After a couple of traffic accidents and vocal concerns from residents living by the North Avenue/Neck Road intersection, selectmen on April 28 approved Police Chief Paul Magee’s recommendations to repaint the stop lines on the road and trim back trees close to the intersection.
A memorandum from Chief Magee to the Board of Selectmen cites two separate incidents when drivers failed to stop at the intersection that resulted in vehicular crashes. Residents have complained about safety issues surrounding the intersection, prompting Magee to devise measures to improve safety at the intersection.
Those measures will be putting down fresh paint along the stop line and adding the word “Stop” on the road to reinforce the stop line. Trees north and southbound on North Avenue will be trimmed back as well to improve visibility.
“It’s a difficult intersection because of the sight lines,” said Magee. He stated that existing cautionary signs placed ahead of the intersection should be ample warning of the upcoming stop signs, but alas …”and we are doing enforcement.” added Magee. He said the new safety measures “will make a difference.”
Newly appointed Chairman of the Board of Selectmen Bradford Morse suggested a motion to forward the chief’s memo to the Highway Department to execute Magee’s recommendations, and the board approved the motion.
In other news, the board approved the expansion of Matt’s Blackboard Restaurant on Rounseville Road, increasing the 600 square-foot restaurant by another 300 square feet.
Owner Matt Gurney said the restaurant acquired the 300 feet some time ago when it took over the “Bev Loves Books” location because the restaurant needed the extra space for a storage room. The space was eventually converted into a “morning café.”
“[The café] just didn’t pan out and the dinners are really busy,” said Gurney.
The added space will provide more seating and a larger waiting area for customers during busy dining hours.
Also during the meeting, the board briefly discussed the five-year Capital Plan, which is adjusted on an annual basis to include any new projects that “pop up,” as Selectman Naida Parker put it.
Parker mildly criticized unspecified department heads for not accurately predicting future capital projects, saying they should be able to anticipate the imminent need to replace old equipment or make repairs within the foreseeable future.
“Department heads should really be taking a hard look at what’s coming up in the next five years,” said Parker. “We rely on them to bring these items forward…”
Town Administrator Richard LaCamera said, at this point, the Town has addressed all the items within the Capital Plan from the last three years, except roadway repairs and maintenance covered by accrued Chapter 90 state funding, which will ultimately become a focus in the current five-year plan.
LaCamera called the Capital Plan a “moving plan that gets updated every single year.”
In other news, the board approved the recommended appointments to the Conservation Commission, as well as the Zoning Board of Appeals, Historical Commission, and Chief Magee’s recommendation to reappoint current Animal Control Officer Anne Estabrook.
Magee further requested the additional appointment of Kelly Massey to part-time animal control officer to fill a vacant assistant animal control officer position. Massey is also an animal control officer for the Town of Mattapoisett.
The board also approved the reappointment of three additional part-time police officers: Alyson Rego from Dartmouth, Dylan Hicks from Pittsfield, and Alexander Malo from Taunton.
Selectmen reminded Rochester residents that they are seeking members for the newly-established Cable Commission, and asked any residents interested in serving to please express their interest.
The next meeting of the Rochester Board of Selectmen will be a joint meeting with the Finance Committee and town department heads on May 5 at 7:30 pm for a warrant and fiscal year 2015 budget review.
By Jean Perry