Town Manager Kevin Smith introduced the public hearing for an ordinance change to the parking lot area to Kendall Pond. In the past, this area has been a problem with nefarious and unwanted activities taking place. In response, it was closed off for the winter with some wooden logs in the parking lot. There was a meeting that took place with neighbors of that area and members of the Conservation Commission to determine the best action moving forward.
At the previous meeting for the Conservation Commission, the decision was made that they would not pursue the idea of having a gate at the parking lot, but instead they would pursue amending the ordinance. This would add two new paragraphs to the Title and Chapter governing the Kendall Pond parking area. This includes: “No vehicle shall enter or remain in the Kendall Pond parking lot outside of the following hours of operations: during Daylight Savings time: 5am-8pm and during Standard time: 5am-6pm.” Smith said this is the answer the Conservation Commission has come up with for policing the parking lot area.
Neighbors of the Kendall Pond area with the group “Friends of Kendall Pond” spoke up about their opinions about the various issues that have been ongoing for years. One spokesman for the group asked the council to view this area as primarily a conservation area not necessarily as a recreational area. The FOKP are willing to work together with the Conservation Commission and the Town Council. They will monitor from their homes the behaviors they see and find the best course of action for everyone. They were also in favor of curbing the hours of operation and following through with the idea of prominent signage to deter unwanted behavior. Another member of the Friends of Kendall Pond said the group was not in the loop when the Conservation Commission made their decision to go with policing the area with cameras. He was also in favor of keeping the set-up with the wooden logs, because people use the parking lot properly and no one hangs around. If the logs are removed, the nefarious behavior will most likely continue.
Councilor Jim Butler gave his opinion that he didn’t understand why the gate couldn’t go in after the town had helped save the Conservation Commission roughly $20,000 with the negotiations on Griffin Road. After speaking with the town attorney, Chairman John Farrell brought forth several options that the council has. The first option would be closing down the area altogether, if law enforcement finds the behavior continuing. Option two would be not to remove the logs and not open the park back up. The third option was to grant or deny the amendment to the ordinance. Councilor Tom Dolan was not in favor of closing the conservation land. “The reason we buy conservation land is for the general use of the public,” Dolan said. Farrell also noted that the Town Council has the option of purchasing a gate themselves and installing it. Vice-Chairman Joe Green also agreed with Councilor Dolan that groups need to get together to fix this problem and the council needs to get more information going forward.
Kevin Smith also suggested keeping the logs where they are and keeping the park open or having a non-electric gate and having the FOKP group voluntarily open and close the gate each day. Chairman Farrell made note that they would have check on the liability issues that may come from having residents open and close the gate. The council agreed that they would need more time to discuss the various options further and to meet with the groups involved to find the best path forward. The issue was tabled until the council’s next meeting scheduled for Monday, May 7.