail her out of a bad financial mess. Hope the ZBA honors what is correct and right.

Anonymous said...

well you know who we have to thank for introducing Mr little to our town, He was the lawyer that Mike towne used over the RVD condos.
Mr Little saw some money could be made here and now we are stuck with him Thank you Mr Towne

Mike Towne said...

Please, don't thank me, Attorney Little had done business in this town long before the group I was part of hired him. In fact it was someone here in town who had used him in the past to sue the town that referred us to him. Before you go shooting your mouth off over things you have no clue about do your research so you don't look and sound like such a fool, Ed.

Wasn't he the attorney your wife hired too?