Exercise Your Right to Vote Tomorrow, May 23rd, @ High School

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING or What's in Yor Wallet?

by Susan Woodrow
May 9, 2017

May 9 Update: The decision to allow reconsideration of Article 22 came after Town Meeting had closed and was made by Town Counsel, not Town Moderator. Therefore, according to our bylaws, the decision is not valid and the article cannot be reconsidered unless the Town Moderator decides otherwise.

Proposed changes in zoning were the top concerns of the night.

ARTICLE 1. HEAR REPORT OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN To hear and act on the report of the Selectmen. (Board of Selectmen)

Kevin Conley, Selectman, spoke about ongoing objectives:

ARTICLE 2. HEAR REPORT OF THE FINANCE COMMITTEE To hear and act on the report of the Finance Committee. (Finance Committee) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Kenneth Szajda, Finance Committee Chairman, outlined the fiscal condition of the town and described the process the Committee followed to review budgets.

ARTICLE 3. AUTHORIZE THE TREASURER TO SELL FORCLOSED TAX TITLE PROPERTIES To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Town Treasurer, subject to the approval of the Selectmen, to sell property acquired through foreclosure of tax titles by the Town and other real estate, after first giving notice of the time and place of the sale by posting such notice of sale in some convenient place in the Town, by publishing such notice of such sale in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town and by posting such notice on a Holliston Cable Access Television (HCAT) bulletin board and on the Town’s website at least fourteen (14) days before the sale. The Treasurer shall also give notice of such sale to the Executive Director of the Holliston Housing Authority, the Chair of the Holliston Housing Trust or its subsequent equivalent by first class letter at least forty-five (45) days before the sale. The Treasurer may hold a public auction and may reject any bid which she/he deems inadequate, and any such advertisement, notice or indication that real property is to be offered for sale by the Town of Holliston, or any department, commission, or other subdivision of the Town shall include the following statement: “Buyers should be aware that the Town of Holliston does not guarantee this property to be in conformity with existing zoning bylaws.” Whenever the proceeds of the sale or other disposal of real estate, other than that acquired through tax title foreclosure, by the Town of Holliston exceed five hundred dollars, the same shall be applied to the payment of indebtedness incurred in acquiring such real estate or shall be added to the sinking fund, if any, from which said indebtedness is payable, or if no such indebtedness is outstanding will be applied to the Town’s Capital Expenditure Fund as established by Chapter 46 of the Acts of 1993. The proceeds of a sale in excess of five hundred dollars of any park land by the Town shall be used only by the Town for acquisition of land for park purposes or for capital improvements to park land; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 4. AMEND THE CONSOLIDATED PERSONNEL BY-LAW SECTION 29 To see if the Town will vote to amend the Consolidated Personnel By-law Section 29, Job Classification Plan, by reflecting those revisions, deletions and/or additions to be effective as of July 1, 2017; or take any action relative thereto. (Town Administrator) (There are no changes from last year) SECTION 29, JOB CLASSIFICATION PLAN (Full-time permanent positions) POSITION GRADE POSITION GRADE Administrative Assessor 400 Dispatcher 200 12 Assistant Clerk 200 Head Dispatcher 400 Assistant Director, Library 400 Head of Circulation, Library 400 Assistant Recreation Director 400 Library, Page 50 Assistant, Town Clerk 400 Matron, Police 100 Assistant, Treasurer/Collector 400 Outreach Coordinator 400 Cataloger, Library 300 Principal Clerk 300 Children’s Librarian 400 Program Coordinator 200 Clerk to a Board/Committee 100 Reference Librarian 400 Court Diversion/Community Therapist 400 Technician, Library 100 Crossing Guard 100 Van Driver 100 Custodian 100 THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 5. AMEND THE CONSOLIDATED PERSONNEL BY-LAW SECTION 30 To see if the Town will vote to amend the Consolidated Personnel By-law Section 30, Job Compensation Plan, to reflect the rates listed below, and the inclusion of any new rates resulting from reevaluation or new or revised positions to be effective as of July 1, 2017; or take any action relative thereto. (Town Administrator) (This table reflects a 1% increase over FY17)

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 6. PAY UNPAID BILLS To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for unpaid bills from prior years; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) AMOUNT TO ACCOUNT $1,613.88. 01945-57400 Insurance THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE TOWN RAISE AND APPROPRIATE $1,613.88 FOR LATE BILLS (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 7. CURRENT FISCAL YEAR TRANSFERS To see if the Town will vote to transfer from available funds a sum of money for the purpose of supplementing various accounts of the Town’s Fiscal Year 2017 annual operating budget, previously voted by the Town under ARTICLE 14, of the Warrant for the 2016 Annual Town 13 Meeting and under ARTICLE 1, of the Warrant for the October 24, 2016 Special Town Meeting; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) AMOUNT FROM TO ACCOUNT $58,271 Reserve Fund (01132-57810) 01423-52901 Snow and Ice THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Moderator, Jackie Delicker.

