Windsor: Police Department space request faces vote; vandalism case going to court; permits available online; Crane declines request to step down as Select Board chairman

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Police Department space request faces vote

WINDSOR — Months of debate over competing space needs in the Windsor Town Offices could be decided Monday.

The Select Board is scheduled to vote on a plan that would allow Police Chief Tom Barnaby to expand from a single office in the basement into a neighboring multipurpose room.

But because that room has long been used by town seniors, the Police Department would agree to allow others to occasionally occupy the room, located at the rear of the building on Route 9.

"The seniors can still use it to play their card games," said Town Clerk Madeline Scully.

Over the past several months, the Select Board has heard competing views on the best use of the basement space. It is poised to resolve the issue at the meeting that starts at 7 p.m. Monday.

Seniors who use the room have objected to seeing the Police Department expand into the space, saying it has been their gathering spot for 20 years or longer. Officials note that, because of a rising volume of police calls and new state regulations, the department needs more room.

A proposal last year to move Council on Aging activities across the road to the Town Hall was abandoned after seniors protested.

In a related space issue, Barnaby again is asking the town to rent garage space that will allow the police cruiser to be parked under shelter. The board said the current budget does not include money for that.

Vandalism case in court April 3

The Windsor man who faces criminal charges related to vandalism incidents in 2017 will be in court April 3.

Michael Andrew Rodgers is accused of breaking windows in the Windsor Congregational Church and the Town Offices with a pellet gun. He also is accused of using gasoline to try to set an outside wall of the town building on fire.

Flames got up under vinyl siding and caused damage. The town received an insurance settlement to cover repairs to the building.

According to the Berkshire District Attorney's Office, charges against Rodgers include an attempt to burn a building, injury to a church under $5,000 and vandalizing property.

This month, the town received notice from the District Attorney's Office about the next court hearing.

"This is a proceeding at which the Assistant District Attorney and the defense attorney further discuss the case," said a letter from Kristen Rapkowicz and Marley E. Knysh, victim assistance advocates for the office.

Permits now available online

Because of a new software package, Windsor residents can apply for a variety of permits through the town's website, windsormass.com.

On the site's home page, an "online permitting" link takes people to a site operated by Full Circle Technologies. New users must create an account.

The service allows people — contractors and homeowners alike — to apply for and track requests for building and electrical permits, among other things. Activation of the system was approved in a 3-0 vote Feb. 5 by the Select Board.

Board chairman holds on to post

Tim Crane, chairman of the Select Board, has declined a request that he step down from leadership of the panel.

Kim Tobin, a member of the board, told her colleagues at a recent meeting that she has considered resigning her position because of a lawsuit that Crane and his wife, Patty, filed against the town.

The suit, still pending in state Land Court in Boston, claims that the town does not have the right to improve a section of Plantation Road close to the Cranes' home.

Tobin said she decided to remain in her position.

Crane has recused himself from discussion of the Plantation Road case.

Douglas McNally, a Select Board member, said that Crane's leadership of the panel amid the litigation is problematic.

According to minutes of the board's Feb. 5 meeting, McNally told the body that Crane's position "lends an unfavorable 'perception' with the Town residents."

McNally joined Tobin in recommending that Crane give up the chairmanship, but remain on the board.

Crane is up for re-election to a new three-year term.

Larry Parnass can be reached at lparnass@berkshireeagle.com, at @larryparnass on Twitter and 413-496-6214.


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