About Town — March 14, 2019
by MARGARET WIRTENBERG
Want to feel good about Weston?
Watch the brief Regular Meeting of the Board of Selectmen that was held
on March 7th. You can find the video online via the Town website,
or watch it on Channel 79. It will make clear how valuable a
service the Town provides in making such videos available to those of us
who want to keep up with the actions of local government.
This meeting also illustrates why we here in Weston live in a very
special and desirable place, regardless of what may happen
elsewhere. Creativity and camaraderie in running municipal affairs
Have we mentioned “public-private partnerships” lately? How about
“reduce-reuse-recycle?” Catchy phrases such as these have been
around for a long time. When “Ray Cycle” performed in the Hurlbutt
School cafeteria in the 1990s, replete with a Superman cape, some
current legislators hadn’t yet been born.
Can public-private partnerships help solve the State of Connecticut’s problems?
In its current Session the State Legislators must adopt a budget
covering the next two fiscal years. In my opinion the best
possible outcome would be signified by adoption of a budget no one
likes. In other words, a bipartisan compromise.
I was cheered to read of Governor Lamont climbing aboard the
public-private partnership bandwagon. New possibilities for
dealing with the question of tolls are also exciting. The improved
efficiency of modern cars may force the issue, as a way of compensating
for reduced gas tax revenue.
Would imposing tolls in some manner adequately compensate for
anticipated decreases in gas tax revenue? Knowledgeable voices
must be heard. Those having real world experience with such
matters should be in the forefront of this debate.
There are numerous indications that efficient cars are gradually turning
Connecticut’s funding plans for roads upside down. Where to find a
replacement for lost gas tax revenues?
Major highways serve Fairfield County and other parts of the State as
“fast lanes” to get from town to town. While using back roads can
sometimes be helpful in avoiding traffic delays, generally speaking I-95
and the Merritt Parkway serve as preferred in-State routes to
The journey-to-work data that has become available in the Town Plan
update process appears to confirm this fact. And it was
interesting to hear early in that process, at a presentation by Planning
& Zoning’s consultant, that traffic is down on the major routes
through Weston. While at the same time the number of Westonites
commuting to New York in some manner has been increasing.
What can we conclude from this data? It’s hard to say at this
point. Do those who work at home nowadays have their own firms for
the most part, or are they direct employees of firms or corporations in
Connecticut or NYC, or is work contracted to them by firms in the big
city? And how does that relate to how we use side streets, walking
paths, and roadways in the center of town, as well as to the town
And speaking of the center of town and the Town Plan update, please mark
your calendar for Saturday, April 6th beginning at 10:30 a.m. in the
Weston Intermediate School cafetorium. At that “Town Center
Charrette” you will be able to share your thoughts on these matters with
P&Z, its consultant, and other members of the public who will be
NOTE:“About Town” is also a television
program.It appears on Fridays from 5:30
to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays from 10 to 10:30 a.m. on Cablevision Channel 88
(Public Access).Or see it at www.aboutweston.com.
WE CONTRIBUTE THIS COLUMN TO WESTON-TODAY
What can About Weston website do to keep everyone
informed? Not ever intended as a "newspaper" but more like a
research source, we will continue our website research/ as background for the column.
About Weston now attends the three major boards/commissions we care about:
Board of Selectmen
Board of Finance
Planning & Zoning
We post this our "opinion" column online here every Thursday
WHAT DOES THE LAW SAY? HERE IS WHAT IT SAYS ABOUT "TOWN MEETINGS"...
