Friday December 21, 2012

BELLOWS FALLS -- The Rockingham Selectboard issued health orders to two Bellows Falls properties based on the recommendation of the health officer/zoning-planning administrator.

Ellen Howard said she advised the issuance of health orders against 14 Tuttle St. and 33 South St. due to trash accumulation. The Selectboard’s decision came at Tuesday’s meeting in the Rockingham Town Hall Lower Theatre.

The Bellows Falls Village Board of Trustees had previously expressed serious concern about the 14 Tuttle St. property, which has been deemed unsafe because of the trash. The trustees decided at their Tuesday, Nov. 27, meeting to take action as permitted under the Bellows Falls Unsafe Building Ordinance. Howard and Bellows Falls Fire Chief William Weston were authorized to conduct an inspection of the property on Tuttle Street.

The trustees discussed the building’s condition at their meeting on Tuesday, Nov. 13, but did not take immediate action. In a letter signed by Village President Roger Riccio, the board requested the property owner clean up and remove all materials from a porch deconstruction by 7 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 26. This deadline was not met.

Selectboard Chairman Tom MacPhee said on Wednesday the property owners have been given a new deadline -- Thursday, Dec. 27 -- to clean up the accumulation. He said if this deadline is not honored the Selectboard will turn to Town Counsel Steve Ankuda for legal advise on the next steps to take.

Rockingham Development Director Francis "Dutch" Walsh was unable to attend the meeting and did not personally give the Selectboard an update on improvements to the Bridge Street Bridge as printed on the agenda. However, he told the Reformer the latest information he had available.

He said requests for proposal were sent out and the town opted to go with Dubois & King, Inc. for the conceptual planning, engineering and road work at the bridge. He said the road pavement that spans across the bridge and 100 feet on either side of it will be peeled back and repaved.

Walsh also the said the Selectboard decided to reject a donation of an historic rail car from Green Mountain Railroad due to costs associated with accepting it.

If accepted,, he said, the rail car would become town property and had to meet requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act. He said it also would need lighting and electrical work, a reinforced slab to lay on and some protective covering. Walsh said he thought the rail car would be placed at the Bellows Falls Waypoint Center, which caters to the town’s tourists.

MacPhee said the rail car was a nice gesture but "had too many dollars involved." He said the monetary figure would be around $100,000.

In other business:

-- Rockingham Finance Director Chip Stearns was prepared to discuss the FY2014 budget as it pertains to the Rockingham School District but no one from the Windham Northeast Supervisory Union attended the meeting.

He said he has been in contact with School Superintendent Chris Kibbe to try to get some from the WNESU to attend the Selectboard meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 15.

Domenic Poli can be reached at dpoli@reformer.com, or 802-254-2311, ext. 277.