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BOS Appoints 'Associate' to Conservation Commission

Zipcar ready to sign on the dotted line; should Belmont have permit parking?

The Conservation Commission will now have “associates” joining permanent appointees rather than associate members.

At the Board of Selectmen meeting in Town Hall on Monday, Sept. 26, Chairman Ralph Jones explained there has been some confusion in the past over the number of associate members who join discussions at the Commission’s meetings.

The town’s bylaw, he said, states that the selectmen appoint seven members for three-year terms but there’s no mention in it of associate members. Moreover, he pointed out, the board recently learned that the category of associates does not officially exist.

Jones, however, said he recognizes the need – pointed out on Monday night by Chairman Miriam Weil – for the commission to have people who are familiar with its current business and issues who are ready to step into permanent positions when they become available.

Therefore, the selectmen voted to appoint two associates, one of whom is Barbara Gardner and the other will be a person Weil recommends after several people who have expressed interest in the Commission since 2008 attend a few meetings.

“We need to make a distinction between voting members and the (previously titled) volunteers/associate members,” said Selectman Angelo Firenze. “Only the appointed members should be sitting at the table and making decisions.”

He stressed that the two people who are not appointed by the selectmen as permanent members not be called “associate members” and, in fact, said he did not believe the Commission needed them at all.

Yet Selectmen Vice Chairman Mark Paolillo said Weil made a good point.

“I think there’s a need to have a feeder system and that attendance at the meeting, listening and learning is important for future membership,” he said.

As for members whose current terms are up, the selectmen followed the advice of the Commission for three people and voted to reappoint Weil, James Roth, and Margaret Velie.

Instead of reappointing Martha Moore, however, the selectmen followed Firenze’s advice of “needing new blood” on the Commission and voted to appoint William McCants.

In other news, the board voted to reappoint Mike Smith and Peter Gunness, appoint Terry McCarthy (as the Board of Realtors representative) for permanent members of the Historic District Commission and Ed Bing as an alternate member; and reappointed Bob McGaw to the Registrar of Voters.

DPW: the safest 

Town Administrator Tom Younger asked the selectmen to join him in complimenting the Department of Public Works Highway Division for placing first and second, overall, in a safety competition run by the state. The participants were being tested on their driving skills of large vehicles and Belmont took the top places in five events out of eight teams for five different towns.

Zipcar agreement includes annual rent

Younger reported Belmont now has an agreement withand, as soon as the selectmen sign an agreement at their next meeting, there will be two spaces in the parking lot behind the Belmont Center Fire Department that will bring approximately $3,600 annually to the town.

Request to revisit parking 

Selectman Angleo Firenze asked where “we stand on the overall parking issue in Belmont” and suggested it is time to revisit the issue. In the past, Firenze has proposed a town-wide parking permit program to prevent the town's roads from becoming common parking areas for commuters from outlying communities.  

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