Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on Monday, 5/15 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed a variet of issues, including complaints about changes and Cooke Park. The board also approved a grease trap waiver for the Registered Marijuana Dispensary (RMD).
The board met with Jaime DeSousa about a grease trap at the new RMD being constructed at 2 Pequod Road.
Mr. DeSousa, who is a member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, explained that he was unaware that the facility needed an external grease trap.The facility has an internal one. The only food that will be made at the RMD are things like cookies and brownies, which do not produce much grease. He said the faciility would probably cook around two days a week.
“I have no problem with it,” BPW member Brian Wotton said, “as long as there is no frying.”
Mr. Wotton agreed that he could not imagine cookies and brownies creating very much grease.
Mr. DeSousa said the RMD would make less grease than a residence does.
BPW Chairperson Mike Ristuccia said he also did not believe that the dispensary will need the external trap He said that after the first three months of cooking, the BPW can take a look at the pipe and see if there is a lot of grease. If it turns out there is too much, then an external grease trap will be necessary.
The board voted to approve a waiver for the external trap, but pipes will be inspected periodically and maintenance reports must be submitted to the BPW.
As he parted ways with the board, though, Mr. DeSousa faced a request from BPW member Robert “Hoppy” Hobson.
“By the way, I’d like a sample,” Mr. Hobson said.
“That’s funny because we tell the contractors ‘we pay you by the pound,’” said Mr. DeSousa.
“No nuts,” added Mr. Hobson. “I don’t want no nuts in there.”
In another matter, the board met with Al Benac who complained about the memorials at Cooke Park.
Mr. Ristuccia explained that last year Gary Lavalette and a few volunteers cleaned up the park and moved some structures around, including the bench that was placed in honor of Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara, a Peace Pole, and some plantings.
Mr. Ristuccia explained that although the BPW is in charge of the parks, when it comes to historical structures like the memorials, the BPW listens to the Historical Commission’s opinion. He said the HC, as well as the Tourism Committee are very much in favor of the work done at Cooke Park.
Mr. Lavalette said that before doing the work he received permission from the BPW, Town Administrator Mark Rees, the Beautification Committee, Historical Commission, and the Tourism Committee. They all supported the changes.
Mr. Hobson argued that the plans to move all the memorials should have gone in front of the BPW before it was all rearranged.
BPW Superintendent Vincent Furtado explained that Mr. Lavalette and the volunteers asked for approval before they moved the memorials. Mr. Furtado said he approved it himself because he figured the board would not care where the items were placed.
Mr. Hobson explained that if the issue was on the agenda and televised for the public maybe someone would have wanted to speak on the issue. BPW member Cameron Durant agreed, and asked Mr. Benac what he felt was lost by the items being moved.
Mr. Benac explained that they look fine and all the memorials blend together, but he feels like the Japanese cherry trees and the bench honoring Dr. Hinohara give the area a Japanese feel, which overshadows the honoring of Cooke.
Mr. Ristuccia suggested that Mr. Benac speak to the Historical Commission about it and try to change their minds because when it comes to the placement of historical items the BPW will do what the HC wants.
Mr. Durant suggested that if Mr. Benac feels that the set-up at the park does not honor Cooke enough then Mr. Benac should try to find additional ways to honor Mr. Cooke.
“I would be more than happy to help you find additional ways to honor Cooke,” Mr. Durant said.
In another matter, the board discussed Verizon’s request to put a cell tower on the Sconticut Neck water tank.
“I think it is a good idea,” Mr. Hobson said.
However, Mr. Furtado said he received an email from the Superintendent in Mattapoisett stating that the antennas on top of the water tank make it hard for maintenance and cause communication issues with the computers that help filter the water.
The board voted not to allow the antenna, with Mr. Hobson the only vote supporting it.
“I have bad reception,” Mr. Hobson said in way of explanation.
The board also reopened the discussion about the new town Human Resources position that Town Administrator Mark Rees has discussed with the BPW.
The board has been hesitant to accept the new HR position for multiple reasons, including how much authority the HR Director would have and the amount of money the BPW would have to pay.
Mr. Furtado said that the position was discussed at town meeting and the job description was clear that the HR director would only be advisory to the BPW.
“The last time we discussed this, Mr. Hobson was against it,” Mr. Ristuccia said. “I think he is right.”
He explained that the School Department has its own Human Resources Department and said that he believes that the BPW would be better off with its own HR Department.
“Is it wise for us to spend $12,000 a year to share an HR person that will not even work in the BPW building,” Mr. Ristuccia asked.
The board tabled the discussion without voting on it.
In another matter, Mr. Furtado wanted to discuss an issue about the Recreation Department.
He told the board that Mr. Rees said there is a disjointedness and lack of communication between the departments/committees in town. Mr. Furtado said the specific issue is some overlapping between the Recreation Department and the BPW.
For example, Mr. Furtado explained, Recreation uses the beaches and parks often, but the BPW oversees all beaches and parks. He said that he did not want the BPW to give away any responsibilities to the Recreation Department. He said if anything he would rather have the BPW take on more responsibilities.
Mr. Ristuccia suggested maybe taking over the Recreation Department or possibly having the Recreation Director work under the BPW.
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