$58,271 to fund the fy 2017 snow and ice deficit.

Passed unanimously.

 

ARTICLE 8. AUTHORIZE THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN TO SELL SURPLUS EQUIPMENT To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Board of Selectmen to hold a public auction for the purpose of disposing of surplus departmental equipment; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 9. AUTHORIZATION TO EXPEND CHAPTER 90 MONIES To see if the Town will vote to authorize the Department of Public Works, with the approval of the Board of Selectmen, to use and expend sums received from the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as reimbursements under the Chapter 90 State Aid to Highways program for further construction, reconstruction and improvements, including surface treatments of approved public ways within the Town; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 10. PROPERTY TAX EXEMPTIONS To see if the Town will vote to accept the provisions of Chapter 73 of the Acts of 1986, as amended by Chapter 126 of the Acts of 1988, authorizing the Board of Assessors to grant an increase of twenty percent (20%) to all exemptions from property taxes excluding those granted under clause 18 of section 5 of Chapter 59 of the Massachusetts General Laws for the fiscal year commencing July 1, 2017; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Assessors) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 11. AMEND INTEREST RATES PER ANNUM To see if the Town will vote to amend the interest rate per annum from 8% to 6% under the provisions of Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, Section 5, clause 41A, which regulates tax deferral for homeowners 65 years or older, pursuant to the authority contained in Chapter 136 of the Acts of 2005, thereby amending said clause 41A; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Assessors) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 12. AMEND INCOME REQUIREMENTS To see if the Town will vote to accept the provisions of section 51 of Chapter 184 of the Acts of 2002, amending the income requirements under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 59, section 5, clause 41C; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Assessors) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS). 14

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 13. CIRCUIT BREAKER INCOME ADJUSTMENT TO DEFFERAL APPLICANTS To see if the Town will vote to increase the gross receipts that seniors may have in the prior calendar year to be eligible to defer property taxes under G.L. c.59 Section 5, Clause 41A from $20,000 to the amount established annually by the Commissioner of Revenue as the income limit to qualify for the “circuit breaker” state income tax credit for the proceeding state tax year (single seniors who are not heads of households, head of household, and for married couples filing a joint return), with such increase to be effective for deferrals granted for taxes assessed for the fiscal year beginning on July 1, 2017. (Board of Assessors) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

ARTICLE 14. FISCAL YEAR 2018 BUDGET To see what money the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds to meet expenses and outlays to Town departments, salaries of Town Officers, sundry and miscellaneous but regular expenditures, for a Reserve Fund, Conservation Fund, Stabilization Fund, and to appoint trustees or caretakers or authorize the Selectmen to appoint caretakers of the cemeteries of the Town not otherwise provided for, for the ensuing year; or take any action relative thereto. (Omnibus Budget) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Mark Schultz questioned a number in building expenses, due to a faulty transcription in the published document. He made a motion to amend, to correct the total to $132,484. This passed unanimously.

The Building Inspector line item passed unanimously

ARTICLE 15. CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the Capital Expenditure Fund; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMEND THAT THE TOWN RAISE AND APPROPRIATE $1,000,000 FOR THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND (UNANIMOUS).

ARTICLE 16. CAPITAL EXPENDITURES To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds, or borrow a sum of money for the purpose of capital expenditures, including replacement and new vehicles and equipment, for the Schools, Police, Selectmen and Public Works departments, and authorize the Board of Selectmen to trade or sell used equipment toward part of the purchase price; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) Town Hall Doors SELECTMEN $25,000.00 Message Board DPW HIGHWAY $16,950.00 Message Board DPW WATER $16,950.00 Portable Air Compressor DPW HIGHWAY $20,400.00 2017 John Deere Front end loader DPW HIGHWAY $147,000.00 TOTAL $226,300 THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE TOWN APPROPRIATE THE FOLLOWING AMOUNTS FROM THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND: $25,000 FOR TOWN HALL DOORS, $16950 FOR A MESSAGE BOARD, $20,400 FOR A PORTABLE 15 AIR COMPRESSOR, AND $147,000 FOR A 2017 JOHN DEERE FRONT END LOADER, AND THAT THE TOWN APPROPRIATE $16,950 FROM THE WATER SURPLUS ACCOUNT FOR A MESSAGE BOARD (UNANIMOUS).

