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Select Board has light summer agenda

By Courtney Llewellyn

Reminder Assistant Editor

LONGMEADOW On an evening of sweltering heat, the Longmeadow Select Board really got down to business, discussing every item on the agenda in less than an hour.

There were only a few things listed on the agenda for July 9. The discussion about a Franconia liquor license was the single piece of old business, and the new business consisted of appointing Saul Finestone to the Council on Aging Board of Directors and approving of Select Board meeting dates through the end of November.

Hal Haberman, Chairman, also gained board approval for a block party he verbally approved of at an earlier time.

It was also announced that Longmeadow has earned approximately $34,500 in insurance savings from the Massachusetts Insurance Agency (MIA).

The town manager's report announced that the installation of the water main on Dunn Road was successful, and all that remains of that project is to repave the road in that area.

Two residents took advantage of the visitor comment and question period. First, Mary Lowell listed her concerns about decisions of the Zoning Board to allow a property on Falmouth Road to build an addition. She explained that for 22 years, she and her husband had been trying to build a home on Lot 19 on Falmouth Road but had their requests for permits repeatedly denied. The couple sold the property at a loss two years ago.

Haberman suggested to Lowell that this was a matter for further discussion with the town manager, and that the Select Board would need more time to review it.

Lowell requested that the board look into her concerns and discover who was responsible for the zoning decisions made for her property. "I'm curious as to whether or not there may have been factions of unfairness," she said.

The second resident to address the board was Joe Occhiuti, with questions and concerns about the water and sewer rate increases. He was confused by some of the wording in recent newspaper articles and wanted some explanations.

Town Manager Robin Crosbie said that a full report from the consultant that worked on the water and sewer project was available.

She also said that the raise in rates will help pay back a $4.5 million bond the town used for various projects.

"The predicted monies we were looking for are not reaching FY2007 budget expectations," Crosbie said. "The rates have not kept up with our community's needs."

Occhiuti also had a complaint to bring to the board's attention. He said the $10.65 fee to use the water meter in his home seemed unfair. "You're charging me for something I own," he said. "That's double-dipping."

At that point, Occhiuti was asked to bring his concerns back to the Select Board at another time because the visitor comment/question session had ended.

The correspondence covered a wide variety of topics. On June 18, David Kane entered the building inspector's office and violated the practice of no verbal violence in the workplace. He is no longer allowed in the Town Hall.

The New England Youth Soccer Association (NEYSA) is holding a fundraiser to fix up some of the playing fields in town, but there is some controversy with the league. The Parks and Recreation Department grants permits for teams to play on fields, and when NEYSA was denied a permit from Parks and Recreation, they gained one from the School Committee.

"There's a high demand for these fields, especially during soccer season," Crosbie said. She added that the town needs a system to rest and rotate fields, and that there needs to be a solidified system about who can use the fields and when. She plans on working with Mary Vogel of the School Committee to accomplish this.