HALIFAX– On Wednesday, June 22, Halifax Selectmen met and finished the bulk of the work in finishing an update to a 23-years-old consent agreement with Scott Clawson and Fieldstone Farms to hold horse shows. The Board also signed a dispatching agreement with Duxbury and heard from Jeffrey Bolger regarding concerns with access to Silver Lake from a Brandeis Circle lot.
The Board signed an agreement with the Duxbury Regional Emergency Communications Center (D.R.E.C.C.) to contract-out Police and Fire dispatching services for five years.
The Board states that no changes to service will be noticed, other than the lack of a physical human dispatcher sitting in the Halifax Police Station, and that the agreement is contingent upon upgrades to the Police Station.
There are plans to build a “safe-room” at the station, where someone could lock themselves inside, communicate with a remote dispatcher, and take shelter in an emergency until an officer arrives, as no one will be physically in the station at some times during the night with this change
Grant money from the State will be used for these upgrades, as well as to fund necessary technology upgrades, for both Halifax and Duxbury.
According to Selectman Kim Roy, contracting out dispatching to Duxbury will represent significant savings, in the realm of $175,000, each year of the 5-year contract.
The D.R.E.C.C. already handles call-taking and dispatching for the Town of Plympton as well as the Town of Duxbury. Plympton had a very smooth transition to regional dispatch, according to Selectman Tom Millias, who works as the Building Inspector for Plympton.
Clawson agreement hammered out
After months of negotiating, Scott Clawson and Fieldstone Farms will receive much of what they are asking for in a consent agreement painfully hammered out over many meetings. At this meeting, Clawson and his attorney, Phil Taylor, went over a draft agreement paragraph by paragraph.
The changes began when Scott Clawson, proprietor of Fieldstone Farms was originally called before the Selectmen because he had advertised more show dates for his annual “Class A” equestrian event than original agreement allowed.
His horse shows are governed by a 23-year-old consent agreement that came about due to an action by the Building Inspector at that time which was litigated, and a settlement was reached with the town.
The original agreement was signed by Clawson, as well as the Board of Selectmen, the Zoning Board of Appeals and the Building Inspector. Clawson, through his attorney, asked the board to change the agreement only after he was called before the Board to explain his excess shows.
But, the Board argued with Clawson and his attorney stating that the reason the board has summoned him in the first place was because of the fact that he had advertised too many shows in violation of the agreement. Clawson never was supposed to be there asking for more shows–or anything for that matter, he was there to explain himself for the violation.
In the end though, Clawson will receive more shows (not to exceed 30 days of shows), an increased number of horses (through changing the way that horses are counted; by “entries” not by “head” as one horse could be entered multiple times in a multi-day show), an increase in the number of RVs that could park overnight during shows for security staff, as well as other updates in the language to address today’s concerns. He will also be able, from time to time, to ask for an extra date or two if he gives the Board sufficient notice.
Clawson says he wants to leave the business to his children, and wants to work out an agreement that will cover the Board’s concerns for years to come. The Board plans to sign the agreement at their next meeting on July 12.
Silver Lake concerns
Jeffrey Bolger, of Brandeis Circle, came before the Board to address a pressing concern of his: access to Silver Lake.
With a recent drowning on the lake, residents are concerned about people driving in and parking near the reservoir for recreational purposes.
“I don’t want to be a hypocrite…I own a kayak and I’ve been out on the lake,” said Bolger. But Bolger is concerned with the volume of people parking and using the lake, and parking and leaving litter in his neighborhood, as well as safety issues.
The issue originally arose when a parcel of land (Map 23 Lot 2) was gifted to the Town back in 2007, according to officials. The only problem is that the gifter did not have the title to the property, could not be gifted and today the Town does not own it. This is the area of Brandeis Circle that recreational lake users gather.
Bolger suggested putting up “No Parking” signs along the stretch of road, such that Halifax Police could enforce them.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig stated that he thought this was an excellent idea, especially for its simplicity because there are complex jurisdictional issues at Silver Lake– it lies in four towns but is a reservoir for the City of Brockton, who controls the water.
The Halifax Board of Selectmen next meets Tuesday, July 12, at 7:30 p.m.