Selectmen on ZBA: Discussion in closed session; interview of new candidates Tuesday night

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. 

In June, selectmen postponed a decision on filling the vacancy. They sought to research shortening the five year term length for the position. The term for a ZBA member is two years longer than those of the elected selectmen who appoint them.

As for the impact on Park Central decisions, it’s not likely to add “fresh blood” to hearings. Based on discussions in previous ZBA meetings, it is doubtful that a new member would be involved. The three sitting members on the project comprise a quorum: Bartolini, Paul Drepanos, and David Eagle. Unless one of them steps down (or is removed) the members overseeing that decision are unlikely to change. (Bartolini has stated is that for legal standing, it’s best to rely on members who have been following the hearings from the outset. That’s true of all applications, not just the controversial development.)

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