DOVER — Here’s the latest from the Dover Board of Selectmen:
… During the board’s meeting on Thursday, Feb. 27, Board Chairwoman Robyn Hunter announced she is running for re-election.
… Members of the Historical Commission came before the board with several proposals. The first would be to move a historic building (about the size of a small house) to another part of town, preferably to a spot on Chickering Fields.
The commission has approached several town boards, including the Recreation and Parks Department, for input.
The board requested more information from the commission.
“It’s premature to decide on this,” said Hunter.
The next proposal was a lot more definite — to honor local historian and longtime resident Paul Tedesco, who died in November 2019 at the age of 90. The commission is having a bench outside the Highway Department garage (the onetime site of the Hodgson Homes factory, a favorite subject of Tedesco’s) inscribed, with a dedication tentatively scheduled for May. The Selectmen approved the proposal.
The commission would also like to update the demolition delay bylaw. Richard Eells, the commission’s secretary, said that when the bylaw was first enacted, it focused on houses built before 1929. The commission would like to change that to houses older than 67 years.
The bylaw imposes a one-year delay on demolition to give the commission a chance to work with homeowners and developers to save older structures.
Hunter said they would like to get more information from the commission, such as how many homes in town would be affected by the change.
… Water, and how best to share it, was the subject of two possible Town Meeting articles presented by Board of Health Chairman Gerry Clarke.
One proposed article would deal with a longstanding problem — excessive outdoor water use via irrigation. According to Clarke, the town currently has no legal mechanism to deal with excessive use, and Colonial Water Company, the town’s main service provider, is looking to town to come up with that mechanism.
Clarke said the board is working on a hydrology report to back up the claims of excessive water use, but the report has been delayed. Because of that, the proposed article is being withdrawn.
The other proposed article also deals with enforcement. When the board discovers homeowners with wells that violate town and state regulations, the boards sends a letter. If there is no response, the board can place a lien on the house. However, according to Clarke, there’s little if any further action.
The board would like to adopt Mass. General Law 40U, which allows municipalities to take certain violators to court (failure to remove snow and ice, for example), in order to take violators to Mass. Housing Court on criminal charges.
The Board of Health will have the request to adopt 40U added to the warrant.
… Amey Moot, the chairwoman of the Open Space Committee, gave Selectmen an update on the proposal to create a conservation restriction for Hale Reservation.
Currently, the 1,100-acre site that straddles Dover and Westwood has no such restriction, which would protect the site from development.
Moot said that Hale has a small endowment, with user fees helping to cover a $3 million annual operating budget.
“We’re trying to create an endowment,” she said; funds would come from private and public sources.
The possibility exists for Hale to sell part of the reservation for development, with the funds to go toward the endowment.
Moot said the task force is requesting a Town Meeting article for $50,000 to appraise the Dover portion of the reservation.
… In preparation for the annual Warrant Committee Open Hearing on March 16, Town Administrator Chris Dwelley presented a look at the fiscal 2021 budget. He projected a 2 percent overall increase for fiscal 2021, with increases to health and liability insurance, retirement fund and the schools.
There will also be budget increases to help cover the costs of part-time help for the Highway Department, Dover Town Library and the Council on Aging.
… The Selectmen also took a look at the Town Meeting warrant with TM Moderator Jim Repetti. They discussed articles that could be withdrawn, and some that could be consolidated, in order to keep Town Meeting to one night.
After discussion, the board voted to execute the warrant.
… Under Town Administrator’s update, Dwelley said work toward a new town website is progressing, along with the effort to find an owner’s project manager for the Caryl Community Center.