November 8, 2018
by MARGARET WIRTENBERG

Thank goodness for the Board of Selectmen.  They understand what “power to the people” means.  And not just as a political statement. 

At last week’s meeting of the Board a group of Eversource representatives described a preliminary plan for powerline-related activity that could affect those living in the northwest part of Weston.  They will be applying to the Connecticut Siting Council for permission to change poles and control vegetation in their right of way.   If history is any indication, however, the need for Council approval isn’t particularly comforting.

Have you followed the Siting Council’s doings over the past fifteen years or so?  How many times have their actions resulted in threats to our peace and quiet, and perhaps even to our well-being?  I don’t know the exact number, but it is certainly not zero. 

And how many times have we had to stand up to State and even national entities threatening our environment?  Cell tower decisions from the Siting Council.  Flight path decisions from higher levels of government.  Proposals for liquefied natural gas facilities in Long Island Sound.  So many memories.

A young member of the Eversource entourage addressed a small crowd of potentially affected residents at last week’s meeting.  And reopened old wounds, that probably date back to a time when she was in high school.

 I recognized some of the residents who were up in arms in 2003, when 345 kilovolt powerlines were proposed for paths extending from Bethel to Norwalk, and from New Haven  to Stamford.

Then there was the time that the Siting Council granted permission for cellular phone companies to erect devices on CL&P towers.  Very possibly heralding individual companies doing their own thing just about anywhere.  Perhaps in your backyard.

George Guidera was our First Selectman then.  The Board of Selectmen took the Siting Council to court.  The court agreed to let the Town of Weston work out a plan for rental of tower space exclusively on Town-owned property.

Whenever municipal budget season comes around I am reminded of that fight.  The line item in the budget for the tower fund may very well be its most consistently successful revenue producer!

At the meeting last week questions also arose regarding activity Eversource may undertake in or near wetlands.  Existing wooden poles at various locations within their right of way are to be removed and replaced with metal ones.  The concern is the potential for damage to neighboring properties, from a combination of erosion, sedimentation and other effects.  Coordination with and oversight by the Conservation Commission would seem to be in order. 

It is one thing for the power company to supersede local authority if it is necessary to supply power.  It is another thing entirely to risk harm to property and degradation of the natural environment.

 By the way, guess who is to blame for creating the need for this project.  Apparently the culprit is not Woody Woodpecker himself, but his flying cohorts are very much to blame.  A slide demonstrating the need for remedial and proactive responses to the damage they cause was triumphantly displayed by the Eversource spokesperson!

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NOTE:  “About Town” is also a television program.  It appears on Fridays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access).  Or see it at www.aboutweston.com.



 





 

What can About Weston website do to keep everyone informed?  Not ever intended as a "newspaper" but more like a research source, we will continue our website research/ as background for the column.

About Weston now attends the three major boards/commissions we care about:
We post out "opinion" column online here every weekend:  http://www.aboutweston.com/AboutTownthecolumn.html

NOW YOU CAN GET OUR OPINION WITH ONE CLICK: 



R.I.P.
The much derided print edition "Aspetuck News" been disappeared.  Nada - no more "online" edition either.


WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY?  HERE IS WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT "TOWN MEETINGS"...

Sec. 7-3. Warning of town and other meetings. The warning of each town meeting, and of each meeting of a city, borough, school district or other public community or of an ecclesiastical society, shall specify the objects for which such meeting is to be held. Notice of a town meeting shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior place near the office of the town clerk of such town and at such other place or places as may be designated as hereinafter provided, a printed or written warning signed by the selectmen, or a majority of them, and by publishing a like warning in a newspaper published in such town or having a circulation therein, such posting and such publication to be at least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day that notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting; but any town may, at an annual meeting, designate any other place or places, in addition to the signpost or other exterior place, at which such warnings shall be set up. The selectmen shall, on or before the day of such meeting, cause a copy of each such warning to be left with the town clerk, who shall record the same. Notice of a meeting of a city or borough shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior place nearest to the office of the clerk of such city or borough or at such place or places as may be designated by special charter provision, a written or printed warning signed by the mayor or clerk in the case of a city or by the warden or clerk in the case of a borough, and by publishing a like warning in a newspaper published within the limits of such city or borough, or having a circulation therein, at least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day that notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting.

