The Plympton Board of Selectmen meeting on Monday, July 22 opened with the final interview for the new animal control officer who will also double as the animal inspector in Plympton. Brian Kling, the current animal inspector in Halifax, addressed the board. In addition to his work in Halifax, Kling volunteers at a number of animal related organizations including the Kingston Animal Shelter where he has served as a volunteer for the last nine years.
Vice-Chair Mark Russo questioned Kling regarding whether or not he would be comfortable deescalating intense situations. Kling responded saying, “I don’t know about the word comfortable, but I’m experienced with it.” Kling went on to explain his past experience as a first level support for EMC Corporation where he would often have to answer to irate customers upset that their expensive equipment was not working properly. He also spoke of deescalating situations involving dog bites as the Halifax animal inspector. Kling, who will continue with his current position in Halifax in addition to the one in Plympton, was appointed unanimously by the board. He is scheduled to start August 1 and his appointment as ACO will run through June of 2020 while his appointment as animal inspector will run through April of 2020.
Plympton Zoning Enforcement Officer Allan Frasier attended the meeting to update the board. Frasier said that in the last year he has fielded 58 zoning applications, 49 of which were approved and nine of which were denied. Frasier also addressed the issue of in-law apartments as they are illegal according to the Plympton bylaws.
Some realtors have been advertising Plympton homes as having in-law apartments so Frasier drafted some general guidelines on the subject and dispersed them accordingly. While a home in Plympton can have a multitude of kitchens, bathrooms, bedrooms, etc., all parts of the dwelling must be accessible to all residents of that home. This means that in-law apartments that are blocked off from the rest of the home (even by means of a locked door) are not legal according to the town’s bylaws.
Selectman John Traynor said that the town may want to explore amending that bylaw as more than thirty percent of Plympton’s residents are over the age of 55. Frasier emphasized that the downside to allowing in-law apartments may come when an inhabitant of that apartment passes away and the owner decides to rent the unit.
Frasier also said that in the last year he has sent out a number of violation letters as well as cease and desist letters. Frasier described some issues with Tractor Supply and said that since the company rents the land, he has been dealing with the corporate owner located in New Jersey. Tractor Supply, who Frasier described as “very accommodating,” must also correct several open trailers for equipment that are in the wrong place.
Another business needing to make adjustments according to Frasier was Winnetuxet River Provide who had some signs on fences without permits. Frasier said he spoke with the owner and offered to discuss what is and is not allowed according to the bylaws.
There were some violations at residential addresses including selling cars without a license that Frasier said have either been corrected or are in the process of being corrected now.
Additionally, a cease and desist letter was sent regarding an unnumbered vacant lot on Palmer Rd. where a non-resident of Plympton has been repeatedly asked to move a large crane and backhoe placed there. Frasier said that he plans to file a criminal complaint since nothing has been done regarding his repeated requests. “There are a few people that I know are not happy with the way I’m ruling on certain things but I do my best to explain to them these aren’t my rules, these are town bylaws; this was written and voted on by the town. If you don’t like what it says, go in and change it.”
Frasier said. “I do feel like we need to be, in some cases, ahead so we don’t get involved after it’s a violation,”
Traynor said. “The thing that attracts people to this town is the rural character of it, the agricultural side, and to the extent we can, we would like to keep that. We can sit down and talk to people about where do we need changes if that is what is needed,” Traynor continued.
The Board also made a number of appointments including town treasurer, town tax collector, and town secretary. There were also several appointments to various positions on the Council on Aging as well as the Recreation Commission and the Historic District Commission. The various appointments will last through June of 2022.
Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy provided updates on various items including the two open town lots in Plympton that are back out to bid with a noon deadline on August 19. (note: that date has since been extended to Sept. 3)
Regarding the renovations to the library doors, Dennehy said that the selected contractor has become unresponsive and a new one may have to be selected.
Dennehy also shared that the town is currently receiving assistance in getting a grant application completed regarding possible improvements to the intersection of Ring Rd. and Main St. Traynor, Scott Ripley, and an engineer met to survey the area in question and gather supporting materials for the grant application. The grant would be for both engineering and design services as well as construction. The deadline for the grant is early August. If approved, the first order of business would be to meet with Mass Department of Transportation (MassDOT) and then to reach out to the residents for public input. Dennehy said that the goal would be to have minimal impact on residents while also creating a safe pass-through for all vehicles.
Concerns over safety issues with Plympton’s municipal buildings were also discussed. There are significant water issues and leaks in the Town House.
Additionally, the building has had to be closed twice in the last few months due to problems with the septic system.
The Board has proposed creating a campus committee with the intention of devising a plan to remedy the myriad of issues plaguing the buildings. The Board said that a phased approach would have to be taken with a five to ten-year plan in mind.
Members of the finance committee in attendance were in agreement regarding the approach as all parties agreed that continuing to throw money away on band-aid like fixes would not be in the best interest of the town.