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

ANNUAL TOWN MEETING Part 2 - or What's Left in Your Wallet?

by Susan Woodrow
May 10, 2017

Responding to questions about whether Article 22 would be reconsidered tonight, Moderator Jackie Delliker read the bylaw that states the conditions for reconsidering a warrant. The deadline was exceeded and Town Meeting must move on to Article 23.

Kevin Conley, above, thanked Selectman Jay Leary, below, for his service to the Town. Jay is not done with town government as he is running for a seat on the Finance Committee.

ARTICLE 23. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW - DOWNTOWN CORRIDOR PLAN AREA 6 To see if 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 6 – Marked Tree Road – Change the split district lots along Marked Tree Road and Persis Place (Ag-Res B and Res.) as well as 970 – 1002 (even numbers) and 1057 – corner of Washington Street (odd numbers) and 1274 Highland Street to Residential; or take any action relative thereto. (Planning Board)

Karen Sherman, Town Planner, spoke to the details of the article.

112-4 Passed

ARTICLE 24. ACCEPT BARTZAK DRIVE To see if the Town will vote to accept as a public way, Bartzak Drive (Sta. 0+00 to 12+00), as shown on the following plan: “Acceptance Plan of Bartzak Drive (Stations 0+00 to 12+00), New Englander Industrial Park, Section II” dated July 11, 2001 with revisions through April 14, 2017, prepared by Dunn McKenzie, Inc. of Norfolk, MA, such way having been laid out as a Town way by the Board of Selectmen, or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen)

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 25. AMEND ZONING BY-LAW – PROHIBITED USES To see if the Town will vote to amend the Town of Holliston Zoning By-Laws at Section I-D Prohibited Uses (1) as follows: 1. In any district no use will be permitted which will produce a nuisance or hazard from fire or explosion, toxic or corrosive fume, gas, smoke, odors, obnoxious dust or vapor, harmful radioactivity, offensive noise or vibration, flashed, objectionable effluent or electrical interference which may affect or impair the normal use and peaceful enjoyment of any property, structure, or dwelling in the neighborhood. Neither shall there be permitted any wastes, petroleum products, chemicals or pollutants unless the same are so treated before discharges to render them harmless to life or vegetation of any kind. In addition, the following uses are expressly prohibited in all zoning districts: 1. Commercial slaughtering; 2. Fat rendering or glue and gelatin manufacture; 3. Cement, lime and gypsum manufacture; 4. Fertilizer manufacture; 5. Asphalt and concrete batching plants; 6. Petroleum and kerosene refining or distillation and derivation of by-products. 7. Reclamation and re-processing of asphalt and/or concrete; 8. Commercial gravel, loam, sand or stone processing and removal; and 9. Outdoor storage of materials and parking of vehicles and equipment not associated with a business operated in a building on the premises. or take any action thereto. (By Petition)

Planning Board motion to postpone. Passed Unanimously

ARTICLE 26. REVOLVING ACCOUNTS

To see if the Town will vote to re-authorize the following Revolving Accounts:

1. a Wetlands Filing Fee account into which shall be deposited receipts received as payment

of filing fees for wetlands determinations and from which account expenditures for the cost of

wetland determinations may be may in an amount not to exceed $40,000;

2. a Council on Aging fee Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts

received as payment of fees for the use of the Senior Center and from which account

expenditures for the Senior Center expenses may be made in an amount not to exceed $5,000;

3. a Composting Kit Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received from

the sale of composting kits and from which account expenditures for purchasing composting kits

may be made in an amount not to exceed $3,000;

4. a Response and Recovery Fee Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts

received as payment of fees and reimbursements for response to natural and man-made

emergencies and from which account expenditures for planning, response, recovery and

mitigation efforts by Town departments may be made in an amount not to exceed $25,000;

5. an Abutter’s List Fee Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received

as payment of fees for abutter’s lists and from which fund expenditures for preparing and issuing

abutter’s lists, including technologies, may be made in an amount not to exceed $5,000;

6. a Building Inspection Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received

as payment of all fees received by the Building Inspection department and for plumbing, gas and

wiring permits and from which account expenditures reasonably related to inspectional services

for plumbing, gas and wiring may be made in an amount not to exceed $100,000;

