Planning Commission presents Nuisance Ordinance to Select Board

BELLOWS FALLS, Vt. – On Tuesday, June 4, the Rockingham Select Board reviewed a draft of the Nuisance Ordinance developed by the Rockingham Planning Commission and the request for lease termination by Dan Baciagalupo and Blue Silo Bistro.

Photo provided

Rockingham Planning Commission Chair Bonnie North, with former Trustee president Myles Mickle, presented the draft of the Nuisance Ordinance the Planning Commission, including Village President Deborah Wright, had been working on for the last eight months. There were consultations with the Bellows Falls Police and Fire, listers, engineers, Development Director Gary Fox, and attorneys Ray Massucco and Steve Ankuda. Municipal Manager Wendy Harrison explained final implementation would not be until this fall.

North reiterated this proposal was a draft and was built upon the current ordinance, which contained unsafe buildings. The goals of the Nuisance Ordinance were to address citizen concerns, avoid high expense last resort demolition, and uniform the process of complaints throughout each department. RPC stressed owners would have opportunity for voluntary compliance before enforcement occurred. Fines would be established to help pay for the cost of two safety officers addressing complaints.

Resident of 23 years, Roberta Stradling voiced her concern, questioning what the lawyers said about the terms possibly infringing on personal property rights and said, “It’s problematic when you write it down.”

Resident Rebecca Gagnon said she initially had reservations but is interested in getting more people involved and wondered if the town would “adhere to its own ordinance.” The Select Board agreed it should.

North mentioned community outreach would include brochures to realtors, public hearings, and open RPC meetings throughout the summer. More information can be found at

Dan Baciagalupo of Blue Silo Bistro requested a termination of his lease for the Town Hall space and offered to pay two weeks rent. Harrison recommended acceptance of his cancellation, and Finance Director Shannon Burbela said it was a unique situation because Baciagalupo had not yet moved in and that town staff endorsed his offer. Chair Peter Golec commented that by breaking the lease, he should be subject to the terms. Gaetano Putignano moved to accept his lease resignation and request one month’s rent plus pay the 10% penalty, which the Select Board approved.

Fox developed a proposal for future tenants, which will include advertising, rental criteria, and Select Board final decision.

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