Rail Fencing Proposed For Town Common Area

By Alex Malm

During the Sept. 28 Heritage Commission meeting, one of the agenda items was in regards to an application for a Certificate of Approval for the installation/construction of a wooden post and rail fence on the Town Common.
“The area that we are looking at is only in the parking lot area, we’re not going around the common or anything like that,” Director of Public Works, Dave Wholley, said.
He said they were looking to address safety and maintenance issues and the logs, which were there temporarily, were a good measure following construction. He explained that the bark is falling, “the logs are splitting”, and kids are falling off of them. He added that cars are bumping into them because they are low to the ground.
Wholley saidexplained that the fence being proposed is one he has used in the past in various areas and they are “very sturdy.”
He stated that the project would likely cost around $2,400, which would be paid for through savings in the maintenance budget for the Common due to not having to pay as much for irrigation this year.
Wholley said the fence is a “a commercial grade project,” noting that they would all be installed by pile driving it in.
He said they would do the work in the morning early to avoid having any interruptions at the common.
Ann Chiampa said she thinks it looks like it should be for a sports field instead, and asked if they could come up with something more formal like a low stone wall.
Ray Breslin said he agreed that the Common is historic, and said “I think we need to be careful with what we put there. It needs to fit in.”
He suggested possibly putting picnic tables there instead.
“I think we need to kind of think about that,” Breslin said.
Wholley said he didn’t think picnic tables would be a good barrier there.
Deb Paul said, “this is the wrong product for this area,” and suggested having stones like at the Morrison House.
She also noted that she thinks the biggest issue there is that it’s wet because of drainage issues.
“No matter what, there’s still huge wet spots on the common,” Paul said.
Paul also expressed her concerns that there wasn’t public input until the public hearing took place.
Tom Estey said they could find boulders and have them installed so people won’t trip and the town could probably find them for free.
Vice Chair, Art Rugg, said the town should look into how much it would cost to have a rock wall or boulders put in versus the cost of a wooden fence and come back to the commission.
“I think that’s probably a great compromise,” Chair, Krystopher Kenney, said.
One concern raised by Wholley is that there is a lot of legality about putting boulders in the right of way, and said he is concerned about damage to cars if people hit them.
The Heritage Commission ultimately voted to continue the public hearing to Nov. 16.

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