Derry board mulls administrative openings, police coverage

By Bruce Frauman
©2018 Telegraph Publishing LLC

Board chair Jim Ameden said Sharon Crossman, assistant town administrator, will be interim zoning administrator.All photos by Bruce Frauman.

The majority of the business done by the Londonderry Select Board on Monday, Nov. 5 was handled in executive session to discuss personnel issues and compensation concerning filling the positions that Robert Nied’s departure on Nov. 1 left open.

For the past year, he has served as town administrator and zoning/floodplain administrator.  The town has since split the jobs into two and is seeking a full-time town administrator and a full-time zoning administrator/floodplain administrator.

Board chair Jim Ameden said Sharon Crossman, assistant town administrator, has agreed to act as interim zoning administrator.  He also said that since she is already a town employee the board did not need to take formal action. Kevin Beattie, who is married to Crossman, was appointed to  interim town administrator at the existing hourly rate. Treasurer Tina Labeau said when Beattie was town administrator, he was earning more than Nied.

The Phoenix 6 Fire Company, serving Londonderry, was granted its request to ask for $80,000 on an article on the town warning for a new Ford F-550 four door crew cab truck.  James Ameden Jr., speaking for the fire company, said the total cost will be $150,000. The department is putting in $45,000 and will be requesting $25,000 from the town of Landgrove. Ameden said this four-wheel drive truck will replace their mini-pumper and will hold air packs and ladders.

Windham Sheriff offers policing coverage

In other business, board chair Jim Ameden said the Select Board received an offer from the Windham County Sheriff’s office to provide coverage for $40.65 per hour for more than 2,000 hours a year and $51 for less than 2,000 hours. The Vermont State Police currently patrols the town and has been able to provide some extra coverage at a rate of $50 per hour, according to Labeau.

The VSP has cut back on paid coverage, board member Bob Forbes says.

Two years ago, the VSP was able to provide 25 hours a week of extra coverage. Board member Bob Forbes said that number has been declining due to staff shortages and an unwillingness of officers to work on an overtime basis. Ameden said the Sheriff’s offer will be discussed at Town Meeting in March.

Board member Tom Cavanagh said the disbanded Policing Committee was not inclined to hire the Sheriff’s office because the majority of their patrols result in traffic stops rather than criminal investigations.

Board member George Mora said a formal meeting with Lt. William French, commander of the of the VSP Westminster barracks, would be warranted given the on-going drug problem that is leading to more burglaries.

Labeau said the liming and haying of the septage field on Route 100 North has been completed for the fall.  More lime will be spread in the spring to reduce the acidity of the soil.

Off the grid home proposed for Under Mountain Road

Regarding a request for a house to be built at 609 Under the Mountain Road, Dwight Johnson, of the Development Review Board, said there is “nothing in the town bylaw or elsewhere in the town to prevent this relatively small home from being built.”

DRB member Dwight Johnson speaks on a proposed home for Under Mountain Road.

Johnson said he thought the proposed house is in the Conservation Overlay district and Act 171 allows towns to restrict development in these districts, but that Londonderry has no written policy addressing that. He added that the house will be solar, energy efficient and off the grid, and that the DRB will require that the berms along the driveway be smoothed out to “minimize any adverse affect of animals” moving around.

The Select Board then approved the access permit for the home’s driveway as long as it conforms to the town road policy. Ameden, acting as road commissioner, said some grading must be done to prevent water from running into the town road. Road Foreman Mathew Rawson said he has explained to the owners and excavators what needs to be done and everyone seems to be “on the same page.”

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