GROTON — Last week’s abbreviated meeting of the Board of Health dealt with just a single issue, but one well suited to illustrate Chairman Jason Weber’s feeling that it was his job as an elected official not only to make sure applicants adhere to the law but also to see that the law is applied to residents in a fair and helpful manner.
“If experience has taught me anything,” said Weber of his role as an elected official, “it’s that people working at the local level are what makes government work.”
For instance, in the case considered by the board at its meeting on April 20, members were asked to sign an emergency permit request for William Sears, owner of a home at 20 Fox Run Road in West Groton.
Caught in a bind, Sears’ home was being foreclosed upon with the terminal date set at May 15.
Having managed to find a buyer, the closing date for the sale was scheduled for May 6; however, before that happened, Sears will need to upgrade the property’s failed septic system so that it meets the requirements of the state’s Title 5 regulations.
With the time remaining before the close and the close itself happening only days before foreclosure, there was no room for the review and approval process usually followed by the Board of Health.
With that realization in mind, and the fact that what needed to be done at the Fox Run Road property was routine, the board voted last week to make things easy for the homeowner and expedite the process by signing the permit.
Work needed at the site consisted only of the installation of a new leech-field pipeline and distribution box not a complete overhaul of the entire septic system.
Board members decided that making Sears wait for the usual review process to work its way through would place an “unreasonable” burden on him when work that needed to be done to upgrade his septic system was straightforward.
“It was a case of the town trying to be considerate of a landowner who is selling his property,” explained Weber.
The satisfaction in knowing that decisions made by the Board of Health are the kind that can help make residents’ lives a little easier is the reason why Weber has chosen to run for a third term on the BOH.
“The last two terms I’ve spent on the board have been years of education and learning,” said Weber, a resident of Sheple Lane. “Over that time, I’ve learned a lot about the town and its regulations. Although at times I, like everyone involved, have been faced with painful decisions, we’re all just trying to help the town.”
Often, said Weber, as a member of the Board of Health, he has found that a decision that needed to be made was as likely to rest on some technical aspect of the town’s bylaws as on the human factor.
“When people come to the board there are often two parties involved,” explained Weber. “Then the big challenge is listening to both sides and finding the right balance.”
Still eager to help, Weber has chosen to seek another three-year term on the board, turning in nomination papers to the town clerk’s office and so far running unopposed.
Town election is May 17.