Committee members request ability to voice their opinions

Nov 28, 2017

Country Fair Committe members requested the right to keep voicing their opinions during a November 27 Rochester Board of Selectmen meeting.

Under the new agreement between the Board of Selectmen and the Pine Street Usage Committee, the Country Fair Committee is allowed a vote on applicants hoping to use the Fairgrounds. The vote is more or less symbolic, as the Board of Selectmen will make the final decision on the applications regardless. While the vote was eventually approved, it concerned one selectman.

Selectman Woody Hartley initially disagreed with wording that allowed the Country Fair Committee a vote on applicants hoping to use the Fairgrounds.

"I wrote that deliberately, so that the Country Fair Committee will always have a vote," Town Counsel Blair Bailey told him. "Even so, the application must be approved by the Board of Selectmen, regardless of the Committee's input."

"Would it be possible to change the wording and say that the committee has the power to review applicants?" Hartley said.

Bailey said he could, but Pine Street Usage Committee and Country Fair Committee member Kelly Morgado objected to the change. "I don't like that, if we don't get a vote," she said. "We should at least get a say and be able to register how we feel."

"I'm afraid it gives you the sense that you can deny something when you can't," Hartley told her.

"We know our vote has no weight," Morgado replied. "We know you have the final say. We want a say, too."

Hartley agreed with her, and opted to keep the committee's vote.

The Pine Street Usage Committee consists of Morgado, Selectman Brad Morse, Bailey, Town Administrator Suzanne Szyndlar and Fairgrounds abutter Jeremy Peck.

It was formed earlier this year, after several abutters expressed concern over the future of the fairgrounds if controls on events and construction were not put into place.

Among the rules listed are that the in addition to the Country Fair, there may only be six single-day fundraisers held per year to support the fair. Tractor pulls are only antique tractor pulls, which won't be as noisy as regular traffic pulls.

Outside businesses or entities are allowed a maximum of two single-day events per year.

"That's really more than I was thinking," Hartley said. "That's ten days of events per year just for the Country Fair and fundraisers. Is there any limit to how many other events can happen?"

"In the six years of the Fairgrounds, we've had interest from one other organization," Bailey said. "I didn't write it in that way because I don't expect it to be a problem."