This page is maintained by Swanton Village, Inc and is intended to be the official online posting of public meetings and minutes in accordance with Vermont’s Open Meeting law (Amended July 1st, 2014).

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

September 23, 2019









Monday, September 23, 2019

7:00 PM




PRESENT: Neal Speer, Village President; Chris Leach, Trustee; Adam Paxman, Trustee; Eugene LaBombard, Trustee; Reginald Beliveau Jr., Village Manager; Dianne Day, Village Clerk; Philip “Butch” Patch; Crystal & Antonio Woods; Vic Woods; John & Patricia Rushlow; Rob & Ann Thomas and Ch. 16.


Unless otherwise noted, all motions carried unanimously.


  1. Call to Order:


Neal Speer, Village President, welcomed all to the Regular Board of Trustees meeting and called the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m.


  1. Agenda Review:


Neal Speer stated he needed an Executive Session to discuss Real Estate.

3. Public Comment:


Butch Patch informed the Board that he was hand delivered a Notice of Alleged Violation on September 16, 2019 from the VT Agency of Natural Resources. He said according to this notice, it states the description of the alleged violation to be: without first obtaining a permit, you have placed or allowed to be placed more than 10 cubic yards of waste concrete on the riverbank of the Missisquoi River on property you own and/or control located at 15 South River Street in Swanton. He said the notice further states that he has to apply for a Stream Alteration Permit for the removal of the subject waste concrete and stabilization of the riverbank by October 1, 2019. Butch said he has maintained this riverbank since he’s owned his property and has spent a lot of money stabilizing the bank over the years. Butch said he is hoping he’s not going to be a pawn in the dam removal issue. He said he has even planted vegetation in the concrete wall because that’s what the state asked for and said it’s sloped like they asked for. He said he’s done everything he’s been asked to do and now all of a sudden it’s now an issue. Neal Speer stated now that they know who to contact the Board will address this and contact that individual. Butch said the State has given him 10 days to reply and he has no problem contacting them and asking for an extension. Reg Beliveau stated he should reply so that he’s not issued a fine and also do an inquiry about why these stabilization walls are allowed on the lake along Maquam Shore Road but not the river. Eugene LaBombard asked Butch how long this wall has taken Butch to complete. Butch stated several years and said he still continues to add blocks when needed due to erosion. He showed the Board pictures of his wall. Neal stated the Board would get back to him as soon as they’ve heard something.


4. Approve and Accept Minutes from Monday, September 9, 2019 Meeting:


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to approve and accept Minutes from the Monday, September 9, 2019 meeting as presented. Adam Paxman seconded. Discussion: Adam Paxman asked if the King Street sidewalk issue has been rescheduled. Village Clerk Dianne Day said no not as of yet, that the individual has not called to get back on the agenda. Adam stated this item should be tabled at this time. Chris Leach asked if Bruce Spaulding has worked on the Lady Liberty monument. Neal Speer stated Ron Kilburn provided them with information from the company in Boston that cleaned the monument in 1999. Ron is contacting them to see if this cleaning solution would be okay to use on it. He will let them know what he finds out. Motion carried.


5. Approve and Accept Village Warrants through September 20, 2019:


Chris Leach made the motion to approve and accept Village Warrants through September 6, 2019 as presented. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Discussion: Adam Paxman asked about the payment made to Peak Motor. Reg Beliveau stated this was for the pumps at the Wastewater Plant. Chris Leach asked about the SS Solar payment and Eugene LaBombard asked if the payment to MVP was monthly. Motion carried.



