Selectmen at their Feb. 26 meeting appointed four at-large members to the newly created Trail Coordination and Management Committee. Peter LaGoy, Charles Dauchy, Kenneth Charles Parker and Jamie Wronka will join another three members to be recommended by the Planning Board, Conservation Committee and Parks and Recreation Commission to form the seven-member board.
Per the approved committee charge, initial members shall be appointed to one-, two- and three-year terms to achieve staggered terms, and all members appointed thereafter will serve three-year terms. LaGoy was appointed to the three-year term to June 30, 2021, Dauchy to the two-year term to June 30, 2020, and Parker and Wronka to one-year terms through June 30, 2019. No member may serve more than three consecutive terms.
Prior to voting the appointments, the board asked all of the applicants who were present to speak briefly to their experience and to their reasons for wanting to serve on the committee.
LaGoy, well known in town for his work on various trails in Hopkinton, spoke about his experience using trails throughout the country and his time spent looking at trail coordination in surrounding towns. He works as an environmental consultant and holds both a bachelor’s and master’s degree in biology from Georgetown University.
Dauchy, new to town in 2017, spoke of joining the Hopkinton Trails Club and using the town trails. He also has significant experience as an environmental consultant and holds degrees from Wesleyan University, Harvard University and Southern Connecticut State College, and a master’s degree from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies.
“I feel I bring both interests and skills and would like to contribute to my new home,” Dauchy told the board.
Parker is a scientist and a member of the Hopkinton Trails Club, the Upper Charles Trail Committee and the Hopkinton Area Land Trust (HALT). He told the board he would like to see more coordination with the Planning Board to incorporate trail plans into new developments and also would like to see a plan to provide access to Hopkinton’s schools via trails to help reduce traffic.
Wronka, a former member of the Conservation Commission who resigned due to the birth of her twins, said she was ready to return as a volunteer. She also works as an occupational therapist and holds a master’s degree in occupational therapy from the University of New Hampshire.
Wronka’s appointment involved more discussion by the board because she is a resident in a neighborhood near the Hughes property where a dog park was recently considered but rejected due to neighbors’ concerns. Both Brian Herr and Chair Claire Wright wanted to make sure that she understood that while abutters to a proposed project can serve on the committee, she would have to recuse herself from any project where she was an abutter with an identified financial interest. Wronka said she understood and cited her related experience on the Conservation Commission.
First envisioned and discussed toward the end of last year but not officially approved by the board until Jan. 15, the Trail Coordination and Management Committee’s purpose is:
- To act as an advisory to the Board of Selectmen and to serve as an “umbrella” over the various public and private entities that work concurrently to provide and maintain public trails in Hopkinton;
- To coordinate trail planning, management and maintenance;
- To provide a sounding board for residents and others with respect to trails;
- To function as a liaison between the Board of Selectmen and the public and private entities that work to provide, manage and maintain public trails.
A major goal of the committee is to support and facilitate a coordinated approach to trail planning and management, comply with town plans, rule and regulations, and to ensure the implementation of Town Meeting votes, adopted plans, regulatory decisions and board and committee actions. The committee also is expected to establish branding, help with promotion and public education, foster community engagement and achieve sustainability.
Areas of consideration shall include public safety, environmental impacts and environmental resources, financial impacts, public access and use, accessibility, sustainability, and mitigation of impacts to abutters.
The Board of Selectmen may appoint up to five associate (non-voting) members if desired, but not until one year after a quorum of full members has been appointed, to allow time for the committee to fully consider and clarify its purpose and charge.
The charge of the committee also points out that the existing authority of an appointed or elected board and/or committee is not intended to be modified by the creation of the Trail Coordination and Management Committee. Issues, concerns and questions may be reviewed, but any final decisions will be made by the entity with jurisdiction.