Town Council Meeting – Thursday, January 4, 2024
The January 4, 2024 Meeting of the Barnstable Town Council was conducted in person. The public was able to attend in person or participate remotely in Public Comment or during a Public Hearing via Zoom. The public was able to view the meeting on Barnstable Government Access Xfinity Channel 8 or 1070 or in High Definition on Xfinity Channel 1072 or via the live stream through the Town website. Town Council President Felicia Penn called the meeting to order and Town Clerk Ann Quirk took the Roll Call. Next President Penn asked that everyone stand for the Pledge of Allegiance and a Moment of Silence.
President Penn announced that Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications for the period of December 21, 2023 – January 2, 2024 had been pre-recorded and was shown on our Government Access Channel prior to the meeting. The recorded version of Mr. Ells’s Town Manager Communications may be viewed here and the itemized list is shared below:
- We are proceeding with the budget action calendar for FY 2025. For information on our fiscal year budgets please view the Town’s Open Budget website at http://budget.townofbarnstable.us.
- During the public meeting of the Board of Health held on Tuesday December 19, 2023, the Board promulgated a sewer connection policy requiring connections within six months of availability. The policy provides an internal mechanism for providing homeowners an extension of six months in those cases where documentation is provided indicating a contractor has been hired to perform the required work and/or documentation of a financial loan application along with the understanding the property owner demonstrates continuing diligent efforts to conform with the connection policy. Appropriate representatives from Health and Public Works shall be available at the Town Council meeting to answer questions.
- The proposed Dog Control Regulations were presented at a Town Manager’s Hearing on October 18, 2023. Public Comment for the proposed regulations occurred from October 18th through December 8, 2023. Eighty-three (83) comments (negative and positive) were received. The two proposed regulations with the most comments were Dogs on Beaches (61%) and Kennel/Multiple Dog Regulations (16%). In response to comments, the following changes have been made:
- Reverted back to the May 15th through September 15th dog ban on Designated Bathing Beaches.
- Added a clause that allows Town Officials to close sections of beaches to dogs for endangered species protection.
- Worked with a representative of the American Kennel Club to better clarify Kennel and Multiple Dog definitions.
The latest draft of the proposed Dog Control Regulations will be posted for 10 days on the Town Manager and Marine and Environmental Affairs webpages. We will keep you advised as we move forward with approval of these modified regulations.
- On Friday, December 29, 2023, I sent an email to Patrick Johnson, Manager of External Affairs/Offshore Wind for Avangrid, that attempted to clarify an email communication that he had sent relative to an upcoming ground penetrating radar survey that Avangrid planned to conduct in early January in Barnstable. We received many inquiries as to what the Town had approved Avangrid to survey. The response was as follows: “In response to your notification of planned ground penetrating radar work during the first week of January 2024 I offer the following comments. As one reads this communication it would be logical that the reader would believe that the Town has authorized this ground penetrating radar work as part of your continuing efforts to gather base information for the proposed project. The Town has not issued any approval or authorization for said work. The work described should not impact traffic or roadway safety and is not ground penetrating therefore a road cut permit is not required from DPW as we understand your proposed work. Please be advised that any other permitting/authorization that may be required to conduct such work is Commonwealth Wind’s responsibility and no such work should proceed until all applicable permits/authorizations are obtained from the appropriate authority. I am sending Ken Kimmell a separate letter referencing the recent Resolve by Town Council and the Town’s comments in the DEIR indicating the Town’s opposition to the proposed project and requesting that all related activities to this proposed project cease.” We will keep you advised as this matter progresses.
- Jim Kupfer, Assistant Director of Planning and Development, shall provide an update on the Local Comprehensive Plan. Kupfer’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
- Charles McLaughlin, Senior Counsel for the Legal Department, shall provide a response to questions asked by a Town Councilor regarding the Town’s decision to file or not to file for intervener status in the Park City Wind project before the Energy Facilities Siting Board. Attorney McLaughlin’s Memo may be viewed here.
Town Councilors had asked questions about the Board of Health Sewer Connection Policy during the previous Town Council Meeting which F.P. Tom Lee, Vice Chair, Board of Health, answered. Joining in responding to questions were Public Works Director Dan Santos, Town Manager Mark Ells, Finance Director Mark Milne and Inspectional Services Director Brian Florence. Also in attendance was Health Director Thomas McKean.
The Council voted to approve Public Session Minutes: December 21, 2023.
Next was Communications from elected officials, boards, committees, and staff, commission reports, correspondence and announcements.
President Penn moved up the Orders of the Day.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-086 Order authorizing the award and execution of a five-year contract with Axon Enterprise, Inc. for the purchase of body worn cameras and the associated licensing and storage of all data to establish a Body Worn Camera Program for the Barnstable Police Department.
Presented by Acting Chief Jean Challies. The item was approved.
AGENDA ITEM 2024-087 Appropriation Order in the amount of $73,654 for the Barnstable Police Department Fiscal Year 2024 Operating Budget for the purpose of funding the initial operating expenses for the hiring of 9 patrol officers.
Presented by Acting Chief Jean Challies. The item was approved.
The Town Council returned to Communications for the following presentations followed by questions and answers:
Councilors also asked questions of Town Manager Mark Ells.
Attorney Nober’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
Director Milne’s PowerPoint presentation may be viewed here.
Notes from the President:
- At the request of several Councilors, moving the start time for Town Council Meetings to 6:00 PM for the January 18, 2024 meeting. Will bring before the Town Council for a vote to extend further.
- Working with staff to have Agendas available by the Friday preceding the Town Council Meeting to give time to better prepare.
- Working to create some Town Council Subcommittees that will be posted meetings open to the public. Will consist of Councilors and the public would be welcome to attend and participate, but no votes. A lot of housekeeping. Critical areas of that need attention: Town Council Rules; possible Charter Review; Regulatory Review and Enforcement (Zoning); review of Standing Committees that the Town Council has liaisons to; and Communications. A work in progress. Target to have them formulated and purposed with defined goals and objectives by the end of March. Most committees will have a set task so they will begin and when they are done with their task they will be sunsetted.
- Working with staff to create the use of Consent Agendas.
The next regularly scheduled Town Council Meeting will be held on Thursday, January 18, 2024. The public is able to view through Xfinity High Definition Channel 1072 (or Xfinity Channel 8 or 1070) or Live Streaming on the Town of Barnstable’s website. Real-time public comment may be addressed to the Barnstable Town Council utilizing the Zoom video link or telephone number and access meeting code which will be included on the Agenda. Written Comments may be submitted to: https://tobweb.town.barnstable.ma.us/boardscommittees/towncouncil/Town_Council/Agenda-Comment.asp. The meeting Agenda will be available on the Town of Barnstable’s website (www.townofbarnstable.us).