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Groundhog Day for Homeowners at Fafard's Constitution Village

by Mary Greendale
September 25, 2018

Thirty to 40 residents crowded into the Selectmen's meeting room on September 24th seeking help in getting public services like street lights, school bus stops and accepted roads for their neighborhood of Constitution Village, off Concord Street.

Using the opportunity for Public Comments, Alicia Quealy of Mohawk Path (shown below) explained to the Board that because the Town has not accepted the Constitution Village streets, there are no school bus stops in their neighborhood, and there can be as many as 20 – 30 children waiting to go to each school every day. The children are being walked to one location. The situation is dangerous and parents worry that things will worsen with snow.

Selectman Jay Marsden and DPW Director Sean Reese assured the residents that the Town is doing all it can from its side, but there is a lengthy list of incomplete construction items that Fafard has not done. Fafard’s Development Company is not returning calls to residents and telling them to contact Town Hall.

"I understand, “ Chairman Marsden told the residents. “You are stuck in the middle, but the streets are privately owned by the developer. We cannot take action until he completes the work.”

One resident reported that according to Fafard, the punch list is done. Reese said it is not and he has spent countless hours trying to get Fafard to correct the drainage issues and bring the street up to the standards that the permits require.

“We won’t accept a substandard road.” As Marsden later noted, if the Town did accept substandard work, all taxpayers would be on the hook to pay for repairs rather than the developer, which would be decidely "unfair."

“We hold a $200,000 bond but there’s probably $3,000,000 of road work there,” Reese said. The Town is not allowed to withhold other permits for the developer as leverage either. Marsden explained that the Town has had problems with this developer in four or five other projects and this is the same pattern. “He hopes that you can get us to compromise, but we can’t.”

One neighbor complained that a large boulder rolled down a grade into his house. Reese responded that this kind of thing is likely to happen if the drainage problems are not corrected, and that the homeowners colletively need to speak up to the developer.

After much back and forth and frustration by many, one resident said, “It’s like living on Groundhog Day."

The desperation and frustration for everyone were palpable and finally all agreed that the Town would attempt to convene a meeting of residents, the developer and officials to see if any headway could be made to get the developer to complete the work. In the meantime, Reese will talk to the School Department to see if there is a way to provide safe bus stops.

Hearing on Aggressive Dog
Donna Walsh, Animal Control Officer for Holliston, reported that a large German Shepard dog on Morgan’s Way attacked and killed a 13 year-old seven pound dog that was on a leash being walked by her owner Kathy Chisholm of Kim Place. The same Shepard attacked this same small dog in 2017 doing it serious harm. At that time, Walsh suggested to the owners then that the dog get training and that the family install a secure fence because an electric fence would not be adequate. The dog did go through the electric fence in this recent attack.

Kathy Chisholm explained to Selectmen that the autopsy indicated that her dog was crushed with severe internal injuries and had four puncture wounds. She herself was bitten by the dog as she tried to separate the animals.

The owners of the Shepard, Daniel and Kerrilyn Pessin of Morgan’s Way (photo below) apologized to the Chisholms and pleaded their case that the dog did not deserve to be euthanized. Mr. Pessin explained the history of their getting him and the research they did into his background. They had him trained and would get a real fence. They have four children and have never had any incidents with Rocky.

There were several impassioned speeches asking the Selectmen to "do the right thing" and euthanize the dog. Pessin suggested that he could relocate the dog elsewhere, he just wanted to spare the dog's life. The law prohibits the Town from sending such an animal anywhere else. In the end, the Board agreed unanimously that the dog had to be put down. 

Other Business
In other business, the Board received an update about the RFP that is being developed by Michael Lavin and Kathi Mirza to solicit bids for new trash hauling and recycling services. The contract does not expire until June 2019, so there is plenty of time to refine the RFP to meet local needs. Selectman John Cronin asked that there be specific language regarding customer service and was told that there will be a structure of fines for service failures. The RFP should go out in December and Lavin is aware of three potential bidders including the current provider, Republic, that are interested.

The Board also heard from Tom Parece about what it would take to expand the utilization of the wastewater treatment facility at Miller School. To begin with, the town will need to determine if the land can handle additional discharge. There will be an article at Town Meeting to move toward the complete study of the site and plant.


The Board reviewed the Draft warrant and approved some articles for the October 29th Town Meeting.

 

 

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