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Old bylaws need new language

By Levon Kinney


WILBRAHAM The Planning and Community Development Board of Wilbraham met with the Board of Selectmen to talk about some of the issues the town faces concerning the laws and bylaws before the public votes at Town Meeting.

Planning Board Chair Edward Stevenson first brought up the issue of two landowners wanting to put up a gate blocking Federal Lane.

"The issue is that both abutters own to the middle of the road," Stevenson said.

Selectmen Chairman David Barry asked if it was a legal question.

"It really depends on where they decide to put the gate," Planning Board member Christopher Leisey explained.

Stevenson said that although maps show Federal Lane connecting to Monson Road, it is not possible to drive a car through.

Selectmen James Thompson pointed out that the fire department has expressed concerns about the proposed gate.

Several articles that will be voted on at the Town Meeting were discussed between the two boards.

Repairs of private ways is a current topic that has been discussed by both boards and the maintenance of these roads would become a town bylaw if voted for.

Changes of language to some zoning bylaws would make it easier to enforce the laws explained Stevenson.

Public ways through subdivisions that are added to the streets and roads in town will increase the number of road mileage through town, making more funding available.

Parking and storage restrictions for commercial vehicles in a residential area are being changed. Planning Board member Eric Fuller explained about the antiquated bylaw.

"What is the weight of an F-150, F-250 and F-350?" Selectmen Patrick Brady asked the Planning Board.

Planning Board Clerk Patricia Ross said that an F-150 is three-fourths of a ton and an F-350 is 10,500 pounds. Special permits can be approved by the Planning Board for any vehicle of 10,500 pounds or more.

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Wilbraham Police Chief Allan Stratton and Interskate 91 manager Kevin Baker met with the Board of Selectmen to report on the incidents involving fighting.

"Over the course of three days in early February we responded to calls at the end of the evening and made five arrests," Stratton said. "One night additional officers from Ludlow were called in for back-up."

Thompson asked the men if there was any indication as to what caused the situation.

Baker explained that the nights in question were extremely busy.

"Everyone just decided to show up," Baker added. "When we get a large group of people the bad eggs tend to slip in. I hope that our record will show that we are a successful business, Interskate 91 has been open for over 15 years and this is the first incident we have had in over five years."

Barry told Baker his concerns about repeat offenses and tried to convey that this is a public safety issue.

Baker said that since the incidents there has been increased outside coverage by security and no calls to the police have been made since the increase.

"The word gets out that we don't accept that kind of behavior and now it is cleaning up," Baker told the selectmen.