The Plympton Board of Selectmen met via ZOOM on Monday, Sept. 12. Selectman Mark Russo led a discussion on traffic and speeding enforcement as well as next steps the town might take to address the issues. Russo explained, “Kind of a long history of some speeding issues particularly two intersections in town… over the last year or two we’ve tried a bunch of things, we’ve declared a speed zone 20 mph… not much help there.” He said they have also tried painting the roads as well as most recently, installing flashing speed limit signs which were approved at this year’s town meeting. “Maybe there’s been a little improvement, but we continue to hear from concerned citizens,” he said. Russo suggested that the next step might be an increased police presence.
Resident Keith Sexton spoke up saying that he has seen an increase in car crashes on Center St. He noted that one recently resulted in personal injury. Sexton also noted that cars routinely come out of Franklin St. in Halifax going 70 mph despite a speed limit of 30 mph. Sexton made suggestions including community edits to Waze to keep people from cutting through as well as the use of police dummy cars. He also said, “Quincy and Foxboro have leaned on the tech companies to keep traffic out of the towns.”
Resident Howard Randall, who has been outspoken on the issue, said of when he grew up, “it really was an attitude that you don’t speed through Plympton.” He continued, “I would like to reflect on that we had a history in the past of you don’t do these things in Plympton and if you do, you’re going to be bagged.” “I would love nothing more than if we got back to that sort of thing,” Russo said of more frequent ticketing for speeding. Randall, who lives on what has been deemed one of the worst intersections in town, said that his wall has been hit and he has even had motorcycles end up on his lawn. He noted that his next-door neighbor is leaving because “they can’t take the racetrack that has been created by their house by paving the road.”
Selectman Christine Joy said that the issue needed its own meeting, noting the very full agenda that evening. “This is a far-reaching issue; it’s not getting better, it’s getting worse. I agree with everything that everyone has said,” she said. She continued, saying they would do their due diligence before getting back together to discuss what other options are available to the town.
Public Hearing Cornerstone Energy
There was a public hearing regarding an application from Cornerstone Energy Services for new transmission lines that will cross above Spring Street and its intersection with Route 44 and Brook Street and its intersection with Old Farm Road. Town Administrator Liz Dennehy called it “routine maintenance” and noted it was part of a larger project. Randall expressed some concern to which Selectman John Traynor said he wasn’t sure the town had any legal standing regarding street crossings. “The bulk of the project will be underground wires,” Michelle Ruxton said of her understanding of the project. She did note that there would be some overhead wires involved as well, however. Randall said that he felt it all came back down to accommodating solar saying, “I hate to be so negative, but I’ve learned in my eighty years not to trust these people.” He continued, “they would love you to believe you have no rights, but you do,” he said to Traynor. The Selectmen agreed to continue the hearing until a representative from the applicant could be present to speak to the concerns. They agreed to set the continuation for 6 p.m. on October 17.
1-Day Brewery 44 Liquor Licenses
Michael Johnson of Brewery 44 spoke to the Board about hosting a small beer and liquor garden in conjunction with Sauchuk Farm. “Basically, what we are looking to do is a controlled space where we are serving our pumpkin beers and seltzers to adults,” he said. Johnson said they have a $1 million insurance policy. He was looking for 16, 1-day liquor licenses, covering eight weekends of the Sauchuk Farms season.
There was some question about the need for a police detail. Johnson asked if it was possible to do a review after the first weekend to determine if a police detail is necessary. He said that it becomes cost prohibitive for them. An abutter spoke saying that he felt that the police detail was necessary calling the event “a nightmare” for them. “Quite frankly, I think the police detail is needed,” Traynor said. The Board granted the 16, 1-day liquor licenses with the stipulation that a 4-hour police detail is required and that in two weeks, they would revisit whether the remaining weekends would also need a police detail.
Special Town Meeting
A special town meeting was scheduled for Nov. 30 at 7 p.m. at Dennett Elementary School. The warrant was opened that evening and will be closing on Oct. 3 at 8 p.m.
Debate on Change from Board of Selectmen
Traynor led a discussion on changing the title of the Board from the Board of Selectmen to the Select Board. He called the issue “near and dear to my heart.” Joy said she wasn’t interested in making the change noting, “I just don’t feel like its really necessary for us to do this… I like our seal; I like our history.” Joy also said that the gendered term “selectmen” doesn’t bother her. Russo said he prefers the current title as it links to a 300-year history. Russo said that he felt that they could pursue gender equality in other ways. Traynor said he appreciated where they were coming from but noted that he would still like to pursue the change.
Russo said that a resident who has an old schoolhouse on his property wanted to see if the Community Preservation Committee would be interested in the building. Russo noted that it would be quite expensive to move. Of the project he said, “it really would require a champion and a site – neither of which we have right now.” Randall asked Russo to contact him saying, “there may be an angel out there that I know of.” Russo said, “Okay, I’ll be in touch.”
Jessica Lau and Jonathan Mulcahy were named to the Board of Library Trustees until the next election. Their terms will expire on May 20, 2023. The Selectmen thanked them for their service to the town.
Selectmen’s Rants and Raves
Russo said he was thrilled about the Community Impact Grant application. “I think with the really talented people we have now, that could be really powerful for us,” he said. He also raved for the recent flower show calling it a “totally Plymptonian thing” and said the town should be proud of the event. Traynor raved for responder therapy dogs across the United States and Plympton Police Captain Cheryl Davis and her K9, who just became a certified team. Joy gave a rave for Linda Leddy and her work with the CPC as well as another rave for all the members of the public that showed up that evening to discuss the traffic issues in town.