Reporter's Notebook: Aug. 2 Selectmen's Meeting
A roundup of some items Lexington's Board of Selectmen took up during Monday's extra-long meeting, including a transportation program extension, a Keno license rejection and Battle Green regulations.
Lexpress Point-to-Point Program Extended
The program was introduced this spring as a way to encourage seniors living at Countryside, Greeley or Vynebrook villages to use public transportation and participate in Senior Center programming.
The selectmen agreed to extend the program through the end of the fiscal year at the request of Bill Levison, chairman of the Transportation Advisory Committee, who said it has minimal impact on Lexpress’ standard service.
According to the initial schedule, the point-to-point transportation program picks up seniors from the Housing Authority villages between 9:25 and 9:55 a.m., to get them to the Center for 10 a.m., and then bring them home after lunch, at about 12:45 p.m. The rides cost 25 cents, which is one-third the standard Lexpress fare.
The Elks Lodge’s application for a Keno license did not win favor with the BOS, but it did earn a strong response from Selectman Peter Kelley.
As the selectmen decided to maintain the board’s historical stance of declining to permit Keno monitors in any facility in town — even limited-access institutions like the Elks — Kelley explained that he would never change his mind.
“I’m against gambling in any form, and I would never vote for this,” he said. “Nothing against the Elks, but making money off the backs of losers is not something I would ever support.”
Although the application before the selectmen referred only to Keno, Selectman Norm Cohen noted that the Elks might have better luck with KENO-To-Go, which he described as “quiet different” from regular Keno.
Battle Green Regs Approved
Parachuting onto the Battle Green is still prohibited after the selectmen approved the use of revised regulations for the historic Lexington Center site.
The approval came despite a plea from Tourism Committee Chairwoman Dawn McKenna to table the vote until her working group could review and comment on the regulations it spent two years developing.
McKenna noted the omission of a few items the working group had suggested, such as addressing ceremonial firearms, and requested that the selectmen allow her committee to comment and “explain the thinking behind some of the things that didn’t find their way in here.
“I’d hate to see us miss out on a couple of the important things, but most especially because this is limited to the Battle Green, and we spent time talking about the Battle Green area and treating it as one,” she said.
But the selectmen pushed forward with the vote, saying they are only allowed to be responsible for the Battle Green and that delaying approval would mean missing a deadline to get the regulations codified.
Selectman Norm Cohen said most of the regulations came from the Tourism Committee’s recommendations and he felt it would be better to adopt them now and amend later than hold up approval.
Requesting Another Continuation
Saying their no-show at a July 21 hearing on an application to demolish the Leary farmhouse was a miscommunication and not an affront to the Historical Commission, the selectmen unanimously approved Chairman Hank Manz’s plan to request that the rescheduled hearing be continued until September.
The 1840s farmhouse is located at 116 Vine St., an approximately 14-acre parcel the town purchased using Community Preservation Act funds for conservation land and affordable housing.
The selectmen designated Town Manager Carl Valente to apply for a demolition permit for the farmhouse, which is subject to the demolition delay bylaw due to its inclusion on the town’s Comprehensive Cultural Resources Survey.
Because the applicant was not at the July 21 hearing, the Historical Commission continued the application to demolish the farmhouse until it’s Aug. 18 meeting.
Unable to attend on Aug. 18, Manz said he opted to request a second continuation instead of delegating another selectman in order to show the commission he meant no disrespect.
Selectman George Burnell said he too would like to attend the hearing, as he is familiar with issues surrounding the Leary land. “You may defend our honor while I present the technical details,” Burnell said to Manz.