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Board considers building codes

Westborough – Four weeks after its last meeting, the Board of Selectmen met Aug. 17 to a full agenda. Discussion topics included a public hearing on proposed changes to the town building code, a bylaw which limits town kennels to 20 dogs, and recent vandalism downtown. The group also acknowledged individuals who assisted in the tragic boat accident at Mill Pond July 4.

Selectman Leigh Emery announced a public hearing on a proposed change to the town’s building code. The hearing will include information about the proposed Stretch Energy Code, and it will provide a setting for public input.

Since May 4, the ad hoc Green Technology Advisory Committee has been presenting information on the Stretch Energy Code to various committees and organizations in town. On Aug. 16, an information session was presented to residential and commercial builders.

“Contractors were very critical of it,” Emery said.

She added that the initiative is controversial because it is costly to implement. Emery noted that the upside is a reduction in energy use and its expense once the code is put into practice.

In addition, the owner of a dog daycare and spa facility in Ashland came before the board to ask about altering a town bylaw. Thalia Haseotes of Southborough was planning to expand her Camp Canine business into a 6,000-square-foot facility in Westborough, but she said she stopped her plans after learning that the town has a bylaw limiting kennels to 20 dogs.

After some discussion, the selectmen agreed that Haseotes could pursue a change in the bylaw without the selectmen by taking steps to present the issue at Town Meeting.

Police Chief Alan Gordon addressed the board about an increase in vandalism around the town. Specifically, he noted spray-painted graffiti on a large wall near Bay State Commons between Cottage and Brigham streets. He said the vandals also hit Dairy Queen, Roche Brothers, the Rotary Diner, and street signs.

“We think it’s the kids in the area,” Gordon said.

He explained that the vandals are using the letters GS in their markings. Gordon suspects that the letters stand for Green Street, an area where he thinks the vandals might frequent.

The selectmen asked Gordon to explain what would happen if the vandals are apprehended.

“They can be charged with tagging, fined and given probation,” Gordon said.

He added that a juvenile offender might have to delay getting a driver’s license until age 18. If found guilty, an off ender will have a criminal record. In addition, the off enders could be charged for the clean-up efforts, according to Town Manager Jim Malloy.

The Board of Selectmen also recognized the many who were involved in responding to a boating accident at Mill Pond July 4. Responders included police and fire department personnel, members of the Explorer Post 85 Emergency Services, a member of the DPW, and Roche Brothers.

Gordon explained that there had been three people in a canoe that tipped over. Two were rescued, but one drowned.

Gordon noted that Fire Chief Walter Perron coordinated rescue efforts that day.

“He deserves a lot of credit for what happened that day,” Gordon said.

When Perron came before the panel, Selectman Lydia Goldblatt said, “We want to personally thank you for orchestrating what happened down there and having it run so smoothly.”

“It was teamwork at its best,” Perron said.

The Board of Selectmen will hold its next meeting Tuesday, Sept. 14 at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

Short URL: http://www.communityadvocate.com/?p=7776

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