HANSON — The Recreation Commission has begun the work of revising its policies and procedures by deciding Thursday, April 28 to form a subcommittee for that work.
In the meantime, members have voted 6-0 to amend section 12 of its policies and procedures to allow recreational vehicles on the Camp Kiwanee property under certain circumstances by a majority vote of the commission and selectmen — and then voted 6-0 to allow no more than 15 RVs on Camp Kiwanee grounds during the May 20-22 Bluegrass on the Bogs festival.
The RV waiver for the festival would also require locating RVs where they are visible to Hanson Police, festival and Recreation staff, the fire department and Board of Health.
Both Recreation Commission votes were contingent on majority votes of the Board of Selectmen during it’s meeting Monday, May 2 before the annual Town Meeting.
Commission member James Hickey urged that members of the Board of Selectmen and new Town Administrator Michael McCue also be on the policy revision subcommittee.
“We don’t want to be spending all this time and be going in a different direction than the Board of Selectmen wants us to be going in,” agreed Commission member Sue Lonergan.
Selectmen voted 4-0 prior to Town Meeting, with Selectman Don Howard abstaining, in favor of both amendments.
The board made it clear their vote on the RV exemption was in force for this year’s bluegrass festival only, especially in view of concerns on the part of both town counsel and the festival producer’s insurance carrier regarding the lack of hookup facilities at the camp.
“At this point, because it came so late in the process, we’re just trying to patch it up,” said town counsel Jay Talerman. “Next year we’ll get it in a little bit more shape, but [his associate Sarah Bellino] felt, with the beefing up of the agreement, we’re basically covered from a liability perspective. Is it perfect when we have the RVs there? No. But we felt the town was covered … this was a patch.”
Selectmen have also imposed a Friday, May 13 deadline for submitting the insurance coverage, cleared by town counsel, and a revised and re-signed rental agreement for Kiwanee — including a clause indemnifying the town and police detail requirements — to the board for a Tuesday, May 17 vote.
“If we don’t have it, the event is not moving forward, it’s done,” Selectman Kenny Mitchell said of the updated documents.
Bellino of the town counsel firm of Blatman, Bobrowski & Mead had listed the RV prohibition as one of four issues she “highly” recommended be addressed before the bluegrass festival is allowed to proceed in an email to selectmen April 26. She also listed public safety details, the need for liability insurance and sanitation concerns as points that need to be addressed before the event.
“This is specific to make sure we have all this in place before the event goes off,” Recreation Commission Chairman David Blauss said of the RV waiver.
“You need to establish some kind of exception to that under circumstances where the use of recreational vehicles, there’s sufficient policing of how those recreational vehicles are parked and how they are maintained,” said Selectmen Chairman Bruce Young, who attended the Recreation Commission meeting.
Blauss said the policies and procedures would likely be maintained as-is, but should allow room for exceptions by a majority vote of both the commission and selectmen.
Young said RV owners, when traveling look for electricity, water and sanitation hook-up facilities not available at Camp Kiwanee.
“When you don’t have that particular option, naturally you restrict RVs,” Young said. “You don’t encourage them.”
Sue Lonergan suggested the RV ban was initially aimed and controlling people who might seek to park an RV at the camp for an entire summer and that cabin rentals, too, are limited to two weeks for that reason.
“We wanted to make sure we didn’t have someone living with us for the season,” she said.
The exception approved April 28 would be used in the event another event sought to have RV access.
Food pantry benefit
In other business, the Recreation Commission voted to set aside the date of Friday, Oct. 28 for what will likely be a benefit chili cook-off festival with music in support of the Hanson Food Pantry.
Laura Fitzgerald-Kemmett, of the Food Pantry’s board of directors, made the pitch for the event, saying she would pay the $40 liquor permit fee out-of-pocket so the pantry would realize 100-percent of the event proceeds.
Hickey had suggested the commission might donate the fee as a gift to the pantry, but Fitzgerald-Kemmett declined, arguing the pantry did not want to start a precedent the commission could not keep up.
“It’s the Hanson Food Pantry,” Hickey said. “Everybody’s volunteering. We could co-sponsor this where the [pantry] would not be charged a dime. That’s why I’m here, it’s to do stuff like this and not have people spending money out of their own pocket.”
“I love where your heart is at, I really appreciate it … I just would be afraid that you guys would be setting a precedent.”
The pantry’s board of directors have also considered a trivia night event for the 5 to 11 p.m., Oct. 28 time slot for the 7 p.m. event, Fitzgerald-Kemmett said.
“We’re kind of narrowing it down, but either event would be ideally suited for Camp Kiwanee,” she said. “Both would involve liquor because, frankly, liquor makes the money flow at fundraisers — it’s just a fundamental truth.”
Other than bartenders, who have to be paid so they can cover insurance and the liquor license fee, the Food Pantry is planning on all services — including the hall rental — to be donated as the pantry is a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
“I enjoy trivia,” Fitzgerald-Kemmett said, “But I thought [a chili cook-off] would be a little different and I’ve got a line on a couple country-western bands that could play.”
The commission also voted the go-ahead for Hanover Troop 1 Boy Scout Matthew Minihan to work on the assembling and installation of screens at a Camp Kiwanee porch as well as two barbecue pits as his Eagle Scout project.
The Scout plans to check to see if building permits are required for the work.