WHY CAN'T AN ONLINE ONLY PUBLICATION BE AN OFFICIAL PUBLISHER OF PUBLIC NOTICES?






WHAT'S BLACK AND WHITE AND "
READ" ALL OVER?
You will find our videos on YouTube, but we do not use "social media" - formal communication
mailto:margaret@aboutweston.com
 


2017 WESTON CENSUS OF DOGS: 
Research in full here.  Unoffical report on Public Hearing Sept. 9...Special Town Meeting or referendum delayed (now 2018).








ARTIST'S IMPRESSION OF HOW THE NORFIELD OAK TREE LOOKS NOW AFTER MAKING IT SOMEWHAT SAFER FOR SCHOOL BUS.


   
WILL THE SCHOOL BUS STILL COME TO A STOP?  ACTUALLY, IT SHOULD WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A CHILD GETTING ON OR OFF - JUST TO BE CONSISTENT!
Delivery trucks still must cross the yellow line (this was a truck from a party-supply place);  and on the right, coming down the hill (westbound) the open wound of the missing mast.






VERY DRAMATIC.  
PUBLIC HEARING SPEAKERS ELOQUENT:  Thanks to WGTV, you may watch the Public Hearing in full - Most recent video here


 
 

NOV. 10, 2016 Public Hearing:  WATCH IT IN ITS ENTIRETY HERE - Especially at 1 hour and 9 minutes in.
INQUIRING MINDS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF HIS POWERS EXTEND TO TRAFFIC CONTROL???  Answer:  No, but the Police Commission/Police Chief is the last word.
Planning Law case - "Causby's Chickens" rule apply?  (Chickens [The Tree] were there before the airport [2016 traffic].)  And don't forget the CT General Statutes ("C.G.A.") on the subject of Town Trees...

        
Why Greenwich and Weston are alike - we are both...green.
Vital Statistics for Tree Warden Public Hearing:
---------

TREE WARDEN PUBLIC HEARING

From the Town of Weston Website:  Please visit to go to links to official documents.


Police Commission Meeting report by About Town for September 6, 2016. 

How about this as related info!  http://www.greenwichtime.com/local/article/Eversource-reports-more-outages-because-of-9200362.php





T R E E    W A R D E N   P U B L I C    H E A R I N G    A U G U S T    5 ,    1 9 9 8
IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL ITS OVER DEPARTMENT:  OAK TREE ON NORFIELD ROAD THREATENED AGAIN?

"PICTURE STORY"

For those who may remember, and for those who weren't around, including the Town Administrator, who reported at the Board of Selectmen August 18, 2016 that he had read the minutes of Tree Warden public hearing...About Town spoke up about the matter (having attended all the meetings of the Board of Selectmen since mid-1991). 

Guess what!  About Town has it (the Tree Warden Public Hearing) on videotape (in our archives in the basement). It is around one hour long and we just watched it - it is a League of Women Voters of Weston Presents production.  Below is a "play-by-play" of the event - a "picture story" with the pictures being screen shots!  It had been broadcast on the Government Channel (not run as a local channel then) as a public service from the League of Women Voters.

  
      
PUBLIC HEARING BY TREE WARDEN AUGUST 5, 1998
This was a Tree Warden Public Hearing August 5, 1998 in the Town Hall Meeting Room.  Jean Owens taking minutes.  Jim Hoe (l) is the Tree Warden.  Public Works Director Joe Lametta ran the hearing, calling on "yes" take the tree down group (above).  P&Z had tried to minimize curb cuts during subdivision process and come up with this plan - which included a condition of approval that the tree be taken down by the developer.  Meanwhile, lawyer for the developer reports two lots have already been sold.  In addition, he points out that the Town of Weston had turned down an offer to buy the property.  P&Z member sorry they couldn't find another way in and out.

     
SIX LOT SUBDIVISION WITH WETLANDS AND STEEP SLOPES (SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?).
Martha Gilson ("First Five" not shown) spoke first, another agreed, then a fellow who loved the tree testified he thought two stop signs would work.  The next speaker (she is not shown) questioned why they had to exit onto Norfield in the first place, and another thought tree slowed people down!  The runner proposed speed bumps and stop signs (he had taken the time to do a time and motion study of a sort) measured the sight lines and couldn't see any safe possibilities).

