Board of Selectmen September 26, 2017
Karen Donahue called the meeting to order at 7:05 p.m.
Present were Joseph Pacheco, Marie Smith and Karen Donahue.
Acceptance of the Minutes
Mr. Pacheco motioned and Mrs. Smith seconded to accept the minutes of the September 19, 2017 meeting as printed. Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
Department Heads & Committees
Chief Donovan was present to give his monthly report. There were 1,579 incidents and 47 people were booked with crimes. There have been many serious incidents that the department has responded to in the last month. Chief Donovan has requested that Sergeant Bonapart be appointed a Special Police Officer, allowing him to continue on a part time basis. Mrs. Donohue made a motion to accept the appointment, Mr. Pacheco seconded and Mrs. Smith made it unanimous. Mrs. Smith and the Board thank the department for all of their hard work.
Public Hearing – 7:05 p.m. – Application of 458 DEV Corp. dba Coletti’s Market for Wine & Malt Beverage Package Store, 470 North Main Street
Attorney Ed Brennan was present representing the applicant. The applicant is the owner of the property and does business as Coletti’s Market, the Director and Controller of the Corporation is Mr. Mrugesh Chokski and he is the sole President and Treasurer. They comply with all the statutes for a beer and wine license to be sold on the premise and the hours of operation will stay the same. There will be no changes to the footprint of the building, but for the addition a 145 sq. ft. cooler which will be located and accessed from inside the building. The deliveries will continued to be made where they are presently being made and the truck sizes will be the same and they will continue to have groceries as they have now. There will be no real significant product in the market being
displaced as the wine and beer will be located in the back of the store. He has been running the business since 2002 when he purchased it from Mr. Coletti. Attorney Brennan is asking for the permit to be granted for beer and wine to be sold on the premises.
Mr. Alan Day of 12 White Street, who lives directly across from the store and has been there for about 35 years cannot support the license. He thinks it’s the wrong place and said it belongs on Rt. 44 or 138, and although it has been grandfathered in there is a substantial shift in the type of business they will be doing there. And this business that has been grandfathered in is in a residential district and the neighbors tolerate the store. There is a lot of noise and trash that blows around constantly and a lot of traffic with all the trucks that deliver and their lights shine into our house. The exit is directly across from White Street, which we were promised would never happen by another board. This is what the abutters live with daily but we are not looking for more of the same.
And the store impacts our real estate negatively and with the granting of the license it will further impact our property values. I can live with the store the way it is, but I’m not looking for more of it. I was told by a board that the entrance would never be across from White Street and I also have an idea that we are going to be back here looking for longer operating hours. Mr. Pacheco replied, some of the comments that you made I don’t think were germane to our Board. I’ve been here for 11 years and we’ve never had Coletti’s Market here before us so it wasn’t this Board who said that. Mr. Day replied, prior officials, I don’t know who. Mr. Pacheco replied, this Board does not have a purview around zoning and planning and so the Boards you’re referencing is Zoning and Planning Boards not this one. Mrs. Smith said our Board is dedicated to a different purpose. Mr. Day asked what would that purpose be?
Mrs. Smith replied, that purpose would be do we or do we not grant a license to a viable business? And I thank you for your input.
Mrs. Sandra Day of 12 White Street who lives across the street from the store said it’s a huge traffic problem just trying to go to our mail box, what happens now is that vehicles sit in the parking lot revving they’re engines with a clean straight shot up White Street that has become a drag strip. There are two handicapped spots on the side and the trucks back in to deliver on those spots and sit there for long periods.
Mr. Joseph Maile of 486 North Main Street lives next door to Coletti’s said he is concerned with security and safety and the added trash that goes down the easement between the two buildings goes right into King’s Pond. His mother lives next door and complains about the dumpster being emptied at 4:30 in the morning. He is concerned about her safety as his mother has been confronted by someone in the parking lot.
Attorney Brennan wanted to say that he is sympathetic about people’s concerns but the applicant is only adding a product to the store. The store is not increasing the size or hours or operation and if there are issues about his mother being confronted by someone on the property the Police should be notified right away and there should be reports of that and measures taken. We are not aware of any problems and the trash can certainly be addressed, but we can’t control everyone who’s coming in and out of the property. But we are asking that the license be issued, the store is very popular and there is a petition submitted by 93 people, 64 who are registered voters which have been certified by Town Clerk so that reflects that there is an interest by the public if this license is to be issued. Attorney Brennan submitted the application.
Mr. Day said he was not aware of the petition and wanted to know if the applicant had more than a week to circulate this petition, as he only got a week’s notice regarding the Public Hearing.
