The Board of Selectmen meeting was a busy one on Tuesday night. Selectmen cast two significant votes.
The board denied a Planning Board request for independent counsel on the Park Central project.* And they approved continuing to purse the Main Street Reconstruction project.
Southborough Wicked Local covered both votes, saving me a lot of time of writing them up. So, I’ll just give some highlights and send you to SWL for the rest of the details.
Main Street Reconstruction – still alive, for now
If the state is on board, selectmen will seek bringing easements back to voters at this fall’s special Town Meeting.
If that happens, the board may also charge a committee with researching alternative plan costs with local or state Chapter 90 funds. The board will decide how to proceed based on the state officials’ vote.
That vote was scheduled for 10:00 am this morning. Public Works Superintendent Karen Galligan planned to attend along with Selectman Paul Cimino and possibly Chair John Rooney.
Public Works Superintendent kicked off the Tuesday discussion with a presentation to “debunk” myths. (Click here to see the video.)
The presentation and debate were interesting. Details are worth sharing if the project is greenlit, but not if it’s shot down. So, for now, I’ll direct you to SWL’s article.
Planning Board fails to convince selectmen to approve independent counsel
Planning Board members requested hiring independent counsel in lieu of seeking advice from Town Counsel. They were seeking to receive an objective opinion on what they believed to be overreach by the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The conflict stems from turf questions over a townhouse project at Park Central. Planning reasoned that asking Town Counsel, who has been advising the ZBA, would put him in an awkward position. The board didn’t propose it as getting a second opinion, since they never sought the first opinion.
Town Counsel Aldo Cipriano argued that he represents all of the Town boards in interest of the Town. He argued against the move. And he called Planning Board Chair Don Morris’ claims of great respect for him “disingenuous”.
On Monday night, Planning Member Phil Jenks clarified for the record that he had voted against the request. In January, Jenks suggested hiring counsel. But the board later opted to hold the request. In an April vote, Jenks reversed his position, saying that Cipriano should decide if he could answer their questions. When overruled, he agreed to support the board’s decision.
On Tuesday night, Jenks made the board’s case to selectmen with supporting comments from Morris, member Jesse Stein, and some residents.
Selectman Dan Kolenda made it clear up front that it would be tough for them to convince him to bypass opinions of Town Counsel. In the end, he urged the chairs of Planning and ZBA to sit down with Cipriano and work through their issues and questions.
For more details, click here for SWL’s coverage.
*Editor’s Note: John Rooney and Bonnie Phaneuf abstained from participating in the Planning Board discussion due to conflict of interest and appearance of one.