ARTICLE 17. REPORT OF THE COMMUNITY PRESERVATION COMMITTEE To see if the Town will vote to act on the report of the Community Preservation Committee on the fiscal year 2018 community preservation budget and to appropriate or reserve for later appropriation monies from Community Preservation Fund annual revenues or available funds for the administrative expenses of the Community Preservation Committee, the payment of debt service, the undertaking of community preservation projects and all other necessary and proper expenses for the year; or take any action relative thereto. (Community Preservation Committee) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Frank Chamberlain gave an overview of the five recommendations that the Community Preservation Committee is proposing.

Jon Varrell questioned the proportion of the funding for the 8-arch bridge restoration that would come out of the CPC historic reserve fund. He suggested that the funds be drawn from the CPC open space reserve.

Mr. Chamberlain replied that the standards for historic preservation had been looked into by the Committee. In general the repairs will preserve the structure of the bridge in a way that is approved by the Secretary of the Interior’s guidelines.

The 8-arch bridge committee included Jay Robinson, Dennis Ferreira, Herb Brockert, Allison Lima and Paul Saulnier.  They have consulted several engineers, the CPC guidelines, the Historical Society, the Conservation Commission, and Robert Weidknecht of the Rail Trail Committee.

Liz Theiler asked why is the project not historic preservation. Brockert responded that this is essentially a roof over the existing structure to protect and seal it so it will be waterproof.

Mr. Chamberlain said that from CPC standpoint, within the guidelines of the CPC the proposal fits two uses: preservation and open space recreation. The funding was divided up according to how the work will be done. Also considered was the amount of money in each of the reserves, so it was funded proportionately within the limits of the available funds. Mr. Ferreira said that the work to make a complete restoration would add another half million dollars.

ARTICLE 18. STABILIZATION FUND To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for the Stabilization Fund; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS INDEFFINITE POSTPONEMENT (UNANIMOUS).

ARTICLEs 19-23 concern Zoning By-Law Changes. An explanation of these changes (with zoning maps) can be found beginning on page XX.

ARTICLE 19. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW – DELETING SUBSECTION 4 FROM SECTION IV-A (4) To see of the Town will vote to amend the Town of Holliston Zoning By-Laws by deleting the entirety sub-section 4 from Section IV-A (4) as it is in conflict with the language of Section I-C (4) Non-Conforming Lots adopted in May 2016. The language to be stricken is as follows: 4. A lot or parcel of land having an area or frontage of lesser amounts than required in the following schedule may be considered as coming within the area and frontage requirements of this section provided such lot or parcel of land was shown on a plan or described in a deed duly recorded or registered at the time of the adoption of this by-law or subsequent amendment here to and did not at the time of such adoption or amendment adjoin other land of the same owner available for use in connection with such lot or parcel. Lots specifically exempted Under M.G.L. Chapter 40A, Section 6 are also exempted from this by-law, or take any action relative thereto. (Planning Board/Zoning Board of Appeals)

ARTICLE 20. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW - DOWNTOWN CORRIDOR PLAN AREA 3 To see of the Town will vote to amend Section II-B of the Zoning By-Laws to modify the zoning map to reflect recommendations of Downtown Corridor Plan: Area 3 – Woodland Street Industrial Remnants and #83 Elm Street – Change the existing industrial district designation to Village Center Commercial. Area includes 310 – 360 Woodland Street and 83 Elm Street; or take any action relative thereto. (Planning Board) 16

Jon Varrell objected to changing the industrial area to a Village Commercial area. He feels there will be tax loss to the Town.

Cynthia Wall, MAPC, provided context to the project, using slides and handouts. The goal is to retain the quintessential New England character of the downtown area.

Karen Sherman, Town Planner, addressed the specifics of the zoning changes.

Anne Louise Hanstad stated a concern about what type of uses would be allowed across from the schools on Woodland St. Ms. Sherman noted that the Village Commercial zone has an added level of scrutiny by the planning board. Jon Varrell replied to the question by saying that any kind of retail establishment would be allowed near the schools.

Josh Santoro pointed out that there is already a bar nearby.