Attorney Brennan replied the application was filed August 28th at the Board of Selectmen’s Office and the signatures were gathered as a result of the petition that was inside of the store so as customers came and went if they were in favor of it, they would sign the petition which was certified by Town Clerk, as to how many registered voters were on it. The notices were sent out as required by the statute.
Mr. Day asked why weren’t the neighbors included in this petition?
Mr. Pacheco replied we don’t tell people to do this, this is a citizen’s petition. We don’t get involved in that, the requirement is the notification that you received. That requirement is of the applicant to do that within that time frame. Anyone can do a citizen’s petition for anything and this Board can’t tell you to do it or not to do it, it’s your right.
Tracy Maile of 486 North Main Street said I have an extreme concern for my mother in law who lives next door. She’s 80 years old and doesn’t need this kind of harassment at this point in her life. The noise of the trash cans, the filth, the smell, the cars and young kids with their motorcycles racing up and down the street is ridiculous. Where are you going to put a big huge cooler if you’re not changing the footprint of the building? I have a 13 year old daughter and I don’t think she needs to see this type of activity going on. This really needs to be kept under wraps – Rt. 44 Rt. 138 there is more than enough alcohol in this town we don’t need any more in the middle of a residential neighborhood. It has to stop and isn’t right and it’s killing our property values. And how many of these people that signed the petition live in that area?
Mr. Day said the petition really threw me over there, before this decision is made can I get time to circulate a petition?
Mr. Pacheco replied, the Board can do one of three things, take this under consideration which essentially tables it, or the Board can vote no, or the Board can vote yes. And so I’m one of three members and I can’t speak for my colleagues, but you most certainly ask us to take it under consideration which would provide you time to explore options. I can’t vote no just to give you time to do a petition, but you can ask me to consider taking it under advisement so you can explore your options.
Mr. Day replied, I appreciate that and the reason I say that I basically have been given seven days, and it sounds like this has been a well-orchestrated event that’s been going on for weeks if not months. Everyone made a very good effort to keep everyone in the dark. Do we really get time to respond? Handing over a petition with signatures on it is something I cannot do, as we had no knowledge of this until last week.
Mr. Mrugesh Chokski was present to address the Board. I own Coletti’s Market and heard the concerns from the neighbors but I’ve been here for 15 years. I bought the business in 2002 and I figured they would come to me and if they had any concern or questions about anything and I would have corrected it. As a neighbor I would have listened to them and any wrong I would right. And everybody got it on the 12th of September (the notification). A couple of customers asked me why don’t you do a petition that would help you? So I started last Friday, I put out the paper so when customers came in I asked them to sign. That’s how I did it, I didn’t go to anybody’s house. I’d like to solve the problems, if they have any problems.
Attorney Brennan wanted to say that this is in addition to a deli store, it complements the store and if you drive around New England you see a lot of these deli’s around and have a beer and wine component to them. It’s not a package store, it doesn’t have the full service of all the liquor stores. It has been a market since the early 60’s. It has become busier and fills a need within the community and if the Board feels if it’s appropriate to put it at that site and if it is appropriate to give it to this particular applicant, I think we’ve satisfied those issues with the Board. And I would ask the Board to grant the license as requested, it’s hard to run a small business and this is a valuable component to help the store continue. We recognize the concerns of the
neighbors and some of them are very serious – this gentlemen’s 80 year old mother has been accosted in her yard I would think that would have been brought to the attention of my client and the Town Officials and I don’t know if that happened. But some of those accusations are quite serious and I’m not aware of any official action of anything like that in the past. Certainly we can address the trash, there isn’t a change in the footprint, but for that 145 sq. foot cooler so the building itself stays the same and the cooler will be accessed from the inside the building. So I ask the Board to grant this application and allow the ABCC to review it at the next level.
Mrs. Smith asked, this cooler that you speak of there is no way that cooler can be inside the store?
Attorney Brennan replied that would require quite a renovation to have it inside the building and would bump out about 8 feet behind the building. The deliveries would be at the same place.
Mr. Mrugesh Chokski corrected Attorney Brennan by saying actually it will be located inside the store next to the existing cooler right now.
Attorney Brennan said I stand corrected it will be inside the existing foot print of the building now.
Mr. Maile asked where are the mechanicals going to go? On the driveway side?
Mr. Mrugesh Chokski replied no, inside in the back.
Mr. Pacheco addressed Attorney Brennan and said anytime we have a new applicant one of the questions we ask is what has your client have in place regarding Serve Safe and checking of ID’s this is a new applicant who’s never served alcohol in Town before and as you know this Board takes that very seriously.
