Falls Village adopts new POCD

FALLS VILLAGE — The Board of Selectmen approved the new Plan of Conservation and Development (POCD) at a special meeting Tuesday, Feb. 13, which was held in person and online.

The selectmen and the Board of Finance both held special meetings Feb. 13 because the regular meeting date of Monday, Feb. 12, was the Lincoln’s Birthday holiday.

The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) approved the 2024 POCD last month. The selectmen voted to recommend the POCD to a future town meeting.

The selectmen appointed Sergei Fedorjaczenko to the Bridge and Infrastructure Committee, and set up a standalone committee to handle the solar project at the town farm site. The new committee will have Chris Kinsella from the Board of Selectmen, two members from the Board of Finance, one each from the Recreation Commission and P&Z, and community members for up to 10 members total.

The selectmen appointed Kim Mahoney to the P&Z per that commission’s recommendation.

First Selectman Dave Barger reported that food scrap collection at the transfer station was 1,100 pounds in October and 1,500 pounds in November and December. Barger said he was pleased to be getting that much weight out of the municipal solid waste stream.

Registrar Susan Kelsey reported that preparations for the new early voting procedures are underway. She said the presidential primary elections April 2 are limited to voters registered as Democrats or Republicans and has four days of early voting, so the flow should be manageable, with early voters using the back door of Town Hall.

The 2024 general election on Nov. 5 is open to all voters and has 14 days of early voting.

“That’s a big disruption” for Town Hall personnel, she said, adding that using another location such as the Senior Center would be difficult because it would require installing communications lines with the state.

But Kelsey was optimistic that the town would manage.

Barger noted that town departments and various outside agencies are submitting spending plans and funding requests. He said he has received several letters asking for more funding for the David M. Hunt Library. Selectman Judy Jacobs looked up the town’s contribution to the library in the current budget — $52,225.

The meeting opened with public comment from Sue Sweetapple of the Falls Village Inn, who said she is not satisfied with the town’s tree and snow plowing efforts over the last few years. She also said that nearby businesses were making nuisance complaints about the Inn:

“I feel we’re being harassed by other businesses around town.”

Laura Werntz spoke in support, saying the Inn is one of the few businesses that attracts visitors to town.

At another special meeting Wednesday, Feb. 14, the selectmen voted unanimously to confirm the appointment of Michelle Hansen as town treasurer/bookkeeper, with a term ending Dec. 31, 2027.

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