Passed 174-16

ARTICLE 21. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW- DOWNTOWN CORRIDOR PLAN AREA 4 To see of the Town will vote to amend Section II-B of the Zoning By-Laws to modify the zoning map to reflect recommendations of Downtown Corridor Plan: Area 4 – Elm/Grove – Change the district designation from Agricultural-Residential B to Village Residential. Area includes 602-696 Washington Street (even numbers), 27-131 Linden Street (odd numbers), Hampshire Street (all), Avon Street (all), Irving Place (all), 18 – 95 Elm Street (excluding 83)and 138 – 152 Railroad Street (even numbers). 83 Elm Street is proposed to change from Agricultural-Residential B to Village Center Commercial to match adjacent parcels on Elm and Grove Streets; or take any action relative thereto. (Planning Board)

Karen Sherman discussed rationale for the changes proposed for the Area 4 district, a compact historical district with overwhelming residential use. Jon Varrell stated that the zone divides Washington Street, so that there are different zoning requirements on opposite sides of the street. The non-conforming lots have protected the historic neighborhoods in town from tear-downs.

Ms. Sherman noted that the Planning Board is in accord with his goal. The process of special permitting in town seems onerous and may prevent individual investment and improvement to their properties. Jon Varrell stated that when the special permit process is lost, neighbors lose their say about changes.

Joan Shaugnessy would like to hear from someone who lives in the area.

Liz Newlands of Mudville discussed economic development, increased traffic through the back streets.

119-74 Fails

ARTICLE 22. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW - DOWNTOWN CORRIDOR PLAN AREA 5 To see of the Town will vote to amend Section II-B of the Zoning By-Laws to modify the zoning map to reflect recommendations of Downtown Corridor Plan: Area 5 – Mudville/Washington Street/Green Street a. Eliminate split zoning district lots and change Residential zoning district to Village Residential. Area to include 864 – 960 Washington Street, 22 Pine, Pleasant Street (all), School Street (all), Spring Street (all), Mechanic Street (8 – end), Union Street (65 – end). b. Clarify Industrial zoning district for 75 – 99 Exchange Street (odd numbers) and 13 – 18 Water Street as parcel based. Eliminate any Industrial zone on Winthrop Street lots. c. Change zoning district of 31 -53 Green Street from Village Center Commercial to Village Residential. d. Eliminate split zoned parcels (Village Center Commercial and Agricultural-Residential B) on 726, 736, 747 and 755 Washington Street, 8 Church Street and 20 Hollis Street and 838, 846 and 854 Washington Street, (Village Center Commercial), and 24 and 42 Hollis Street (Agricultural-Residential B).: or take any action relative thereto. (Planning Board)

Karen Sherman described the areas and summarized the rationale for the changes to uses.

Jon Varrell stated that he has a house in this area. He stated that there would be tear-downs and construction closer to lot lines and the historic nature of the neighborhood would be lost. He objected to mingling the Mudville area with the downtown area.

Geoffry Zeamer, Planning Board, stated that Holliston should have a good plan in place when inevitable development comes. The goal is to make it easier for homeowners to invest in their houses.

Karen Apuzzo-Langton, Planning Board, pointed out that they are asking to let the Board be proactive.

When asked about Andrews School, Karen Sherman outlined some possible uses.

Liz Newlands asked the zoning board of appeals about set backs.

The question was moved.

127-57 Passed

Dan Alfred made a motion to reconsider Article 21 passed on a voice vote.

Jon Varrell stated that he was shocked and objected to the motion to reconsider.

Inge Daniels stated that the neighbors support this change.

Karen Sherman defined the three ways sites can be non-conforming, and made the point that the Planning Board tried to address the question of tear-downs. Environmental conditions and septic systems are limiting factors. She pointed out the other ways regulatory review could be exercised.

Michaela Grubbs stated that the building on Church Street has been an improvement to their neighborhood. She urged support. Michelle Heffernan agreed that more discussion should be allowed. Geoffrey Zeamer reiterated that he feels the change creates a mechanism to help owners remain in their homes and have the impediments to improvement removed.

Mark Schultz stated his understanding that the plan is about standardizing what is already in place, in order to keep the character of the existing housing. He urged approval.

Dan Alfred responded to Mr. Varrell’s comment. He urged a yes vote.

Doug Foss summarized his understanding of the way the decreased setbacks may make it viable for contractors to maximize house size.

Marty Lamb gave credit to the Planning Board for their hard work and their effort to improve the community. He stated that in his experience, real estate deals are motivated by money. He urged a no vote.

Karen Sherman pointed out that the maximum building on a site was 50%

Michaela Grubbs noted that the septic system in her back yard prevented any expansion.

Karyn Knight-Detering, Winthrop Street, spoke.

Michelle Zeamer stated that there is a process to limit tear-downs in place.

Move the question.

110-63 Fails

Jon Varrell motioned to reconsider article 22, but the town moderator noted that the hour was past 11 PM and a vote is required to consider articles after that.  Varrell motioned to extend town meeting beyond 11 PM but his motion failed: 111-67

Second night will include a reconsideration of Article 22.

 

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