Attorney Brennan replied he previously had a store with a license in it in another Town so he has experience in that area of checking for ID’s and they be fully prepared to do that.
Mr. Pacheco asked are you aware of any violations in the past location?
Attorney Brennan replied, no I’m not he has since sold that license years ago.
Mr. Pacheco asked is it just Mike and his wife who work at the store or are there other employees?
Attorney Brennan replied there are other employees they would have to put into play whatever training is required and properly carded so the product is not sold to a minor. He had no issue under the prior license.
Mr. Pacheco said we’ve done a lot of liquor license requests over the years and in the past two years there has been a large demand for licenses in town but for whatever the reason is, I think this is a unique application, in part because of its location and the footprint that exists there now. I can’t necessarily say I’m against it, but I also have concerns based on feedback from the neighbors and what I like to do is on matters like this is where there are concerns, is to give the applicant some time to see if they can work out some of the issues with the neighbors and come back in a week or two and say here are some of the things that we’ve proposed and get some feedback from the neighbors to see if any or those are amenable. Is that something that you would be open to Counselor?
Attorney Brennan replied he’s been there 15 plus years so I think he can certainly approach the neighbors and see if they can come up with some agreement to address their concerns. I’m more concerned about the accosting of an 80 year old woman and never having heard of that before. We’re not aware of any report of it, that’s a serious incident.
Mr. Pacheco replied not to diminish that concern but I think that’s an issue we have to refer to the Police Department. My questions are around the noise, the traffic flow and the litter and what I would like to see is we give you a week or so Counselor you can sit down with some of these neighbors and come up with a plan. Whether its receptacles outside or hiring a company to clean, but to have that dialog because these neighbors feel like they’ve been heard.
Attorney Brennan said it would be helpful to know what complaints have been logged against my client over the years and what’s been done about it.
Mrs. Donahue added maybe having deliveries done at a certain time maybe at 7:00 a.m.
Mrs. Day added that nobody here is against business here, we had a business that we recently sold and I understand that it is grandfathered in but what we didn’t bring up is years ago when the redid Rt. 104 they had used our yard as a picnic area siting in our yard. I also had to confront people who would park in our yard and eat.
But the Town installed a curbing with alleviated much of that. But the house next door is an apartment that he rents, which if you want to talk about police being around, there has been trouble there in that apartment which is part of our concern. We’ve been told that drugs have been sold there and I’m sure that is something that could all be looked up on record. That’s why we don’t want any further issues there. When is enough, enough? We have been good and have made adjustments and don’t feel like adjusting anymore.
Mrs. Smith said that if they got together they may be able to do something with the trash and the delivery and whatever else is bothering the people.
Mr. Day said the only reason I say no to that is I understand what you’re saying we’re not looking for more traffic, more slamming doors, bigger parking lots, longer hours, more rental property and on and on. This is a business that was grandfathered into the neighborhood for what it was at the time and this has grown and grown and if anyone here doesn’t think adding beer and wine to their store is not a major shift in business, I find that very odd. That doesn’t mean it can continue to grow unrestrained over the years in every direction. You know what that store does to the property values, and what a liquor license is going to do to the property values.
Mr. Pacheco said, if I could clarify there are two fundamental components in Massachusetts that a local authority can be overturned on, one of them is a 40B and the other is alcohol. And so this Board has an obligation not just to the five of you here, but to the applicant but to the entire Town to do our due diligence and when I heard you ask earlier for more time to explore options, that is what I’m inclined to give you. I’m not inclined to deny to the request tonight because I don’t believe that anybody has met the burden to deny it. And what I mean by that is State Law is quite clear, Statute is quite clear and that is why Attorney Brennan made a point multiple times to talk about the 3 parameters that we have to approve the law on. And if we deny it simply because of its location,
they can appeal and I would guess they would be overturned and be given a license by the State. Whereas, if we work through this process, and try to address some of your concerns it actually gives you more of a voice and more power and influence in the process. If this Board denies it tonight, I have no doubt that Attorney Brennan will appeal it, because he has an obligation to his client and the State could overturn it and once that happens, it’s out of our control. And so my suggestion to you is, if the Board is so inclined, to take some time meet with your neighbors, do your due diligence, and talk to the applicant and see if there are some ways you can work out the issues that you have. But I have to be honest, I’m not inclined to deny it tonight because I don’t think I have the grounds to. That’s not to say that in two weeks, if you come back, I won’t vote to deny it. But right now, there is not enough according to my
interpretation of the Statute, to deny it lawfully.
