Residents’ comments on East Street from April 1 BOS meeting

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The following comments expressed during the public session of the April 1 Board of Selectmen meeting were inadvertently omitted from the May Drummer.

Nelson Toussaint is upset that resident’s questions cannot be answered in the public session of board meetings; was disturbed that the town’s purchase of 107 East Street was not a separate line item in that budget vote; doesn’t agree with the process as it is being carried out now.

Mark Williams remains appreciative that the board authorized the purchase of 107 East Street for the town for the purpose of open space and/or agriculture. He recommends “going with the people you know and trust” with regard to the Hayes/Vaughan proposals. He noted that he has leased some of his own property to Hayes (and Gary Cirullo) and has had a very good relationship with both.

Robert Miller whose property abuts 107 East Street, is concerned with potential run-off of bio-solids during/after heavy rains. He also had questions regarding depletion of ground water and reflection from solar panels.

Heidi Darling said sale to Vaughan would perhaps help alleviate budget cuts, provide approximately 25 jobs, and perhaps draw in clientele who would then do other business in Granby. She noted that the sale to Vaughan aligns with the town’s 10-year plan of vision and would in its small way, help the dying dairy industry.

Mark Migliaccio was disappointed by the board’s indecision on this matter. In 2011, the board stated that the primary reason for the purchase was to preserve open space, secondarily in case of need related to the school district. Declining population makes the latter a moot concern. Seventy percent of those responding to the Town Owned Land Study Committee did not want the property sold. Why aren’t we sticking to the plan?

Dave Litchfield believes it is important for the town to keep the property; we don’t know what we are going to need 20 years from now. Does not think the Granby Gold brand will contribute to the vitality of the town’s economy, and no guarantee that these products will continue to be made, much as he maintains Granville cheese is no longer made in Granville.

Jesse Soloshun does not want the town to sell the property. “It wasn’t up for sale; why are you thinking of doing that now?”

Anna Sogliuzzo questions whether town residents really did choose to purchase 107 East Street in the first place as it was part of a package presented at the budget vote. She is in favor of selling it to Vaughan as his offer is double the appraisal. It is prime agricultural land and should be used for that, not saved for some unknown future use. Although acknowledging the Hayes’ long history of farming in Granby, she believes the board’s duty is to all the residents of the town, not just one family.

Ellen Whitlow, while not opposed to the Vaughan family, was disappointed that the Hayes integrity regarding farming methods has been questioned. Noted that the hay grown on 107 East Street is used to feed the Hayes cows and those of other farmers. The Hayes may not go out of business right away, but they might five years down the road if they no longer have use of the property.

The following comment was also expressed at the April 1 meeting.

Susan Regan spoke to the board’s policy to not reply to questions asked by residents in the public sessions of BOS meetings and also to the non-publication of any discussions that take place during the Koffee with Kuhnly sessions. Regarding the purchase of property, she noted that any pre-pay partial payback on bonding commitments incurs a higher interest rate, which increases the ongoing long-term debt. She would like to see a Citizens Advisory Commission to allow residents to be heard on issues of importance. She noted that this was actually suggested in the town’s Plan of Development.