Derry board delays vote on Traffic Ordinance

The Londonderry Select Board Monday night discusses speed limits and the proposed traffic ordinance to be voted on at its next meeting. All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2019 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Londonderry Select Board chair Jim Ameden said on Monday, March 4 that it would be best to wait until the next board meeting to vote to adopt a new Traffic and Parking Ordinance.

The proposal lists every intersection currently posted with a stop sign, with a few exceptions, according to board member George Mora, who cited a few intersections that were missing.

Once the board votes to adopt the ordinance, a waiting period of 60 days is required and speed limit signs must be posted before it becomes effective. Once that happens, the parking ordinance of 2014 will be superseded by the new ordinance.

Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe explains the difficulty of changing the ordinance once it is approved.

But, Town Administrator Shane O’Keefe said that any changes to the ordinance after it is adopted would require a second posting and another 60-day waiting period. Ameden said it “would save a lot of time and money” to get it right.

The proposed ordinance was discussed by the board at a special meeting on Feb. 7 and at its regular meeting on Feb. 18, when speed limits were included. On Feb. 18, the board voted to post speed limits of 30 mph on Thompsonburg Road from Route 100 to Rowes Lane and 45 mph from Rowes Lane to Route 11.

Then, on March 4, Traffic Committee member Kelly Capen requested that the board adopt a speed limit of 40 mph instead from Rowes Lane to Route 11. Mora said that even though 45 mph was based on a state recommendation, she has driven the road many, many times and agreed with Capen.

Traffic Committee member Dick Dale said that the many curves along that stretch of Thompsonburg help make a case for the 40 mph limit. The board agreed and voted to a speed limit of 40 mph on Thompsonburg Road from Rowes Lane to Route 100. Already included in the ordinance is a speed limit of 35 mph on all unpaved town roads.

Town Office, Transfer Station repairs

The board agreed to a suggestion by Traffic Committee member Kelly Capen to lower the proposed speed limit along a stretch of Thompsonburg Road.

The board also approved O’Keefe’s request to allow him to execute a contract with Marble Valley Engineering to help with procurement in Phase 1 on the Town Office Planning Project. This phase involves drainage improvements and waterproofing that will help keep the basement dry.

In the contract, for an amount not to exceed $1,300, Marble Valley will hold a pre-bid conference, help with bid tabulation, make a recommendation, and help with site inspection, according to O’Keefe. Marble Valley wrote the specifications for the project, approved by voters at Town Meeting several years ago. The board also gave O’Keefe authority to send out an invitation to bid absent bond requirements to potential contractors for the project.

O’Keefe said he would like to begin work on Phase 2, which is hiring of an architect to remodel the office building. He said his goal is to have a bond ready by this time next year.

Planned upgrades to the electrical system at the Transfer Station are being scaled back after O’Keefe said a non-mandatory pre-bid meeting produced lots of questions. After the meeting, electrician Gary Barton told Solid Waste Administrator Esther Fishman that there were a lot of things in the Request for Proposals that “we don’t need.”

Board member Bob Forbes addresses the Transfer Station repairs, as Tom Cavanagh, right, listens.

Forbes said Barton told him that the planned upgrade to three-phase power was to accommodate a second compactor or a larger one that were never installed. Forbes added Fishman had a grant that “didn’t get supported.”

Board member Tom Cavanagh said this all started years before he joined the board and “somehow slipped thought the cracks and they thought it was still happening.” O’Keefe said he will look into what changes are needed to improve safety. Ameden said “maybe the moral of the story is that we should have a little more discussion before we start jumping right to RFPs.”

In other business

O’Keefe said he sent a broken computer hard drive with a year’s worth of emails to a data recovery company in Ohio at a cost of $899 if they can recover the information and nothing if they can’t.

  • At its Feb. 18 meeting, the board voted to allow the Conservation Commission to donate $5,000 of its funds to the Nature Conservancy to be used “solely for the acquisition of the McGraw property” on Glebe Mountain.
  • Conservation Commission chair Irwin Kuperburg said that its March 19 meeting will be devoted to a discussion by state experts on the threat of the Emerald Ash Borer beetle. The meeting will start at 6:30 and is expected to be held at Neighborhood Connections near the Londonderry Post Office.
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