Administrator post still open
Following its regular meeting Monday night, the Town Council met behind closed doors to discuss the candidates for the town administrator’s position.
Bruce Keiser retired on Sept. 1. Until the council chooses a new town administrator, Finance Director Tina Collins is filling in on an interim basis.
The council announced before going into executive session that it wasn’t going to return for an opensession discussion with the public, Council President Kristine Trocki said.
However, Councilor Blake Dickinson, who is serving on the search committee, said he anticipates the decision will come soon.
Also at the Sept. 16 meeting, the council approved license transfers for the Bay Voyage at 150 Conanicus Ave. The class-B tavern license was transferred from Long Wharf Marina Restaurant to Plantation Catering. The new company will do business as Plantation at the Bay Voyage. After the transfer was unanimously approved, the council also OK’d the transfer of the victualing license between the same two entities.
No one at the meeting spoke for or against the license transfer. However, the councilors had received a letter from Mary Lou Sanborn asking for some consideration of alternative parking.
Trocki said she was “mindful” of Sanborn’s letter but did not feel the parking issue should delay a vote on the license transfers.
During the discussion on the consent agenda, Councilor Mary Meagher raised a question with Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero about the plans to serve wine and beer at Spinnakers at Ferry Wharf. Previously, Meagher said she had seen a report saying the restaurant had been granted a liquor license. She was looking for clarification since only the Town Council has the authority to grant liquor licenses.
According to the consent agenda, the Zoning Board of Review will review two applications for Spinnakers on Tuesday. One is for a special-use permit to allow beer and wine service. The second is for a parking variance.
Meagher asked about the reason for the parking variance.
“They just need different parking arrangements,” Ruggiero said.
During the open forum, William Kelly spoke in support of the Public Works Department.
“I’m a big fan of town employees,” he said. “I think they do an excellent job of serving our community.”
But the work the department is undertaking now to close the landfill is in a class by itself, he indicated. He said workers are doing “a terrific job” at the landfill.
“They are saving the town thousands and thousands of dollars by doing the job in-house,” he said.
Kelly made a trip to the site to observe the job. He is an expert on waste management, he said, and has managed systems that handle in a single day the amount of trash Jamestown generates in a year. He was impressed with the local operation, he said.
“I’m an equipment guy,” he continued. He urged the councilors to back the department’s plans to replace some aging heavy trucks. The town needs the trucks, he said, and added it would be shortsighted of the council not to go ahead with the requests.
Recently, the council voted to go forward with the bids for several pieces of heavy equipment, as requested by Town Engineer Michael Gray.
In other business, if the plans for the historic district at Lower Shoreby Hill ultimately do move forward, there may be at least one change to the district map. Attorney John Murphy put the council on notice that his clients, Tom and Joan Swift, of 40 Emerson Road, want to subdivide their lot. If they did, 20,000 feet would be eliminated from the historic district.
“They have no objection to the ordinance,” Murphy said, “and understand it will cover their house. However, their lot extends all the way back to Bryer Avenue and most lots on the south side of Bryer are not included in this district.”
Murphy suggested the district could be amended to reflect the change by adding the phrase “a portion of” in parentheses after the listing of Lot 205 and striking a subdivision line through the property on the map.
During the general discussion that followed, resident Patricia Lager quipped she might want to adapt that idea and separate from the historic district.
“The Swifts have a great idea,” she said. “Perhaps I need to secede from Lower Shoreby.”
She went on to say she was concerned because there are still “a lot of unanswered questions” about the historic district. She added she hopes the discussion will continue and another vote will be taken among the Lower Shoreby residents to verify most property owners there do support the new zoning.
Councilor Eugene Mihlay said later he would make holding a new vote on the historic district a condition before he could support the plan.
In other business, Town Solicitor Peter Ruggiero was appointed the alternate probate judge.