By Beth David, Editor
At its meeting on 11/20/23 the Fairhaven Selectboard selected Andrew Romano to be a full time member of the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has an opening after the resignation of Peter DeTerra.
Mr. Romano, Patrick Carr, and Maria J. Carvalho all expressed interest in the position. Mr. Carr and Mr. Romano have been associate members of the ZBA.
Mr. Romano, a real estate agent, told the board that he was honored to be appointed as associate member. He is president-elect of the North Fairhaven Improvement Association, and a Rotary Club member.
Ms. Carvalho told the board that she has 45 years of paralegal experience in real estate law, and served as recording secretary for the Fairhaven ZBA. She said she believed her experience could be useful to the board.
Mr. Carr was not present at the meeting.
SB member Keith Silvia made motion to appointe Mr. Carr, but no one seconded so the motion died.
SB member Bob Espindola made a motion to appoint Mr. Romano, and the measure passed 3–1, with Mr. Silvia voting “no.” SB member Stasia Powers recused herself from the discussion and vote saying a candidate volunteers for her organization.
Later on in the meeting, during the public comment period, Mr. Carr addressed the board to ask them to reconsider their decision.
He asked what the criteria are for an associate member becoming a full time member.
Town Administrator Angie Lopes Ellison said associate members are generally favored to fill full time slots because they have been going to the hearings and, therefore, are able to vote on the petitions.
Mr. Carr asked how they came to pick Mr. Romano as a full time member. They are both associate members, he said, but he has been on the ZBA for more than a year, Mr. Romano has only been on for a few months.
Mr. Carr said he did not know he had to be present in order to be chosen.
The people who are in associate positions are waiting to become full time members, said Mr. Carr and are “paying their dues by doing that.”
He said now they just “jumped over” him for “whatever reason,” and he was not sure why.
“But I don’t think that that decision you made tonight was the proper decision for the full time member,” said Mr. Carr, and asked that they “open that up again,” or revisit it.
He said he spoke with Nick Sylvia, another associate member who also applied for the spot, and Mr. Sylvia withdrew his application because, he wanted Mr. Carr to have it.
“Andrew also said the same thing,” Mr. Carr told the board.
“It needs to be looked at,” at another meeting, he said, and possibly rescind the appointment.
Mr. Carr said the only reason they did not choose him is because he was not there in person.
“But I’m not sure why you would think that somebody who’s been on the board for three months would have the same experience as someone who’s bee there for a year and a half and hasn’t missed on meeting,” said Mr. Carr.
Because it was during the public comment period, the board did not discuss it, and did not make any indication on if it would revisit the appointment.
In another matter, the board voted not to exercise the town’s right of first refusal for two parcels of property on Sconticut Neck Road that the Buzzards Bay Coalition owns and is planning to sell. The two fields are near the water tower on SNR. Allen Decker of the BBC said he was hopeful the person buying it would keep it agricultural.
The BBC also asked for and received a transfer of a conservation restriction on the Douglass Farm from the BBC to the Fairhaven Conservation Commission. Mr. Decker said the BBC is buying the farm from the Douglass family and hopes to make an educational center there. He said the site will allow access to abutting protected properties that are difficult for the public to get to.
The BBC holds the CR on the property and cannot be the owner of the property and the owner of the CR so the transfer is necessary.
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