But resident Amy Lucas felt the board had put the proverbial cart before the horse. Lucas contended that a majority of residents oppose the idea of hunting of any kind on town land. She called for selectmen to bring the question to Town Meeting floor for a vote this spring. Why would selectmen proceed with a committee to develop a policy without first checking to see what the interest for it was in town, Kemper was asked.
“We do a lot of things that the majority of the town doesn’t want,” he responded, adding that many people have contacted him over the years asking why hunting isn’t allowable on land that was purchased with taxpayer dollars. Since he is not a hunter himself, Kemper believed it would be valuable to have a committee representing those particular stakeholders develop a policy first.
Resident Barry Fogel said selectmen made a mistake in creating an advisory committee at this point in the process. Instead, he suggested any interested hunters should have been encouraged to research the topic on their own, without the constraints of the Open Meeting Law to which a formal committee must adhere. Then selectmen could have seated a committee comprised of multiple stakeholders to review the research of this particular interest group along with opinions from other groups in town.
Selectmen did not respond to Fogel’s suggestions, but instead moved to appoint Chadwick as the fourth member of the Hunting Committee.
According to Trim, the committee plans to hold an open meeting later this month, but a specific date is still pending. State law requires posting the meeting on the meeting board in the foyer of the 1910 Town Office Building at least 48 hours in advance. Meetings are also often added electronically to the town calendar at www.wnewbury.org.
Trim said given the amount of work in front of them, his committee would likely not have a recommendation for selectmen prior to the Annual Town Meeting in April.