By Paul MacDonald
PEPPERELL – Commissioner Fred Farmer concluded ten years of service to the community as a member of the Board of Public Works at last week’s board meeting.
“He has provided and invaluable service to the town and to the BPW. I’m sure he’ll be missed,” said DPW Director Kenneth Kalinowski.
“Keep up the great work as Pepperell moves on to a better future,” said Farmer who praised the hard work of the DPW and the dedication of the town’s employees and elected officials over the years.
Farmer’s departure leaves two open positions on the board which consists of five commissioners. Commissioner Lewis Lund agreed to being reappointed to another term.
Water and Sewer Superintendent Laurie Stevens announced to the board that MassDEP’s Drinking Water Program recognized Pepperell’s Water Division for its “outstanding performance in 2011.” The achievement recognizes the town’s public water system as a top achiever in the Medium/Large Community System category. It’s the second year in a row that the Water Division has been recognized by MassDEP.
Remus Manomaitis of 79 Park St. continued his claim to the board that his split-level home which was built in 1952 should be bettered as a three-bedroom dwelling and not a four-bedroom as it is currently assessed. The Board of Health confirmed that the property has a septic system designed for a four-bedroom structure.
Stevens conducted an inspection of the property following a request by the board at its March 15 meeting and confirmed that the room in question has a ceiling height of 6′ 11″ which is lower than the current code. However, at the time of construction, building codes did not specify the current 7′ 6″ ceiling height.
Manomaitis admitted that when he purchased the home ten years ago that it was advertised as a four-bedroom dwelling and he purchased it as such.
“It was advertised probably as a four bedroom, because that was the real estate – they were pushing it,” said Manomaitis who went on to explain that he uses the room as an office and not as a bedroom.
“Your current use of the room is not relevant,” said Chairman Greg Rice.
“We have no way of constraining another owner from using it as a four-bedroom house,” he said.
“We don’t know if a permit was pulled though. I looked for that to see if there was a permit actually pulled for it and what it said. I couldn’t find it,” said Stevens.
“We’re going all the way to be fair,” said Lund.
“We’ll find out through the state and the town what the code is supposed to be,” he said.
The board agreed to do further investigation as to the construction and improvement history of the dwelling before making a decision on the abatement request.
Engineers from National Grid visited the Jersey Street municipal well site to evaluate reuse of poles and wires in the area where their infrastructure is planned to be relocated. At last month’s meeting, Kalinowski suggested that the cost of relocating the poles and wires could be as low as $25,000, down substantially from an estimate of $78,000 received several years ago.
“They’re not comfortable with reusing the existing poles,” said Kalinowski who now anticipates the costs to be somewhere in the mid-range between $25,000 and $45,000.
The town is expected to receive $417,096 from Chapter 90 state funding. That represents a slight decline of $1,147 from last year. Chapter 90 funding is primarily used for road maintenance. Kalinowski noted that if all 82 miles of roadway were resurfaced with a 1 ?” overlay, it would cost $8.2M and take 20 years to complete using only Chapter 90 funds received over that term.
“Relying on Chapter 90 money is unreasonable and unsustainable,” said Kalinowski.
The Highway Department has begun its spring cleanup repairing and cleaning catch basins, sweeping sidewalks, and striping roadways. They also recently completed repairing and replacing culvert off of Lowell Street.
The board approved a water abatement of $1,278.89 for 129 River Rd. due to a leak in the service line from the house to the barn.