7. a Town Hall Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received as

payment of all fees for rental of the Town Hall facility and from which account expenditures

reasonably related to maintaining the Town Hall for purposes of rental may be made in an

amount not to exceed $25,000;

8. a Senior Center Van Services Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts

received as payment of all fees, reimbursements and contracted receipts for use of the Senior

Center van and transportation program and from which account reasonably related to maintain

the Senior Center van and transportation program may be made in an amount not to exceed

$10,000;

9. an Agricultural Commission Programs Revolving account into which shall be deposited

receipts received as payment of all programs and activities of the Agricultural Commission from

which account expenditures reasonably related to the programs and activities of the Agricultural

Commission may be made in an amount not to exceed $10,000;

10. a Sealer of Weights and Measures Revolving account into which shall be deposited

receipts received for Sealer of Weights and Measures services and from which account

expenditures related to the services of the Sealer of Weights and Measures may be made in an

amount not to exceed $5,000;

11. a Fluorescent Bulb Recycling Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts

received from recycling fluorescent bulbs and from which account expenditures for recycling

fluorescent bulbs may be made in an amount not to exceed $3,000;

12. a Banner Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received as payment

of fees for banners over Washington Street and from which account expenditures for placing the

banners may be made in an amount not to exceed $5,000;

13. an Accident Fee Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received as

payment of fees for motor vehicle accident investigations and from which account expenditures

for investigating motor vehicle accidents may be made in an amount not to exceed $5,000;

14. an Inoculation Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received for

reimbursement for inoculation and from which account expenditures for inoculations may be

made in an amount not to exceed $20,000;

15. a Cost of Prosecution Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received

as payment of fees for court imposed penalties and from which account expenditures for the

costs of prosecution may be made in an amount not to exceed $30,000;

16. a Nutrition Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts received for

nutrition programs at the Senior Center and from which account expenditures for nutrition

programs at the Senior Center may be made in an amount not to exceed $10,000;

17. a Pinecrest Golf Course Revolving account into which shall be deposited receipts

received for golf course and restaurant fees and from which account expenditures for debt

payments and lease payments of the Pinecrest Golf Course may be made in an amount not to

exceed $200,000

18. a Technology Repair and Replenishment Revolving account into which shall be

deposited receipts received for an optional insurance policy for families who have borrowed

student technology under the care and custody of the School Committee and from which account

expenditures for the cost of repair, replacement and future replenishment may be made with the

approval of the School Committee in an amount not to exceed $75,000;

Provided that expenditures from said accounts shall require the approval of the Board of

Selectmen (except for the School Committee) and expenditures in excess of the amounts stated

shall require the approval of the Board of Selectmen and the Finance Committee; or take any

action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen)

THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Elizabeth Theiler asked why the Building Department needs $100,000. She also asked why the Town has revolving accounts.

Ken Szajda (pronounced SHADE_AH) explained that because the building activity has increased in Town recently, there is a need for available funds without returning to Town Meeting for approval. Revolving accounts are needed because these are activities that are essentially self-sustaining; consequently activities that incur expenses in the course of generating revenue may need to have funds available immediately.

Ms. Theiler repeated her question about the money.

Mr. Szajda explained that income often comes in at a time that is not related to the service provided.

Passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 27. FLAGG BUILDING DEMOLITION To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, transfer from available funds or to borrow 440k a sum of money for the purpose of paying all costs associated with the environmental remediation and/or demolition of the Flagg School building; or to take any action relative thereto, and return $15k to the Historic reserve of the CPC. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE TOWN APPROPRIATE $425,000 FROM THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND TO COMPLETE THE DEMOLITION OF THE FLAGG BUILDING (UNANIMOUS).

Jon Varrell stated that a sprinkler system was installed in the Flagg building in 2006. He stated that the use of the money was not an appropriate historical use at the time and that now that the building is being demolished, the CPC should be reimbursed.

Town Counsel advised that a change in the motion must adjust the amount the Finance Committee recommended.

Mr. Varrell requested the $15,000 be put back into the fund to reimburse the CPC for the expense.

The moderator read the amended motion.

