PERU – After five years of dealing with shoreland violations and other issues with Paul Bickford, selectmen made steps to bring the issues to a close Monday night.
Bickford had been cited for building too close to the shoreline of Worthley Pond, improperly removing vegetation and living full time in a house not permitted as a year-round residence.
Code Enforcement Officer Jack Plumley spoke at length to the board Monday night. He said Bickford has moved the building back to 75 feet from the shoreline and he has been in communication with Bickford with the consent of Bickford’s attorney.
Plumley said a letter of consent would allow Bickford to use the camp year-round. Other issues in the consent letter would address the fact that each side would pay their own expenses incurred in preparing the letter of consent, and there would be no recourse taken on either side for past violations.
The board was skeptical of a consent agreement to allow the variance, but agreed the issue had gone on long enough and would continue to cost the town money.
Plumley said, “Discussions are back on the table, and neither side is really going to win this thing. If it goes back to court, everyone is a looser.”
Plumley thought the board couldn’t act until there was a full board of five again, but Kathy Hussy, selectmen’s secretary, produced a legislative ruling which said boards can act with vacancies. Peru had three selectmen resign recently, but one of them remained until there is an election.
The board voted to have Plumley act as mediator between the town and Bickford and have Bickford’s attorneys draw up a letter of consent.
Road Commissioner David Gammon reported to the board on the capital improvement project. He said he will be starting catch basins on Main Street today and Pleasant Street is ready to start paving. He expects to have Dickvale Road ready in eight to 10 days. He reported that few problems with ledge had come up as they had run into mostly large rocks. Gammon said he hopes drivers will be patient as the road work progresses with traffic delays due to construction.
Bill Hine was appointed to the River Valley Growth Council
Town Clerk Vera Parent reported that a case to hold the Boston Post Cane and plates with recipients’ names would cost $75. The board approved the expenditure. It will have room for 18 plates.
The next meeting will be Aug. 13 followed by a special town meeting at the Grange Hall on selling an old firetruck and pumper and to purchase tires for trucks.