6. Crystal Woods – Noise Complaint on Fourth Street:


Neal Speer stated Antonio and Crystal Woods were present tonight along with some of their neighbors to present their side of the story regarding the noise complaint with their rooster Onyx. Crystal introduced herself to the Board and said she and her family have lived at 11 Fourth Street for about 8 years. She said during this time the Bourgeois’ have made many complaints about their trees, their dogs and what they do on their property. She said they mostly ignore their complaints and for the most part all got along. She said in early spring 2019 her son Vic got some chicks and all were supposed to be hens for eggs but one ended up being a rooster (Onyx). She said she raised her children that when they take on an animal it is a lifetime commitment as the shelters are overrun with adoptable animals and thousands are euthanized every day. She said when they put the chicks outside because they were getting too big for the house that’s when the problems started. She said Onyx did crow as he was coming into maturity. She said the Bourgeois’ never once asked to talk to them in a respectful manner about the rooster bothering them. She said she was yelled at one morning while letting her dogs out and since then have tried different things to try and calm the situation down. She said they tried covering the cage so he didn’t crow as early, they tried a no-crow collar that they purchased from Amazon and they also moved the cage further away from the house. She said they have managed to keep him quiet during quiet times in the Village. She said when they didn’t get rid of the rooster their neighbors started calling the police on them and complaining to the Village. She said they didn’t just complain about the rooster, it ranged from the rooster to the noise from her son’s truck and from the radio playing in the garage while working in there. She said at this point it seemed pointless to get rid of the rooster to solve the problem because they were complaining about everything. Crystal said she is asking the Village to not put an ordinance in place to support the Bourgeois’ complaints. She said they are not doing anything illegal and they are Village taxpayers and take good care of their property. She said they try to follow the laws and try not to bother their neighbors and even help them out when they can.  She said if the Village puts an ordinance in place their rooster was there beforehand and grandfathered in. She said an ordinance would have to be retroactive and that is illegal.  She said Swanton has been a farming community for years and people are returning to growing their own vegetables and raising farm animals for organic food. She said putting an ordinance in place would take that choice away from them as well. She said the Bourgeois’ are wasting taxpayer dollars by using up valuable resources on trivial matters rather than important things happening as they speak. She said there are drug issues to be dealt with not roosters crowing and playing music in the middle of the day, there are far more important things to deal with. Lastly, Crystal says, if noise bothers them then living in the Village is not the place for them. She said Fourth Street is a busy street. There is a school with noisy children, there are neighbors that cut wood for their heat in the winter, and there is Swanton Limestone that makes noise all day that can be heard from Fourth Street with the blasting and drilling for stone. Neal Speer asked if those present were here in support of the Woods’. Bob Thompson stated having a rooster is no different than hearing a dog bark in the Village, he said its part of nature. He said he agrees with Crystal about this. He said back in the 1990’s his son had a race car that they would work on during the day. He said they never received one complaint. Reg Beliveau said they have made measures trying to keep Onyx quiet. Crystal said they have even looked into having the rooster neutered but it costs approximately $200. She said he seems to be more noisy when people are around and they are hoping that calms down the older he gets. She said they are hoping to get him re-homed but roosters are not in high demand. She said even if they get rid of the rooster their neighbors won’t stop making complaints on them. Neal said he appreciates their attempts at trying to remedy the situation. He said they will work together and try and come up with a peaceful resolution. The Board thanked everyone for coming in.


7. Any Other Necessary Business:


Adam Paxman stated the Fire Chief, Police Chief and Board of Trustees received a letter regarding the fireworks that were held in the Village after the Arts Spectacular Show. He said he will acknowledge receipt of the letter. Adam also asked if there would be a comparison done on the health care insurance. He said Halloween in the Park will be held on October 26 and Christmas in the Park will be held on December 7th. He said the Chamber of Commerce building has been moved and the carpet will be installed soon. He also said Sam and Betty will be moved to MVUHS very soon for the winter.


Any Other Business: Chris Leach stated the sidewalk on Robinhood Drive looks good. He also said there was a motor vehicle accident in front of Swanton Lumber and said the pole was hit and needs to be replaced.


Any Other Business: Neal Speer stated the lights and soffet looks great downtown.


Any Other Business: Eugene LaBombard stated while traveling in different towns he has seen numerous signs stating “Engine Brake Mufflers Required.” He said this is something to keep in mind when dealing with noise ordinances. Chris Leach stated he has talked with other town officials and asked them how they measure noise.


Any Other Business: Reg Beliveau stated he received a call about littering along Maquam Shore and Lake Street. He also mentioned the Zero Energy Modular home in the Village Park that’s on display for Public Power Week.



8. Executive Session (If Necessary):


Adam Paxman made the motion to enter into Executive Session to Discuss Real Estate at 7:56 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.


Chris Leach made the motion to exit Executive Session at 8:25 p.m. Eugene LaBombard seconded. Motion carried.




9. Adjournment:


Eugene LaBombard made the motion to adjourn the Regular Board of the Trustees meeting at 8:25 p.m.  Chris Leach seconded. There being no further business at hand, Neal Speer, Village President, adjourned the meeting at 8:25 p.m. Motion carried.





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Neal Speer, Village President                            Date





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Dianne Day, Village Clerk                                Date