Mark Schultz stated that the sprinklers had been installed because the building was being used when the Town Hall was being remodelled.

Ken Szada (Shade - ah) stated that the system had been installed to protect historic docs at the building until they could be moved to permanent space and he urged a no vote.

Mr Varrell stated that he was on the Historical Commission at that time, and he quoted Frank Chamberlain as saying the historic use was not appropriate. He countered that the Flagg school was used by the Police Department and that sprinkler systems do not protect paper documents.

Mr Szajda acknowledged that Mr. Varrell’s points could have merit.

Motion to approve the amendment.

Failed by voice vote.

The original motion passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 28. AMEND GENERAL BY-LAW – TAX COLLECTOR To see if the Town will vote to amend General By-Law, XVI, “Tax Collector” with the following revisions:

ARTICLE XVI TAX COLLECTOR Section 1. The Tax Collector or other municipal official responsible for records of all municipal taxes, assessments, betterments and other municipal charges, hereinafter referred to as the Tax Collector shall annually, and may periodically, furnish to each department, board, commission or division, hereinafter referred to as the licensing authority, that issues licenses or permits including renewals and transfers, a list of any person, corporation, or business enterprise, hereinafter referred to as the party, that has neglected or refused to pay any local taxes, fees, assessments, betterments or other municipal 20 charges and that such party has not filed in good faith a pending application for an abatement of such tax or a pending petition before the Appellate Tax Board. (Treasurer/Collector) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UANINMOUS).

(See Warrant for remianed of the article).

Doug Foss asked for an overview of what this Article proposes.

Mr. Szajda explained that the current regulation allows the taxes to be in arrears for no more than one year. This changes the regulation to say that taxes must be paid up before going for a permit.

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 29. CURBSIDE REFUSE AND RECYCLING PICKUP AT CONDOMINIUMS To see if the Town will vote to provide curbside refuse and recycling pickup to condominiums provided their Board of Trustees request such service. (By Petition) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS UNFAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

The Article is by petition. Larry Denning, the petitioner, proposed an amendment to speak to the Finance Committee’s unfavorable recommendation. He spoke of the Selectmen’s change in the solid waste policy and asked that the Town treat all residents and taxpayers equally, with regard to all municipal services.

He showed a chart delineating the fees paid by Holliston condominiums, and stated that the refuse and recycling fee in the budget passed by the Town Meeting last night should be able to include the condominiums.

Charlie Rappaport agreed with Mr. Denning’s statement.

Jay Marsden reviewed the Selectmen’s process in deciding how to handle this situation. He quoted Massachusetts law to assert that condo associations are in fact treated differently. He stated that the Selectmen aimed to bring consistency to the Town’s policy.

Marty Lamb referred to his experience in real estate to differ with Mr Marsden’s statement. He explained that a condominium is a single family unit that pays its own taxes, within a condominium association. He urged a vote in favor of the article.

Neil Garsman (sp?) agreed with the two previous speakers in favor of having the refuse collected.

Joan Shaunessey, member of the School Committee, noted that the over-55 communities pay taxes but do not send children to the schools and therefore maybe their over-55 associations should get a break.

Michelle Zeamer stated that school busses and snow-plows do not go down private roads. She was concerned that this would open a floodgate. She asked why businesses do not have the same refuse services as residences, and said she had not minded paying the trash fee.

Mr Foss asked the Finance Committee if the figures submitted sounded accurate.

Jay Leary reviewed the history of this decision by the Selectmen. He stated that common charges include the services that condo associations provide. He disputed the numbers that had been presented, stating that the average is $190 per unit in town to pick up trash. He suggested that Mr. Denning had asked that all municipal services be shared equally, and summarized his understanding of how other towns manage this issue.

Pat Duffey spoke of the expense and the impact on the environment that dumpsters bring. She stated that if everyone is taxed at the same rate, everyone should get the same services.

Mr. Schultz asked for clarification of the question.

Mr. Leary clarified that any condo association in town could ask the Selectmen to include them in trash pickup. Those that currently get services would stay the same if the article passes.

