To the Editor:
We have to by federal law.
The town has been given an unfunded mandate by the EPA to inspect and monitor every stormwater system that has been installed in Kingston in the last twenty years. This requirement carries a fine of over $200k per day if not completed to standard. While the town could hire an engineering firm for $100k+ per year to complete this task, we would still need a full-time building inspector.
This is a full-time building inspector.
Our current building inspector is a part-time employee who does not wish to go full time and has indicated that he will likely retire at some point. The proposed position would have the initial responsibility of fulfilling our stormwater and site plan requirements, while shadowing the building inspector in his role, with the intent of taking over when he chooses to retire. While we hope that is a ways off, it will allow for a seamless transition with no interruption in service to the people of Kingston. Simply put, we are hiring a full-time building inspector while we have a part-time building inspector to train them and make sure that they are the right fit for the town.
A deal is a deal.
The town has had the site plan review process in place for many years but no means to enforce the agreed-upon terms of approved plans. With debris piles that are 20x taller than allowed or trees cut down where they are supposed to be providing a visual buffer, there are people breaking their agreements with the town and we need to ensure that they are held to account. Otherwise, these agreements aren’t worth the paper they are printed on.
This is not intended to handle residential issues.
Many people are justifiably concerned about this person driving around town with a clipboard and tape measure seeing how far off the road your azaleas are. The only instance where they would be involved in resident issues would be when there is a signed complaint from a resident, which by law the town must investigate, as we currently do. Instead of one of the selectmen investigating when available, it would be the code enforcement officer. They would then bring it back to the board for review and only the board will decide if further action is required. Almost all of the complaints received entail us saying “That’s a civil matter. The town will not be taking action.” Your elected officials will still be the ones deciding upon enforcement. These items will be discussed in a public meeting and as always, we welcome public input.
Focusing on the important, not the urgent.
The world is changing very rapidly. As the leaders of the town, the selectmen want to ensure the long term success of the town through fiscal responsibility and implementing lasting improvements that make us able to handle any challenge that may arise. Spending 60% of our efforts on compliance issues does not allow for this to happen. If the people want to continue to have independent volunteer leadership, we need to be able to focus our limited available time on that goal. If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you for your time and I hope you will support Article 11 on March 9th.
Phil Coombs, Chairman
Kingston Select Board