HALIFAX– The Halifax Board of Selectmen met and debated a number of items on Tuesday, July 12, although half of a dog hearing, the eighth meeting with Scott Clawson regarding his horse show consent agreement, and the second part of a multi-part earth-removal hearing for the Morse Brothers Cranberry company dominated the discussion.
Scott Clawson and several neighbors brought forward a dog noise complaint against Jennifer Harmon-Choate, who operates a kennel neighboring Clawson’s property.
Harmon-Choate was not available for the hearing, despite being notified, according to Town Administrator Charlie Seelig.
Despite Ms. Harmon-Choate’s absence, the Board opted to collect evidence, and then continue the hearing until she could be present.
Several neighbors spoke of excessive barking at the kennel, including Clawson, at all hours of the day or night. Clawson’s son even had made an audio recording that he played from for the board.
A neighbor spoke of her children being afraid to play outside due to the noise of barking dogs.
Selectman Kim Roy had done some sleuthing of her own as well, recording audio at various hours of the day, including a recording at 4:51 a.m. where dogs could be heard loudly barking, allegedly from the kennel and recorded at different parts of Clawson’s property.
The hearing was continued.
The Board and Scott Clawson are very close to agreeing on a new version of the consent agreement Clawson operates under for his horse shows at Fieldstone Farms. This was the eighth meeting on the subject.
Although the language between the attorney for Clawson and the attorney for the town is close, they have not yet executed a contract, and Clawson sought temporary reprieve for the rest of the summer, adding two show dates, and raising the number of overnight RV’s on his property to 15 for those dates.
The board granted his requests.
Clawson was originally called before the board for advertising more shows this summer than allowed in his agreement with the town, but turned this into an opportunity to negotiate a new contract.
The Board did negotiate further with Clawson and his attorney, and they will be back to, hopefully, execute a new agreement on July 26.
The Morse Brothers Cranberry Company, represented by GAF engineering and Bill Madden, was before the Selectmen again to address concerns regarding an earth-removal permit sought by the company for their cranberry operation.
The cranberry growers claim that in order to produce a greater yield, that it is necessary to remove a particular hill and they would like to remove 41,600 cubic yards of earth from the hill in the center of the bogs.
Lingan Street would be the main route for trucks removing the earth, and neighbors and abutters are concerned about such a large amount of truck traffic. They also said they are worried about the vibrations this would cause to their homes, water mains and gas lines buried underground.
Lingan Street is very narrow, said Selectman Chairman Troy Garron, who lives in the area.
Most of all, neighbors were worried about children in the area of large vehicles. Several insisted that truck traffic only be allowed during school hours, when children are not outside playing.
Neighbors seem to be amenable to the project, several noting that Morse Brothers Cranberry Company has been good neighbors to them in the past.
The scale of the project is confusing, though, as various numbers of round-trips have been proposed, ranging from 1,600 to more than 2,000, depending on the size of the truck, and as well a loose time-frame as there is no current destination for the soil.
“It feels like the numbers are being played with,” said Rich Holmes of 13th Avenue.
The hearing was continued.
Special Town Meeting
The Selectmen have called a Special Town Meeting for Monday, July 25, 2016 at 7:30 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Halifax Elementary School, 464 Plymouth Street. A copy of the warrant can be read on page 11 of this newspaper or downloaded online. Warrants will also be mailed to all residents the week of July 18.
There will be a voter registration session on Friday, July 15 from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. at Town Hall.