Derry board to ask for compensation in mural destruction; zoning enforcement to be stepped up

Board member Jim Ameden suggests that Ed Brown put money into a ‘wall fund.’ All photos by Bruce Frauman.

By Bruce Frauman
©2017 Telegraph Publishing LLC

The Londonderry Select Board on Monday voted to propose to the Brattleboro Community Justice Center that restaurateur Ed Brown make a $3,000 contribution to a fund for the wall that he painted over back in September.

Brown had said he painted over a mural, on the Route 11 retaining wall that had been designed by Flood Brook students, as a “favor to the town” since “it was peeling and fading and didn’t look nice.” The wall is owned by VTrans, which had given the town the right to paint a mural on it.

State Police had charged Brown with unlawful mischief, and in late October or early November, the Windham County State’s Attorney remanded Brown’s case to the Community Justice Center to see if negotiations with the town could lead to some kind of mutually satisfying agreement.

Then on Nov. 16, new Town Administrator Robert Nied and Select Board chair Paul Gordon met with Jackie Trepanier, the program coordinator of the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, to begin talks with Brown.

Board member George Mora suggested implementing several ways for community input to any changes to the wall.

During discussion Monday on what route to take during negotiations, Londonderry Select Board member Bob Forbes said that given Brown’s artistic abilities, there may be ways he could contribute.

Member George Mora said that before a decision is reached on the wall, there ought to be several ways for town residents to make their opinions heard. And Gordon said that it will look toward the best way to get community input at a later date.

Member Jim Ameden then suggested Brown contribute to the “wall fund,” and the proposal to ask for a $3,000 contribution passed. Gordon will talk with Trepanier next week to convey this proposal and hear Brown’s suggestion. If negotiations were to continue, Gordon said, board discussion could be held in executive session.

Zoning enforcement to be stepped up

Nied, who is also the town’s new zoning administrator, said his

New Town and Zoning Administrator Robert Nied to step up zoning enforcement.

office has known for some time there is a backlog of compliance issues, where work was done without proper permitting or approval.

With the Listers Office reviewing town properties, Nied said he is becoming aware of more properties out of compliance with zoning regulations. “We need to take some action going forward,”  he said.

He said that he will allot some of his time to enforcement. But Nied added, rather than being punitive, he will work with property owners and add more information to the town website. Nied said that properties that are in compliance help keep property values up and owners avoid problems at closing when they sell.

Salt shed construction, color and more

Work on the town salt and sand shed is continuing,  but Gordon said 4 x 8-foot sheets of 3/4” thick plywood are needed to line the top of the concrete wall so sand and salt cannot fall back between the concrete wall and the siding. All Seasons Construction offered to buy and attach these plywood sheets for $1,330, a price the board accepted.

The board also approved colors for the salt and sand shed from samples provided by the contractor. The roof will be a fern green while the siding, fascia and soffit will be desert sand.

There have been no bids for upgrading the roadway from the southern and northern entrances to the Prouty Land from Route 11 to the site of the new building. This will be necessary to support large trucks bringing salt and sand to the building. Gordon said local contractors will be asked to do the work on an hourly basis.

Gordon said the state did approve the purchase of salt by the town while the salt and sand shed is being built. The town will pay as the salt is used.

Ready for snow and snowmobiles

Jim Ameden, as road commissioner, said the road crew is all set for the first snowstorm.

The board gave permission for the Chester Snowmobile Club to use a portion of Lowell Lake Road from Route 11 to Coburn’s Way. Club member Dick Jewett, expressing regret that use of public roads is necessary, said, “We don’t like being on the road” but for the past four or five years, the club is unable to find private land owners along that route who are willing to host the snowmobilers.

Gordon also reminded town committee and commission members and heads that because of the state Open Meeting Law, agendas needed to be sent to him no later than two days before a meeting and minutes must be submitted within five days of a meeting so that he could post them in a timely manner. If there is a continuing lack of adherence to these rules, Gordon said, there may be suspension and adjustments of the committee meetings.

The board also set the schedules for its regular meeting for the next several months. It will meet on Dec. 4 and 18, 2017 and then, in 2018, on Jan. 8 and 22 and Feb. 5 and 19. Budget planning meetings began Nov. 20 and will continue on Nov. 27 and 30. Candidates Night will occur on Feb. 13, 2017

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  1. Kelly Capen says:

    I am still in favor of the wall needing repair/prior to the repainting! I hardly notice it now, as it blends into the area, as a driver. We could clearly see it was crumbling and faded, as it stood!!! So, maybe in this sense, the fact it is crumbling … he may have done us a favor, by bringing attention to it?