By Ann Needle
The Stow Board of Selectmen have not slowed down in mid-summer, using its July 12 meeting to hear from four candidates for the single open slot on the Lake Boon Commission. The Selectmen also continued preparing for the August 8 Special Town Meeting, and heard from several residents regarding safety concerns surrounding repairs on the Gleasondale Road bridge.
A standing room only crowd heard from the candidates for the Lake Boon Commission slot. The Selectmen appointed fellow Selectman Don Hawkes to the LBC after more than 90 minutes of extensive questioning of the candidates and discussion among themselves. The three other candidates were Richard Cummings, Kris Krablin, and David Mitrou.
Much of the debate at Tuesday’s meeting centered on issues surrounding the state laws governing lake use vs. LBC regulations, such as how to comply with the law stating boaters must stay at least 150 feet away from a swimming area. (LBC Chair Conway Wharff of Hudson explained, with most Lake Boon swimming areas not clearly defined, this means boaters must define what 150 feet is in keeping away from each swimmer.)
Candidates and spectators also expressed concern over issues such as how to handle the wakes created by large boats, disturbing smaller craft and causing shore erosion.
The selectmen voted 3-1 for Hawkes to fill the 3-year term, with Selectmen Chair Jim Salvie saying of Hawkes and his extensive experience in Lake Boon affairs, “We need someone who can help communicate information from the town to the state and back.” Selectman Tom Ryan agreed that Hawkes would keep communication open between the Selectmen and the LBC. And, with a nod toward the lake’s changing and growing issues, Selectman Brian Burke said he felt Hawkes would be unbiased in helping the town become “more hands-on with the governance of Lake Boon.”
As the lone dissenter, Selectman Ingeborg Hegemann spoke in favor of Kris Krablin, noting, “I think Kris’s statement on supporting the health, safety, and culture of the lake was incredibly eloquent.”
Most objections to Hawkes from audience members centered on concerns that he could not be neutral in the handling Lake Boon affairs. Conway Wharff called David Mitrou “the most neutral” of the four candidates, saying Mitrou was the only one that has not been deeply involved in Lake Boon groups and activities. Agreed Andy Pawlak, another Hudson resident, “I just don’t see how it’s possible [for Hawkes] to be unbiased.”
Gleasondale Safety Remains a Concern
In helping to stress just how much ruckus the one-way light at the Gleasondale bridge has been causing, residents brought in the police. Backed by several neighbors of the bridge, Stow Police Detective Sergeant Mike Sallese spoke of safety statistics the police have gathered since January 1. Overall, he concluded, traffic transgressions on the bridge — where repairs have Gleasondale Road down to one lane for both directions — have been dropping as Stow Police patrols in the area have been increased. He reported the police have logged about 168 hours of traffic control and radar time near the bridge, or about 55% of the police’s traffic patrol hours this year.
Still, neighbors maintained there is plenty of room for improvement. Commenting on the “the lack of privacy, the noise” surrounding the road narrowing and repairs, one resident said she was advised to ask the Selectmen to make the bridge one way entirely, or to shut it down. Jim Salvie said that he is working on bringing Rep. Kate Hogan in to a Selectmen’s meeting to address questions later in the summer.
Preparing for Special TM Meeting
Preparing for the August 8 Special Town Meeting regarding the Boxborough Road land for sale, the Selectmen voted to exercise its right of first refusal on the parcel. Salvie explained that town legal counsel advised the Selectmen to approve this right with a vote, or the STM on whether to purchase the land could not be held. Town Administrator William Wrigley stressed that no action to purchase (or not) has been taken with this vote until the vote at Town Meeting is held.
The Selectmen also voted to unanimously accept the Special TM warrant. Wrigley reminded the Selectmen and the audience that voting it in does not mean minor changes cannot be made.