7-3. Warning of town and other meetings. The warning of each town
meeting, and of each meeting of a city, borough, school district or
other public community or of an ecclesiastical society, shall specify
the objects for which such meeting is to be held. Notice of a town
meeting shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior
place near the office of the town clerk of such town and at such other
place or places as may be designated as hereinafter provided, a printed
or written warning signed by the selectmen, or a majority of them, and
by publishing a like warning in a newspaper published in such town or
having a circulation therein, such posting and such publication to be at
least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day that
notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may
intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of
holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting;
but any town may, at an annual meeting, designate any other place or
places, in addition to the signpost or other exterior place, at which
such warnings shall be set up. The selectmen shall, on or before the day
of such meeting, cause a copy of each such warning to be left with the
town clerk, who shall record the same. Notice of a meeting of a city or
borough shall be given by posting, upon a signpost or other exterior
place nearest to the office of the clerk of such city or borough or at
such place or places as may be designated by special charter provision, a
written or printed warning signed by the mayor or clerk in the case of a
city or by the warden or clerk in the case of a borough, and by
publishing a like warning in a newspaper published within the limits of
such city or borough, or having a circulation therein,
at least five days previous to holding the meeting, including the day
that notice is given and any Sunday and any legal holiday which may
intervene between such posting and such publication and the day of
holding such meeting, but not including the day of holding such meeting.
WHY CAN'T AN ONLINE ONLY PUBLICATION BE AN OFFICIAL PUBLISHER OF PUBLIC NOTICES?
WHAT'S BLACK AND WHITE AND "READ" ALL OVER? ABOUT TOWN.
You will find our videos on YouTube, but we do not use "social media" -
formal communication: mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org
ARTIST'S IMPRESSION OF HOW THE NORFIELD OAK TREE LOOKS NOW AFTER MAKING IT SOMEWHAT SAFER FOR SCHOOL BUS.
WILL THE SCHOOL BUS STILL COME TO A STOP? ACTUALLY, IT SHOULD
WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A CHILD GETTING ON OR OFF - JUST TO BE
Delivery trucks still must cross the yellow line (this was a truck from a
party-supply place); and on the right, coming down the hill
(westbound) the open wound of the missing mast.
INQUIRING MINDS WOULD LIKE TO KNOW IF HIS POWERS EXTEND TO TRAFFIC CONTROL??? Answer: No, but the Police Commission/Police Chief is the last word. Planning Law case
- "Causby's Chickens" rule apply? (Chickens [The Tree] were there before the
airport [2016 traffic].) And don't forget the CT General Statutes ("C.G.A.") on the subject of Town Trees...
The Tree Warden states that it is in fine if not great shape but presents a traffic hazard - is it in his purview (link to C.G.A.) to order the removal of this tree for that reason? Well, maybe it is and maybe it isn't...he's in charge of the tree.
R E E W A R D E N P U B L I
C H E A R I N G A U G U S
T 5 , 1 9 9 8 IT AIN'T OVER 'TIL ITS OVER DEPARTMENT: OAK TREE ON NORFIELD ROAD THREATENED AGAIN?
For those who may remember, and for those who weren't around, including
the Town Administrator, who reported at the Board of Selectmen August
2016 that he had read the minutes of Tree Warden public hearing...About
Town spoke up about the matter (having attended all the meetings of the
Board of Selectmen since mid-1991).
Guess what! About Town has it (the Tree Warden Public Hearing) on
videotape (in our archives in the
basement). It is around one hour long and we just watched it - it is a
League of Women Voters of Weston Presents production. Below is a
"play-by-play" of the event - a "picture story" with the pictures being
screen shots! It had been broadcast on the Government Channel (not
run as a local channel then) as a public service from the League of
PUBLIC HEARINGBY TREE WARDENAUGUST 5, 1998
This was a Tree Warden Public Hearing August 5, 1998 in the Town Hall
Meeting Room. Jean Owens taking minutes. Jim Hoe (l) is the
Tree Warden. Public Works Director Joe Lametta ran the hearing,
calling on "yes" take the tree down group (above). P&Z had
tried to minimize curb cuts during subdivision process and come up with
this plan - which included a condition of approval that the tree be
taken down by the developer. Meanwhile, lawyer for the developer
reports two lots have already been sold. In addition, he points
out that the Town of Weston had turned down an offer to buy the
property. P&Z member sorry they couldn't find another way in
SIX LOT SUBDIVISION WITH WETLANDS AND STEEP SLOPES (SO WHAT ELSE IS NEW?).