Mr. Day said, so really the license is going to be issued, all we are looking to do here is appease the neighbors.
Mr. Pacheco replied I didn’t say that and I don’t think that’s fair to come up with that assumption, I have a State Law that I’m legally bound to abide by and I’m trying to give you some time to talk to the applicant, and I would suggest that you take that. Because I don’t believe the burden has been met to deny it. And if we deny it, and they appeal it and they win, the license goes through without any conditions. This Board can put conditions on a license, if its overturned and the State issues it, we don’t have that control. That’s what I’m saying, I not saying that I’m going to support it. I never said that.
Mrs. Maile said we’ve addressed him before about the trash and the noise, and it’s not his concern, he’s sent somebody out with a leaf blower.
Mr. Pacheco replied that’s because he didn’t have an incentive to do it, what I’m saying is take some time and talk to the applicant and come back in two weeks and if all could say that you couldn’t come to a consensus, than that is something that I would consider, but the applicant is asking for something right now and so you are in a position of power and so I would suggest you use that position of power as leverage to get the issues addressed. I live on Hill Street and I have two convenience stores that I have to pick up after every day, so I know exactly what you talking about so use the opportunity that I’m trying to give you to work it out and be proactive. Because if we deny the license, your still going to have the litter so if you can use this as an opportunity to fix some of
the problems, why wouldn’t you?
Mr. Day asked a business like this that was grandfathered in, are there no restraints on a business for example, that they could keep going until it was a Market Basket?
Mr. Pacheco replied No, it’s called a legal nonconforming and you make changes to it, there has to be a determination as to whether they are substantial or unsubstantial. If they are determined to be substantial, then the Zoning Board and or the Planning Board have to have a hearing and my guess is those are the meetings that you had previously referred to. When they were trying to make changes there were hearings based on these proposed changes. And then the local authorities will make a determination based on the facts presented and the plan presented as to whether they are going to approve the changes or not. So, that’s the checks and balance, on the ability for a legal nonconforming business to grow or not. We don’t handle zoning issues at Board meetings. I hear
your concerns but I don’t sit on the Zoning Board and that is where those issues are taken up. But we have a unique opportunity here to have this dialog and regardless of whether the applicant is awarded a license or not maybe something productive came come from this. Because the applicant is hearing from me at least right now and want him to communicate with you and maybe try to rectify some of the concerns that you have.
Attorney Brennan said we will be happy to meet with some of the clients and if you want to put this out for two weeks we could come back.
Mr. Pacheco made a motion to table the request for two weeks, Mrs. Smith seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
Mrs. Smith discussed the prior meeting regarding the cat adoption being run by the Asst. Animal Control Officer. She would like to propose that it be located at Borden Colony, the place has bathroom facilities, and ample parking and would work for that program. Mr. Pacheco would like to table the request for a week so that he can check the building himself. Mr. Pacheco made a motion to table Mrs. Smith’s motion, so it can be taken up next week, Mrs. Donahue seconded.
Town Administrator’s Report
Mr. Flaherty reviewed the Town Administrator’s Report. The new phone system is in the process of being installed this week at Town Hall.
The Capital Planning Committee will finalize approvals pending certification of free cash, in about three weeks.
Mr. Flaherty is attending Chief Procurement Training this week.
The Health Inspector’s position has been advertised they have one response and they are waiting for more.
The North School projects are ongoing and Mr. Flaherty received a final quote from RMC for the bathroom.
The next Selectmen’s Meeting will be next Tuesday, October 3rd at 7:00 p.m.
The next Department Head Meeting will be October 19th.
A Tag Day request was received from the Stay Strong Foundation October 3rd – 6th, Oct. 26th & 27th and Nov. 1st 2nd & 3rd. Mrs. Smith made a motion to approve, Mr. Pacheco seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
Correspondence was received from MassDOT regarding a road safety audit at Gilmore Hall and is requesting the fee for the hall be waived. Mrs. Smith made a motion to approve, Mr. Pacheco seconded and Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.
A letter of retirement was received from John Cucinotta after 43 years of dedicated service.
A letter of request was received from Linda Brackett, to be considered for the opening on the Raynham Housing Authority Board. The letter will be forwarded to the Board for consideration.
Three applications for the RAVE position were received from Rebecca George, Wendy White and Danielle Milligan. Mrs. Smith will be in charge of the interviews.
8:12 p.m. Mr. Pacheco motioned and Mrs. Smith seconded to adjourn for the performance of administrative duties, signing of Bills and Warrants with no business to be conducted afterwards. Mrs. Donahue made it unanimous.