FARMINGTON — Selectmen, Oct. 11, scheduled a public hearing for Oct. 24 and approved two additions to the warrant for the special Town Meeting already set for Oct. 25.

The public hearing will be held in the downstairs conference room at the Municipal Building at 6:30 p.m. The special Town Meeting the next night will be held at the Community Center at 7 p.m. It was originally scheduled for Oct. 3 to consider purchasing land next to the Public Works facility and a firetruck to replace Engine 2. It was moved to Oct. 25 so an amendment to the Farmington Zoning Ordinance could also be put before voters.

In February a hearing was held on changes to the ordinance regarding homeless shelters. Selectmen took no action so interested parties could present their suggestions to the Zoning Board.

A few years ago it was determined the present ordinance doesn’t allow a homeless shelter anywhere in Farmington. Meetings with stakeholders were held and a complete consensus was reached, he said.

Proposed amendments to the Zoning Ordinance include:

• Homeless shelter definition: A facility, the primary purpose of which is to provide temporary accommodations to homeless persons, free of monetary charge or at nominal cost, in a dormitory-style, or barracks-style arrangements, or a combination of such arrangements. Accommodations are provided on a temporary basis, meaning that the facility is intended to serve as a refuge and a bridge between homelessness and residency in a suitable fixed location. Such facility also provides, in addition to shelter, support services such as food, hygiene, laundry, staff offices, and meeting rooms for counseling, job training, and referrals to other agencies.


• Table of Uses, Section 11-8.9.D.: Homeless shelters will be permitted in all districts, subject to land use standards and Planning Board approval.

• Performance standard for Homeless Shelter, Section 11-8: Lists purpose, definitions, standards, application submission requirements, and licenses and permits required.

“Technically speaking we did not hold a public hearing on the revised version we came up with,” Mills said.

“That was a question I had,” Selectman Joshua Bell said.

A hearing is required to allow comments on any proposed ordinance changes prior to their approval by selectmen. Notification of the hearing must be given 10 days prior. Voters then approve or deny the changes at a town meeting.

“It is tempting to take shortcuts but I want this to survive,” Mills said.


Selectmen also approved an addition to the warrant regarding the purchase of a firetruck to replace Engine 2. The process of replacing the truck began in July. In order to set the price before another increase takes effect Nov. 1, the contract must be signed before that date, Selectmen were told in September.

Engine 2 is a 1995 and is 3 years past its expected life, has been put out to bid, Town Manager Christian Waller wrote in a Sept. 20 email.

The article asks voters to appropriate up to $850,000 from the unassigned fund balance, financing, or in any combination as deemed in the best interest of the Town by the Select Board.

Initially a Fire Department equipment reserve account was included in the funding options. Research and discussion with counsel determined the unassigned fund balance is not a reserve account thus limiting the funding options, Waller said.

The town’s fund balance is healthy, has $5.1 million with more than three months in reserve after this [expenditure], Waller noted.

The plan was to use $125,000 from the Fire Department’s equipment reserve, Fire Chief TD Hardy said.


“Since we are that healthy it would be my opinion to flat out pay for [the truck],” Selectman Chairman Matthew Smith said. “Get that much more to build towards the next piece [of apparatus]. We know it’s coming, it is just a matter of time. Maybe this will give us the ability to not have to bond out the next one, or at least not as much.”

Hardy said his department was still catching up from one truck.

“Just take the amount from the unassigned fund balance, leave the dollar amount in the reserve account, try to add that extra in for the next one,” Selectman Joshua Bell said.

Hardy said the next apparatus to replace is the ladder truck, that in the future long-term planning could help get the funding lined up.

Selectmen later approved all warrant articles for the special Town Meeting, which includes another question regarding the firetruck and one on the land purchase next to the Public Works facility.









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