Martha Gilson ("First Five" not shown) spoke first, another agreed, then a fellow who
loved the tree testified he
thought two stop signs would work. The next speaker (she is not shown) questioned
why they had to exit onto Norfield in the first place, and
another thought tree slowed people down! The runner proposed speed
bumps and stop signs (he had taken the time to do a time and motion study of a sort) measured the sight lines and couldn't see
any safe possibilities).
AH YES WHAT IS A TREE WORTH? Maybe he was abrupt, but he sure was spot on - destroy a 200 year
old tree for 6 building lots? Not, as we would say in the 21st
century, "The Weston Way." Next - why can't we find a way out?
Why? Most magnificent tree. Save the tree! The next
two speakers picked up on the question. "The tree is worth saving!" said one, and the other
wondered where we'd be if we didn't stand up for the natural environment and spare this tree.
SELECTMAN SHOWS WHY HE GETS ELECTED OVER AND OVER!
"Nobody ever complained before - all of a sudden this is an excuse to
take from the town our heritage" was a BIG applause line!!!
Another nail in the approved subdivision condition's future re: the tree...as this venerable
and always accurate voice stated it had never been a problem before...
AND THEN THE "CUT DOWN THAT TREE" SIDE CAME A CROPPER. OOPS! In response, the unwitting P&Z Chair announced that yes it had
been posted to be cut down a few years ago (no doubt testimony by the
applicant). Neighbor rises to report that it was CL&P who had it
posted, not the town, and implicitly we figure she got her way!!!
Then it was over (total @one hour).
Tree Warden repeats that there
will be a decision in three days. The tree is still standing as of August 2016,
but...Selectmen may be having second thoughts...
For reference, in addition to any other records, there are these "League
Lines" columns published in the FORUM that include references to this
very same tree:
"You can lead a horse to water but you can't make him drink" - effort
to get a secret ballot - which was the precursor to the Referendum that
a Charter Revision Commission made more than a decade later... FROM THE LWV OF WESTON WEBSITE: SPECIAL TOWN MEETING, JAN. 9, 2003, WESTON HIGH SCHOOL AUDITORIUM, 8PM
AGENDA 1. Call to order - First Selectman/done - @8:15pm
2. Introduce Head Table - First Selectman/done
3. Nomination and election of Moderator - First Selectman.
Moderator assumes leadership of the balance of the meeting/done.
4. Appoint Parliamentarian (Susan Moch) and identify Registrars of Voters by name and official counters by name/done.
5. Read statutes re Qualifications of voters and penalties for fraudulent voting/done.
6. Segregate non-voters/done.
7. Note that Town Clerk Cynthia Williams is Clerk of the Meeting/Donna Anastasia, Ass't. Town Clerk in this position.
8. Get motion and vote to waive reading of Call/done.
9. Instruct Clerk to enter Call in the minutes of the Meeting/done.
10. Explain votes to be taken, methods of voting, and method of amendments/done.
a. All votes by voice except for the following:
i. If Moderator cannot determine the prevailing side - take immediate standing vote.
ii. If at least seven (7) voters immediately challenge the Moderator's call of the outcome - take immediate standing vote.
iii.If, prior to taking a vote on a motion on the floor, the Meeting
itself upon a motion duly made and seconded, votes to take the vote on
the pending motion by some other
means (i.e. paper ballot).
11. Explain the rules for addressing the meeting/done:
a. Get recognized by the Moderator.
b. Identify yourself by name and street
c. Address remarks or questions to Moderator; be as brief as
possible; don't simply repeat what others have said; avoid
d. Any issues outside the scope of the Call, or not germane to the motion at hand, will be ruled out of order. 12. Any questions about procedure?/LWV of Weston calls for paper ballot,
voice vote taken ("NO" prevails according to Moderator); LWV
Co-President calls for a division of
the house--gets many more than seven voters to join this motion -
standing count not close (precise number to come)--LWV request fails. 13. Brief remarks re First Resolution - First Selectman/done.
14. Discussion and vote/many speakers against, some for--voice vote called "YES"--challenged; standing count not close.
15. Brief remarks re Second Resolution - First Selectman/done.
16. Discussion and vote/speakers equally divided, voice vote "YES" overwhelming--no call for standing count.