Town Council 4/22/19

Committee Name: 

Amherst Town Council

Meeting date: 

Monday, April 22, 2019 - 15:58

Meeting Location: 

Town Room, Town Hall

Members present: 

All except Steinberg

Observer Notes: 

Action Items (taken out of order)

Use of public ways

  • Crocker Farm third-graders and teachers ask for use of the public way to put mini-library, book boxes at 3 bus stops near their school for their “Read Around Town:” civic project (so the students and other townpeople could read while riding) .  Vote was unanimous (10-0)
  • Unanimous approval for the Inn on Boltwood to pay for meters during a conference in June.
  • Amherst Rotary Club asked for reservation for metered parking along the Common during the Community Fair.  Vote was 11-1 (Hanneke dissenting.)

FY2020 Regional School Budget adopted; School district debt authorized for Middle School roof repair.  Both unanimous in favor.

Unanimous vote to engage Melanson Heath (sp?) for the FY 2019 audit. And to accept the recommendations of the Community Preservation Act and send them on to the Finance Committee.

Committee on Governance recommended small edits, “clean-up” changes, to Finance Committee and the Energy and Climate Action Committee charges involving status of non-council members of the committees as “Special Municipal Employees.”  Accepted unanimously.

Presentation of opportunity to purchase property in Pelham and Shutesbury (which has just become available) to protect the tributaries that fill Amherst drinking water reservoirs.  Approved unanimously. (Town Council was acting as “Board of Water and Sewer Commissioners” during this interim period when the commission has not been appointed.)

Council deferred discussion of appointment process for community members of finance committee members to 5/6 meeting.

Proclamations and Commemorations

Arbor Month Proclamation presented by town tree warden; Art Week presented by outgoing Business Improvement District director Sara LeCour on behalf of BID and co-sponsor MA Cultural Council. Veteran of Foreign War citation (no representative present).  Hanneke will attend 5/5 VFW event on Council’s behalf.

Brewer asked if there were any limits on what can be a proclamation. (according to Town Manager, no).


Town staff oriented the Council to the work of the Community Preservation Act (also see CPA section on

Money and/or day cut-off announced for decisions made by staff for use of public way.

Committee Reports

Bylaw Review, Council Goals, Finance Committee, Governance-Organization, and Legislation, Rules of Procedure ad hoc, and Audit committee reports were either “in progress” or accepted with little discussion.  The new Community Resources Committee was omitted on the agenda but they reported that Schreiber is chair and Pam Vice Chair, and that the committee was meeting the same week to consider the CPA recommendations in light of the Master Plan (and to begin revisiting the Master Plan and zoning).

The report of the Outreach, Communications, and Appointments committee was met with pushback by several Council members (Dumont, Schoen, Pam esp), who felt the process had not been voted on and yet was already being used.  The committee is trying to balance privacy concerns for applicants with need for transparency.  Committee has decided (internally) not to share the applications of the whole pool, just those they recommend. Griesemer suggested that there will be further discussion at a future meeting.

Approval of minutes

4/1, 4/4, and 4/13 (Council and committee mtgs respectively). 2 abstentions (Brewer and Swartz).

Town Manager Report

Announced more details about the town-wide cleanup (May 4 at 9-11 am) being coordinated principally by staff and community participation officers. Ceremony for repaired Mill River bridge (N. Amherst) will be announced by the state soon (as repair is done);  Manager’s office will have budget prepared by Wed (5/1).  Porta restaurant had liquor license suspended for 3 days after violations of underage drinking and other irregularities after an official warning.  Bahle-Milne asked about Station Road Bridge.  Town is considering best venue for posting official videos.  Currently on town’s YouTube channel, but people look at Amherst Media.  Will revisit. Community members of Energy and Climate Action committee appointed through Town Manager announced.  (Will be online)

Town Council Comments

Some dissatisfaction that most subcommittee meetings have been during the day, which limits pool of possible participants and attendees.  Will revisit. CRC will meet occasionally as “Committee of the whole” so that non-member Councilors can have more significant input.

At 10:10 pm, the Council moved into executive session to consider a question of sensitive real estate purchase and compliance with laws about federal grant-in-aid requirements.  The public was cleared from the room before adjournment (after the exec session).

Public Comment: 

Mr. Riffin (sp?) UMass staff and citizen of Greenfield reported on pedestrian deaths in “thickly settled” area of Amherst (UMass campus) even in a cross-walk. He reported the correlation of speed with percent chance of fatality at different speeds (lower speed, less fatality) and asked that the speed limit be set at 20 mph through the UMass campus. (Council does not respond to public comment at the moment, but It was clarified that the Council has the right (and responsibility) to set speed limits.

League Observer: 

Barbara Pearson