Mary Macedo, Neighb News Correspondent
At its meeting on 9/21/20 the Fairhaven Board of Public Works discussed driveway waiver fines, the annual town auction, and a possible independent study of BPW finances.
The board first met with Richard Medeiros about a grease trap waiver for his new business. He explained that he is taking over the old Palace Pizza building on Huttleston Avenue for his new business O-Life, which will sell premade organic meals that are purchased frozen and stored at the customer’s home to be used at their convenience.
Mr. Medeiros said he is asking for an exterior grease trap waiver because all the meals will be made at a different location and will just be sold at O-Life. He said he owns a few other restaurants including Dicky’s Clam Shack.
Mr. Medeiros said that he will be making smoothies at O-Life and will possibly add seating later on when Covid restrictions diminish. He will be putting in a new internal grease trap, but nothing he will be producing in the business with have much grease or fat at all aside from possibly the yogurt in the smoothies.
Mr. Medeiros said there will be no cooking on the property and he has zero plans to turn it into a restaurant.
BPW Chairperson Brian Wotton said that when the board grants a grease trap waiver the town will do routine checks to make sure there is no grease build up in the pipes. If there is an issue with grease they would then require him to put in an external grease trap. However, Mr. Wotton said it did not seem like there would be much, if any, grease at all.
Board member Frank Coelho said he had no problem with it as long as the Board of Health approves it.
The board voted unanimously to grant the waiver.
In another matter the board discussed the annual town auction. BPW Superintendent Vinnie Furtado said that he was not sure if they should hold the auction this fall or if they should reschedule it for the spring. He they could take pictures of all the items and post them on social media/ the town website and do a silent auction type thing.
Mr. Furtado said he spoke with Town Administrator Mark Rees who said that there is software that can be used online to facilitate a silent auction kind of like on Ebay.
Mr. Furtado explained that they could use the software to show the bidding and then also live Zoom. He said that he was not sure how much the software costs.
Mr. Coelho said that a lot of people do not use Zoom. BPW Vice-Chairperson Robert “Hoppy” Hobson said they should just reschedule the auction to the spring.
Mr. Furtado said he would find out how much the software costs and then they can discuss their options again.
In another matter Mr. Furtado informed the board that there is an issue with one of the streets they chose to be paved this year. At the recent special town meeting there was a petition to make Roberts Street a public way, but the eight abutters have to agree within 120 days and some abutters did not agree.
Mr. Hobson said they should not pave the street if it is not a public way. Board member Marcus Ferro said that other people own part of that street, so the town should not pave it.
Mr. Furtado said that if they eliminate Roberts Street they need to pick another road that fits within the budget. Bonney Street and Chase Road are the closest price-wise.
Mr. Coelho suggested paving Chase Road because it takes care of three families on the street where as Bonney Street only helps two. Board member Cameron Durant agreed that Chase Road needed the most help.
Mr. Furtado said he would cancel Roberts Street and have Chase Road done instead.
In another matter the board discussed issues with their driveway violation fines. The board agreed at the last meeting that the driveway violation fines were too low.
Mr. Furtado explained that a bylaw change needs to be voted on by town meeting, and it was too late to add it to the special TM this fall.
Mr. Hobson said an unapproved contractor with no insurance should be fined more.
Mr. Furtado agreed that a $300 fine was too low.
Mr. Ferro said that contractor should pay more because they are doing work with no approval.
Mr. Wotton explained that the contractor should pay much more because the contractor knows better. He said the homeowner usually has no idea that they are doing anything wrong. He added that people pay contractors around $6000 for a driveway and then the town fines the contractor only $300 which is not much considering the money the contractor made on the driveway. He suggested they do more research and see what other towns charge.
The board also discussed the protocol for BPW member site visits. Mr. Hobson said he thinks there should be a protocol in place, log book, etc.
Mr. Furtado said that anytime the board is not meeting the BPW board members are just regular citizens.
Mr. Wotton agreed that there should be a logbook especially for COVID contact tracing purposes. Mr. Ferro agreed that there should be a record of people going in and out.
Mr. Durant asked if, as an elected volunteer, if board members are covered under insurance. Mr. Wotton said they were not unless at a meeting, otherwise board members are just residents.
Mr. Furtado said he would get a logbook and would look into insurance regulations.
Mr. Furtado also told the board he is still looking into finding a company to do an independent finance study for the BPW. He said the Planning Department is doing a study for Union Wharf and they were able to get a grant for it, so possibly the BPW can apply for a grant.
Mr. Hobson said if they can get a grant for it then he would support it, but if the board has to pay for it he would not. Mr. Ferro agreed.
Mr. Furtado also informed the board ABC Disposal does have extra recycline bins for sale to residents but he was not sure of the cost yet.
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