The Halifax Selectmen meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 12, covered a number of topics including the appointment of a former Halifax police chief as a special police officer.
Lifelong Halifax resident Ted Broderick began his career as a special police officer in Halifax in 1984 before moving on to Plympton in 1986 where he became a full-time officer. Broderick returned to Halifax where he rose through the ranks, being promoted first to sergeant and then chief in 2013.
“Ted’s a welcome addition to the department not only for his knowledge of law enforcement but also of the town and the residents; he’ll be a great resource for myself and other members of the department,” Halifax Police Chief Joao Chaves said. The Board agreed, passing a motion to appoint him as a special police officer.
Vacancies on both the Planning Board and the Board of Health were also discussed. The Board of Health currently has one applicant who will be interviewed by the Board of Selectmen before being voted on by the two boards. An appointment has been scheduled for Tuesday, December 10 at 7:45. There are currently three candidates for the vacancy on the Planning Board. All three candidates will be interviewed by the Planning Board for 10 minutes each on December 10 beginning at 8 p.m. A vote will commence immediately thereafter with both the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board attending.
Council on Aging Director Search
The search for a new Council on Aging (COA) director continues. The deadline for applications is this Friday, Nov. 15. All applications will be scanned and sent to the screening committee to review on Wednesday, November 20. According to Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig eight applicants from the first selection process earlier in the fall have indicated that they will be reapplying. The Board of Selectmen hope to make a final decision by December 10.
Revocation Hearing Continuations
Continuation of two revocation hearings were held. Seelig informed the Board that Twin Lake Liquors is now fully paid up on back taxes and the Board moved to close the hearing. Seelig also provided an update on Davis Automotive saying that they are continuing to pay down their motor vehicle tax and are currently up-to-date on their land tax. The hearing will be continued during the next selectmen meeting at 7:45 p.m.
Update on Sale of Aldana Road Parcel
Back in July, DFG land agent from the Division of Fisheries and Wildlife Joan Pierce met with the Board of Selectmen to discuss buying an area of Peterson’s Swamp from the town. Initially the Board was unhappy with the offered amount but came to an agreement contingent upon the town of Halifax also receiving back a sliver of land behind Aldana Road that is currently owned by Fisheries and Wildlife. Ownership of that land parcel is necessary in order to be able to pave that road. Seelig said that Fisheries and Wildlife have submitted a draft agreement for the sale of the parcels including what is needed from both the town and the commonwealth. Seelig forwarded the agreement to Halifax town counsel Attorney Lawrence Mayo for review.
Surplus Police Vehicle Used for Town Business
Seelig also brought before the Board the possibility to use a surplus police vehicle for town business rather than trading it in. Seelig said that Selectmen Tom Millias, who was not present at Tuesday’s meeting, has a particular interest in this topic as he was previously the building inspector and currently serves on the Board of Assessors. The Assessors are interested in using the vehicle. Seelig explained that the benefit to the employees would be reduced risk as they wouldn’t face rising insurance premiums, etc. if something were to happen while they were using their personal vehicles for town business.
Halifax Fire Rating Improves
Seelig shared some good news from the Halifax Fire Department regarding the town’s Insurance Services Office (ISO) rating. An ISO rating is a number from 1-10, 1 being best and 10 being worst, that is assigned to a community indicating its preparedness to deal with a related emergency. The latest review upgraded Halifax’s score from a 4 to a 3. Halifax Fire Chief Jason Viveiros attributed the improved score to staffing changes, the new regional dispatch network, and the well-maintained fleet of apparatus and equipment. Seelig said that according to Viveiros, only 1 in 8 communities has a rating of 1, 2, or 3, putting Halifax in good company. Selectman Gordon Andrews asked if it would affect homeowner’s insurance and Seelig responded, “Yes, it should, in a positive way.”
Monponsett Pond Update
Seelig provided an update on the Administrative Consent Order (ACO) issued to Brockton by the Department of Environmental Protections (DEP) in 2017 and updated in the spring of 2019. The ACO identified violations of Chapter 371 of the Acts of 1964 which allowed Brockton to divert water from Monponsett Pond to be used as part of their water supply. Seelig said that Brockton requested a waiver from the DEP to allow them to test different hypothesis and their effects on the pond. Brockton requested the waiver as some of the things they may be testing could be in opposition to the ACO. The DEP issued the waiver but asked that Brockton notify the DEP five days in advance. Seelig asked the Board for their permission to also ask that the towns of Hanson and Halifax be given sufficient notice as the public would likely notice changes in the ways the water in the pond is flowing. Selectman Chair Troy Garron said, “I’d like to add that we send a letter to the new mayor and let him know the efforts that we are making to try and bring some reconciliation to the pond.” The Board and Seelig agreed with sending Brockton’s newly elected mayor a letter informing him of the current situation with Monponsett Pond.
Outdoor Marijuana Growing Facility
The selectmen also had an appointment to meet with Alex Mazin, the President of Buds Goods & Provisions. Mazin’s attorney was also present. Back in early October Mazin met with the Selectmen to discuss the possibility of an adult use outdoor marijuana cultivation facility on the same lot where Four Daughters had previously planned to build an indoor facility. During the October meeting, Mazin had explained that outdoor cultivation is more sustainable for the environment and has significantly lower startup and operational costs as compared to indoor cultivation. Seelig informed the Board that town counsel had reviewed the Host Community Agreement submitted by Bud’s and viewed it very favorably.
Mazin, again, laid out several reasons why he believes his proposal is beneficial to the town. Amongst his arguments is that the property in question has septic issues due to poor percolation. Mazin pointed out that since his proposal is an outdoor growing facility with only a barn like structure for storage, a septic system would not need to be installed. Mazin said, “I really believe our proposal is utilizing a piece of land that is not going to get utilized any other way.” Mazin also stressed that no sales would take place at their facility and stressed that a significant buffer exists between where he intends to grow and abutters’ property. Mazin pointed out that they intend to initially grow on about 2 acres of land despite the lot being 47 acres.
Regarding security concerns, Mazin pointed out several factors that he believes works in their favor. Mazin suggested that theft would be difficult as the shrubs are actually quite large with some even reaching 8 ft in height. Trying to scale a tall fence with a large tree would likely deter any attempts at theft. Additionally, according to Mazin, there is only a two-week window where the flowers that are valuable grow making it easier to monitor for theft.
Andrews told Mazin that he had heard from several residents in the area and that they were not in favor of the facility. Mazin said, “All we’re looking for is an opportunity to present our case to the community.” Mazin further said that he did not want his business in a community that does not want them.
Bud’s will get that chance to present to the community in December.
The Board of Selectmen will hold a community forum/public hearing for Bud’s Goods and Provisions’ proposal on Wednesday, Dec. 4 at 7 p.m. in the Great Hall in the Halifax Town Hall.
Residents will have an opportunity at that time to voice their opinions and ask any questions that they may have.
A link to the host community agreement is available on the Halifax town website.