  
AH YES WHAT IS A TREE WORTH? 
Maybe he was abrupt, but he sure was spot on - destroy a 200 year old tree for 6 building lots?  Not, as we would say in the 21st century, "The Weston Way."  Next - why can't we find a way out?

      
AND AGAIN
Why?  Most magnificent tree.  Save the tree!  The next two speakers picked up on the question.  "The tree is worth saving!" said one, and the other wondered where we'd be if we didn't stand up for the natural environment and spare this tree.




SELECTMAN SHOWS WHY HE GETS ELECTED OVER AND OVER!
"Nobody ever complained before - all of a sudden this is an excuse to take from the town our heritage" was a BIG applause line!!!



THE WORD
Another nail in the approved subdivision condition's future re: the tree...as this venerable and always accurate voice stated it had never been a problem before...

   
AND THEN THE "CUT DOWN THAT TREE" SIDE CAME A CROPPER.  OOPS!
In response, the unwitting P&Z Chair announced that yes it had been posted to be cut down a few years ago (no doubt testimony by the applicant).  Neighbor rises to report that it was CL&P who had it posted, not the town, and implicitly we figure she got her way!!!


Then it was over (total @one hour). 
Tree Warden repeats that there will be a decision in three days.  The tree is still standing as of August 2016, but...Selectmen may be having second thoughts...

For reference, in addition to any other records, there are these "League Lines" columns published in the FORUM that include references to this very same tree:

WHEN IT STARTED - After the red line was drawn on The Tree, post-Tree Warden declaration;
"LEAGUE LINES" REPORTS NEXT:  July 23, 1998, July 31, 1998 and September 3, 1998.





"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" - effort to get a secret ballot - which was the precursor to the Referendum that a Charter Revision Commission made more than a decade later...
FROM THE LWV OF WESTON WEBSITE:
SPECIAL TOWN MEETING, JAN. 9, 2003, WESTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM, 8PM

AGENDA
1.  Call to order - First Selectman/done - @8:15pm
2.  Introduce Head Table - First Selectman/done
3.  Nomination and election of Moderator - First Selectman.  Moderator assumes leadership of the balance of the meeting/done.
4.  Appoint Parliamentarian (Susan Moch) and identify Registrars of Voters by name and official counters by name/done.
5.  Read statutes re Qualifications of voters and penalties for fraudulent voting/done.
6.  Segregate non-voters/done.
7.  Note that Town Clerk Cynthia Williams is Clerk of the Meeting/Donna Anastasia, Ass't. Town Clerk in this position.
8.  Get motion and vote to waive reading of Call/done.
9.  Instruct Clerk to enter Call in the minutes of the Meeting/done.
10. Explain votes to be taken, methods of voting, and method of amendments/done.
a.  All votes by voice except for the following:
i.  If Moderator cannot determine the prevailing side - take immediate standing vote.
ii. If at least seven (7) voters immediately challenge the Moderator's call of the outcome - take immediate standing vote.
iii.If, prior to taking a vote on a motion on the floor, the Meeting itself upon a motion duly made and seconded, votes to take the vote on the pending motion by some other
means (i.e. paper ballot).
11. Explain the rules for addressing the meeting/done:
a.  Get recognized by the Moderator.
b.  Identify yourself by name and street
c.  Address remarks or questions to Moderator;  be as brief as possible; don't simply repeat what others have said;  avoid personalities.
d.  Any issues outside the scope of the Call, or not germane to the motion at hand, will be ruled out of order.
12. Any questions about procedure?/LWV of Weston calls for paper ballot, voice vote taken ("NO" prevails according to Moderator);  LWV Co-President calls for a division of
the house--gets many more than seven voters to join this motion - standing count not close (precise number to come)--LWV request fails.
13. Brief remarks re First Resolution - First Selectman/done.
14. Discussion and vote/many speakers against, some for--voice vote called "YES"--challenged;  standing count not close.
15. Brief remarks re Second Resolution - First Selectman/done.
16. Discussion and vote/speakers equally divided, voice vote "YES" overwhelming--no call for standing count.
17. Adjournment/@9:30pm..