Meeting with the Halifax Board of Selectmen Tuesday night, Candace Kniffen of the Halifax Beautification Committee, reviewed the rules governing the newly established gift account for the maintenance and upkeep of the Fitzgerald Garden.
Kniffen told the board that donations have been coming in and she and her committee would like to use some of the funds for hiring a landscape company in the spring to do the routine maintenance and upkeep of the garden, which honors the late longtime beloved Halifax volunteer Peg Fitzgerald.
Kniffen also said that she had approached the Silver Lake horticultural program for their help in landscape design and choosing plants that are likely to do well in the garden. She asked selectmen if they would approve extending the garden plan to include foundation plantings around the Town Hall building itself, to complement the garden. Their response was a resounding “yes”!
She asked selectmen if they need to acknowledge gifts to the garden account or if the Beautification Committee can do it. Selectman Kim Roy told Kniffen that they would like to be informed of gifts to the account and might like to send an additional note of appreciation, but that should in no way interfere with her committee sending thank you notes. Kniffen also said that she mentions at the bottom of her letter to donors that their gift is tax deductible and that the letter should serve as the donor’s receipt for tax purposes.
Town Administrator Charlie Seelig told selectmen that the town treasurer has told him she has about 18 abandoned properties in foreclosure, as the town attempts to clean up these parcels and make a plan as to how to get them either into saleable condition, demolish them, or take any other action.
At the last selectmen’s meeting on Sept. 26, three boards came together to discuss how to deal with these properties that in many cases are a blight to the neighborhoods and can be dangerous. At that time, Seelig asked their boards’ input on how to craft new by-laws to more easily classify abandoned properties and describe the action(s) to be taken by the town.
Seelig said that he had hoped they would have a new by-law on the special town meeting warrant this November, but information from the boards has been slow to come and rather than have a hastily written by-law which might not serve well, he would like to have a carefully crafted by-law to present to the town at the annual Town Meeting in the spring. “We have basically run out of time to have them at the Special Town Meeting in November,” Seelig said. He suggested they delay any action until the May annual town meeting. “If we’re going to change the multi-family by-law, it needs to be done thoughtfully,” he said.
Special Town Meeting
Selectmen have scheduled the Special Town Meeting for Monday, Nov. 20, at 7:30 p.m., pending school availability.
Laurel and Circuit streets ‘Thickly Settled’
Residents of Laurel and Circuit Streets met with selectmen, to plead their case for stop signs at the four-way intersection, as well as signs to limit speed.
Seelig told selectmen that a new bill signed into law by Gov. Charlie Baker allows towns to post new signs limiting speed to 25 mph, declaring the area “thickly settled” without all the former testing and red tape. Seelig sent a notice to all residents of the two streets asking their opinion and he told selectmen that he received a number of responses, all favoring the reduced speed limit and signage. Police Chief Ted Broderick favors the 25 mph limit, Seelig said.
Philip Salvatore of Laurel Street said that he favors the 25 mph ‘Thickly Settled’ signage. Selectman Tom Milias said, “This does give law enforcement another tool.” Gene Lyczynsky of Circuit Street, when asked if he would like to add anything, said, “You guys got it all!”
Selectmen will confer with the highway surveyor after unanimously voting to implement the plan.
Highway Surveyor Steve Hayward brought in plans for a Cremation Wall to give a dedicated space for cremation urns, rather than have each take up a grave plot. The Halifax cemetery is running short for space and Hayward said he would like to be able to offer other options. He brought several photographs of some of the choices available, including a wall with niches for urns, a circular structure with spaces for urns, or a combination of both. Selectman Milias said he thought the matter was “worth pursuing.”
Selectman Roy asked Hayward, “Do you want to design it?” “I’d love to,” was Hayward’s answer.
Hayward also told the board that he has had a couple of complaints regarding plantings or decorations being damaged by mowing, and he wants to post the cemetery rules and regs by the water spigots so everyone knows what they are. Selectmen agreed.
Trucks vs. school buses
Brendan Moquin, representing Morse Bros., appeared before selectmen to answer concerns that their gravel removal operation was interfering with school bus traffic on Lingan Street and Indian Path.
Moquin said that the gravel removal project will be completed within four to six weeks. He said that he has coordinated with the contractor, and got the school bus schedule so there will be no further interference.
Selectman Troy Garron, who lives in the area, said that he has not seen any further violation. “Indian Path wasn’t part of the deal. Never was,” Milias exclaimed.
“If the rule is broken again, I will be pulling the permit,” Roy told Moquin. They will not tolerate further interference.
Selectmen’s next regularly scheduled meeting is Tuesday, Oct. 24.