SHIRLEY -- At their recent meeting, selectmen met in joint session with the Planning Board to seat a new member, Heather Hampson, who stepped up to fill a position that's been vacant for some time. She will serve until the next town election in May, 2014.
Selectman David Swain stressed that this was not an appointment but an election. Following protocol, each board voted to nominate Hampson, who was elected by a unanimous roll call vote of both boards together.
First, though, the two groups briefly discussed whether it was a conflict of interest for her to serve on the elected board while working in a paid position in town, since state law prohibits holding multiple town jobs.
Hampson is the part-time administrative assistant to the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Planning Board Chairman Jonathan Greeno contacted the Attorney General's office to find out. The upshot was that it's not a conflict, he said, with a disclosure form on file.
ZBA Chairman Rachel Sizer said her board has no problem with Hampson serving on the Planning Board.
Selectmen held a public hearing to consider a request from Verizon and National Grid to erect a support utility pole at the intersection of Lancaster Road and Mt. Laurel Circle.
The additional pole -- #45 1/4 -- will be located 95-feet from the center of Mt. Laurel Circle and is being erected to support another, existing pole and a new solar farm in Lancaster.
After speaking briefly with a Verizon representative and a woman representing the solar farm and utilities in the other town, the three-member board voted unanimously to approve the request.
Finally, in response to a JBOS request, the board appointed David Swain as alternate representative.
The Joint Boards group is an advisor to MassDevelopment made up of selectmen-appointed representatives from host towns, Ayer, Harvard and Shirley and the Devens community.
Referencing a Memo of Understanding participants agreed to some time ago and to avoid quorum issues, JBOS recently called for each town and Devens to appoint an alternate member to sit in for their appointed representatives when called for.
Shirley's JBOS representative is Robert Prescott, now backed up by Swain.
Interest in JBOS, which typically languishes and reenergizes with the ebb and flow of Devens activity, recently perked up again at the news of a 7-acre residential subdivision slated for Grant Road.
The number of homes built there will replace as many units of military housing demolished several years ago.
When the Grant Road sector is complete, residential goals for the former Fort Devens will be met. That is, 272 residential units, as cited in the Reuse Plan the towns originally accepted and Chapter 498, state legislation that sets the rules for redeveloping Devens and determines its temporary governance under MassDevelopment.
Several of the new homes will be priced for medium-income buyers, Swain said. Based on Boston-area charts that translate to family income of about $72,000 per year he said. Groundbreaking is scheduled for next spring.
-- M.E. Jones