The Board of Selectmen have posted the agenda for Tuesday, August 2nd. The meeting begins with a closed Executive Session. The agenda cites one item as exempted from open meeting to

discuss the discipline or dismissal of, or complaints or charges brought against, a public officer, employee, staff member or individual.

Given the recent petition asking selectmen to remove Chair Leo Bartolini from the Zoning Board of Appeals, it’s likely related. Nothing on the agenda promises a public response on the issue.

In open session, the board will discuss appointing a new member to the ZBA. They have lined up four candidates to interview, including two current alternates on the board: Carl Damelio, Craig Nicholson, Jeffrey Walker, and David Williams. The ZBA unanimously voted in June to support senior alternate Jeffrey Walker for the position.

Petitioners shouldn’t get too excited about what the interviews mean. This item would have been scheduled regardless of the petition. Recently, Vice Chair Thomas Bhistikul resigned from the board leaving a full time vacancy.  [click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Let it rain: Impact of dry spell on brush fire and crops

Above: You may be bummed by today’s forecast for rain. But, despite the lush look of vegetation above, firefighters and farmers at Chestnut Hill Farm are likely disappointed that it won’t be more. (image left from Facebook, right from farm blog)

Yesterday, I shared that Southborough Firefighters were again battling a brush fire behind Pinecone Lane. Southborough Wicked Local spoke to firefighters and revealed that it was a re-spark of a fire from a week ago. It was proving to be stubborn. The underlying message was that firefighters need today’s forecast rain.

Crews worked for hours put out a brush fire north of Pinecone Lane that rekindled almost a week after it started.

The fire scorched about two acres of land adjacent to the Sudbury Reservoir. On Thursday morning, smoke and small pockets of flame rose from peat moss and downed trees.

Southborough Lt. Christian Dano said a stiff breeze could easily stoke the brush fire, making it spread, but by late Thursday afternoon the fire presented no danger to nearby houses. . .

At the command center of the Southborough effort, Dano said that, without some substantial rain, crews will likely tend to the brush fire for days.

“It gets into the peat moss, it burns underground,” he said. “Really all we can do is hope for rain.” (read more)

They aren’t the only ones effected by the dry conditions. Chestnut Hill Farm’s blog has revealed that the heat waves have made growing this year’s expanded crops a challenge. And last week’s storm didn’t help. It “just danced around the farm”. (Though, that’s probably better than having torn through it!)  [click to keep reading…]

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Post image for Another update on Southborough Town government transparency

Above: The Town website posts upcoming meetings, but often with too short notice for residents trying to follow issues. (website screenshot)

I’m revisiting a post I wrote earlier this year. In February, I took a look at how the Town (through its website) is doing to improve transparency. The answer was it was still falling a bit short.

Given recent complaints from two readers, I decided to look at how the Town shares meeting notices.

On Monday morning, no future meetings were posted. Some have been posted since. But the main issue is that the Town only posts meetings once the official agenda is submitted to the Town Clerk. So, even when a board has meetings scheduled well in advance, it may not be posted on the website until about 2 weekdays prior.

It’s something that had irked me. But until this week, I though I was alone. After the complaints, I decided to check what the practice is in other towns.

Of our direct neighbors, only Ashland (the previous employer of our Town Administrator) doesn’t post meeting dates in advance of agendas.  Hopkinton, Marlborough, Westborough and Framingham all post meeting dates of boards/committees in advance.

Yet, even if Southborough adopts neighbors’ practice, it may not solve the underlying issue behind complaints. After all, I’m not sure how many residents want to know in advance what dates a board is meeting without knowing what is on the agenda. And I didn’t see clear evidence that other Towns were better about sharing discussion items scheduled for agendas any further in advance.

