The Brewster Police Department has promoted Jonathon O'Leary to lieutenant and Michael Mei to sargent.
O'Leary has been with the department since 2002, when he started as a patrol officer. He became a patrol sargent in 2006 and has been the department's accreditation manager. Mei started in Brewster in 2005, prior to that he was with the Eastham Police Department. After that he was on special assignment and served as the department's firearms instructor.
The DPW is still working to relocate Brewster's fuel depot. The old depot was torn out as part of the construction of the new fire station. The plan remains to install a new fuel pump at the DPW headquarters at the recycling center. However, there have been issues with the old landfill site and cap but Brewster now has a location outside the cap that has been approved by the Department of Environmental Protection. The town is now seeking funding for the project.
The DPW was also looking into construction of a new salt shed, however, due to the size of the foundation needed costs soared towards $1 million and the town is now testing pre-treated road salt instead and the shed is off the table.
Planning is also progressing on a redesign of Millstone Road that would install sidewalks on one side by the spring of 2019 and drainage improvements on Route 124. The design for a culvert at Crosby Landing is 75 percent complete. Brewster has received a grant of $105,000 to complete the design.
During last week's storm the entire parking lot at Crosby Landing was flooded with seawater; that wouldn't happen if the culvert is fixed, according to DPW Director Patrick Ellis. The Crosby culvert should be complete by the spring of 2019.
Brewster is also planning patching on Underpass Road and Long Pond Road. The town has a $10 million bond for roadwork and $6.5 million of that remains.
Brewster has been considering establishing a Municipal Affordable Housing Trust and Shelly Goehring of the Massachusetts Housing Partnership gave the select board an overview of what they would need to do on Monday night.
More than 100 towns have done so in the state, as Massachusetts has the fourth most expensive homes in the U.S. and is ranked ninth for rent costs. The home vacancy rate is just 1.3 percent and the rental vacancy rate is 4 percent.
The idea behind a trust is that it would have a funding source and cash on hand to quickly make deals in the real estate market as opposed to the Community Preservation Committee, which can propose deals that then have to go before Town Meeting for approval. The trust could buy land that could be developed as affordable housing privately, purchase properties to be rehabilitated or converted to housing, help preserve existing affordable housing or provide rent assistance.
Goehring said the trust needs sustainable funding, a dedicated chairman, transparency and staff support. Trusts that rely totally on volunteers have struggled.
"Affordable housing today is often very beautiful and very responsive to community concerns," Goehring said. "(But) how would you fund the trust? Because it is difficult to plan if you don't know how much money is coming in. And what would be the focus?"
Towns often want local preference for housing but under state rules the maximum local preference is 70 percent.
Residents on North Pond Road are asking that administrative fees of $5,150 be waived for their road betterment project. The select board was reluctant to set a precedent by doing so. The rationale for the waiver is that the town has two properties on the road and the Brewster Conservation Trust has three, and those do not pay taxes so would not be funding the betterment.
The total cost of the project is about $161,000 and the cost per property owner is about $10,750 and would be paid back via tax assessment's over five, 10 or 20 years. The board referred the request to the planning board.
While Brewster considers whether to approve a 3 percent tax on the sale of recreational marijuana and whether to ask voters to limit the number of recreational outlets to less than 20 percent of the number of alcohol package stores (i.e. one recreational venue in Brewster) the planning board will hold a public hearing on the proposed zoning bylaw regarding marijuana related businesses on Feb. 14.
The warrant for the special town meeting that will take up the issue on March 12, will close on Feb. 15. The select board will also hold its own public hearing on the two articles that will be drafted. The panning board will hold several public outreach sessions with the Brewster Community Network this week, Chamber of Commerce on Feb. 8, and possibly the taxpayer's association and Brewster Men's Club.
The town will also require a host agreement to be negotiated with the vendor for up the 3 percent of the sales. That money would be earmarked to deal with the impact on the community of the business. That agreement would last five years.
As the featured event in its Black History Month program, First Parish Brewster will present “The Diseased Ship: Uncovering Cape Cod’s Connection to the Slave Trade,” a talk by Meadow Dibble Hilley. Free and open to the public, this event will be held Sunday, Feb. 11, from noon to 1:30 p.m. at First Parish Brewster Universalist Unitarian, 1969 Main Street, Brewster.
Originally from Brewster, Meadow Hilley lived in Senegal, West Africa, for six years in and out of college. She received her doctorate from Brown University’s Department of French Studies with a specialization in Francophone African Literature and Film and taught at Colby College from 2005 to 2008. Meadow is now editor of The International Educator newspaper and once again lives in Brewster with her husband and two daughters.
An AG man
Robert Richardson has been appointed to the agriculture commission.
See the movie
The Ladies’ Library will kickoff its One Book, One Town series by watching the 1966 movie "Fahrenheit 451" based on the novel by Ray Bradbury. The film directed by Francois Truffaut, was nominated for the Golden Lion at the 1966 Venice Film Festival. The screening will take place on Sunday, Jan. 14 at 2 p.m. Admission is free, and all are welcome.
In conjunction with the One Book, One Town program, a documentary featuring Zen master and chef Edward Espe Brown, who teaches how cooking can add to mindfulness and wisdom, will be shown Thursday, Jan. 18, at 1:30 p.m.
Also as part of the series, the library will present a one-woman show chronicling the life journey of Bella Indianer performed and written by her granddaughter, Vicki Summers. Summers is a professional actress and drama instructor/director at Riverview School in Sandwich. This play will take place on Saturday, Jan. 20, at 1 p.m. Admission is free.
The Brewster Pond Coalition will present a 20-minute video on the Blueberry Pond Storm Water Remediation Project, produced in collaboration with Lower Cape TV, on Thursday, Jan. 18, at 6:30 p.m. at the Brewster Ladies Library.
Learn how a partnership of Blueberry Pond neighbors and the Brewster Conservation Trust helps to improve water quality. Hear from the partners about the challenges and rewards they faced. Learn about the benefits of creating storm water remediation projects for private ponds in your neighborhood.
The event is free to BPC, BCT and Save Blueberry and Sol's Pond contributing members. All others $10 suggested contribution at the door.
Seating is limited. RSVP to reserve your seat at firstname.lastname@example.org with names and seat count.
All meetings at Town Hall unless otherwise noted
Monday Jan. 15
Town Hall Closed
Wednesday Jan. 17
Finance committee, 6 p.m.
Thursday Jan. 18
Brewster School Committee, 6 p.m.
Friday Jan. 19
All Citizen's Access Committee, at Brewster police Dept. 2 p.m.