[click to keep reading…]

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On the market this week in Southborough

by beth on July 28, 2016

Post image for On the market this week in Southborough

Above: This home at 3 Wolfpen Lane went on the market this week for $1,050,000 (MLS photo)

Here’s what went on and off the market this week. Thanks to Gail DuBois (email) of Keller Williams for supplying the town’s new listing information for the week.*

New on the market

Sale pending

  • 271 Cordaville Road (map) – 2 unit, 11 total room, 4 total bedroom 2 Family – 2 Units Up/Down – 121 days on the Market, Listed at $384,995
  • 128 Woodland Road (map) – 7 room, 3 bed, 1f 1h bath Ranch – 34 days on the Market, Listed at $399,900
  • 14 Oak Hill Road (map) – 6 room, 3 bed, 1f 1h bath Cape – 13 days on the Market, Listed at $399,900
  • 16 Bantry Road (map) – 8 room, 4 bed, 2f 1h bath Colonial – 119 days on the Market, Listed at $520,000 [click to keep reading…]

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Another brush fire behind Pinecone Lane

by beth on July 28, 2016

The Southborough Fire Department has been busy over the past week dealing with brush fires – including another today:

Just last week, the SFD posted that they had to travel via the reservoir to fight a brush fire behind Pinecone Lane.

And yesterday, the department posted about a brush fire they fought by the reservoir earlier that day – location not specified.

Group 4 on duty, troublesome brush fire on the back side of the reservoir caused by significantly dry conditions compounded by difficult access by boat only, made for a long day for the crews from Southborough, Northborough and Ashland. A special thanks to the mutual aide companies assisting us today.

[click to keep reading…]

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The Town has tweeted good news for readers who missed a comment deadline on Park Central. And once again, reader asked me to share upcoming meetings related to the development.

This month, I shared a deadline for comments on the Environmental Impact Report for Park Central. Unfortunately, it was with a day’s notice. Fortunately, the deadline was extended to August 5th. The Town’s tweet directs commenters to email personnel@southboroughma.com.

In related news, Southborough Wicked Local posted developer Bill Depietri’s reaction to a petition to remove the Zoning Board of Appeals Chair Leo Bartolini. Depietri claimed it’s a stall tactic. He said the project is moving at the right pace. And he continues to defend it as not posing safety problems on Flagg and Deerfoot roads.

As Depietri points out, traffic study experts have consistently reported that safety issues are pre-existing and the project won’t make any significant difference. Traffic studies add only two cars per minute in a peak hour. (You can read the story here.)

Multiple engineers have defended that determining traffic patterns based on an extensive database is accurate. Many residents have argued that projecting most traffic to turn towards Route 9 defies their common sense knowledge about how drivers make decisions on those roads. 

And some who accept expectations that most drivers from the project will head to the Route 9 side worry that the backup for egress to Route 9 will be much bigger than projected. (After all, two cars per minute = 120 cars in one hour.)

Now, here’s a heads up on the meeting schedule for Park Central. With some agendas yet to be posted, I’m including committee meetings that may/may not touch on the topic:  [click to keep reading…]

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Police logs (7/21-7/26): Burglary at Turnpike Liquor

July 27, 2016 11:36:53 AM
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The latest log from Southborough Police Department.

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Handling of crushed pavilion at Fayville to be determined

July 27, 2016 11:11:44 AM
Thumbnail image for Handling of crushed pavilion at Fayville to be determined

As shared on my Facebook page Saturday, the pavilion was crushed at Harold E. Fay Memorial Field & Playground.

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Obituary: Roland P. Flot, 91

July 27, 2016 09:46:02 AM

Roland P. Flot, 91, a longtime resident of Southborough, died at Beaumont Nursing Home in Westborough, on Monday, July 25, 2016.

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Animal motion at the Library – August 2

July 27, 2016 07:28:01 AM
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Animal World Experience will visit the Library an hour early next week.

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Only a few weeks of camp left – don’t miss out

July 26, 2016 03:00:00 PM
Thumbnail image for Only a few weeks of camp left – don’t miss out

Summer is flying by. But there are still opportunities to sign kids up for specialty camps.

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MWDN: Shooting injury at Southborough Rod & Gun Club

July 26, 2016 11:42:54 AM

Metrowest Daily News reports that a woman was injured in the leg yesterday by shrapnel after accidentally discharging her gun at the ground.

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Reminder: St. Mark’s Church camp – week of August 15th

July 26, 2016 09:40:59 AM
Thumbnail image for Reminder: St. Mark’s Church camp – week of August 15th

As usual, the church is holding a mid-August VBS (Vacation Bible School) camp for pre-K to entering 5th grade.

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Obituary: Lois (Johnson) Earhart, 97

July 26, 2016 07:26:33 AM

Lois (Johnson) Earhart, 97 of Southborough, died on Saturday, July 23, 2016 at her home surrounded by her family.

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