Mr. Szajda explained that the Town negotiates the contract with the hauler. He added that the Town does not currently have the money for this, and that Republic has expressed concern about indemnification for going onto private property. He suggested postponing for additional consideration.

Peggy Lee said trash collection would bring consistency across the board, especially for homeowners who pay high taxes that support the schools.

Motion to move the question passed unanimously

Motion to pass the amendment by hand count

125-50 passed.

Walter McClennen moved for indefinite postponement. He stated that he had found the discussion of the question confused and that he would like the time to get additional information.

Mr. Szajda seconded the motion and urged the opportunity to work out the finances, since the budget had been passed on the first night of Town Meeting, and the additional costs would throw the Town into deficit.

Kevin Conley stated that the postponement would work because trash pick up would not change before fall town meeting, and the additional time would be appreciated.

Ed Corcoran was not in favor of indefinite postponement.

Motion to move the question passed by voice vote.

Motion to indefinitely postpone, by hand count

105-87 passed

ARTICLE 30. DAM INSPECTIONS To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate, or transfer from available funds, a sum of money for the purpose of undertaking survey and engineering investigations and preparing a construction design proposal for Houghton’s Pond Dam and inspections for additional town dams as required by the Massachusetts Office of Dam Safety or take any action relative thereto. (Conservation Commission/Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE TOWN APPROPRIATE $50,000 FROM THE CAPITAL EXPENDITURE FUND FOR DAM INSPECTIONS (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 31. AMEND THE GENERAL BY-LAW – TOWN MEETINGS To see if the Town will vote to amend General By-Law, ARTICLE 1, Town Meetings by deleting section 3 (e), as follows, “publishing notice of the Meeting in one or more newspapers having substantial circulation in the Town at least seven (7) days before the date of the Meeting.”: or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS FAVORABLE ACTION (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 32. TRANSFER OF LAND - CONCORD STREET To see if the Town will vote to allow the Board of Selectmen to transfer town owned property located at 172 Concord Street to the Housing Trust; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen)

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 33. STORM WATER MANAGEMENT To see if the Town will vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for engineering services related to compliance with the EPA and Mass DEP Municipal Storm Water Management Regulations. The scope of services include preparation of a Notice of Intent, written storm water management plan, written Illicit Discharge Detection and Elimination Plan, annual Report and Training; or take any action relative thereto. (DPW and Planning Board) 22 THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS THAT THE TOWN RAISE AND APPROPRIATE $43,000 FOR THE PURPOSE STATED IN THE ARTICLE (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 34. AMEND THE GENERAL BY-LAWS – WATER SUPPLY EMERGENCY ARTICLE XXXVI WATER SUPPLY EMERGENCY Section 1. AUTHORITY: This Article is adopted by the Town of Holliston under its home rule powers, its police powers to protect public health and welfare and its specific authorization under General Laws Chapter 40, Section 21(7), and 21D. Section 2. PURPOSE: The purpose of this Article is to protect, preserve and maintain the public health, safety and welfare, whenever there is in force a state of water supply emergency, by providing for enforcement of duly imposed restrictions, requirements, provisions or conditions imposed by the Town of Holliston or by the Department of Environmental Protection and included in the Town of Holliston plan approved by the Department of Environmental Protection to abate the emergency or by any other duly authorized local, state or federal governmental body or officer. (See Warrant for the remainder of the article).

Mr Szajda rose to clarify the article, since the text is lengthy. He explained that the change to Article XXXVI is minor: it simply gives authority to the head of the DPW rather than the Board of Water Commissioners.

Mr Foss asked what a water emergency is.

Mr Leary answered with an example. The May 1 2017 water ban is mandated by DEP to limit the amount we can pump out of our wells. We are still in a drought.

Motion as printed in the warrant passed unanimously.

ARTICLE 35. 8 ARCH BRIDGE To see if the Town will raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds a sum of money for modifications to the 8 Arch Bridge; or take any action relative thereto. (Board of Selectmen) THE FINANCE COMMITTEE RECOMMENDS INDEFINITE POSTPONEMENT (UNANIMOUS).

Passed unanimously

ARTICLE 36. PROHIBIT RETAIL MARIJUANA SALES To see if the Town will vote to prohibit the operation of marijuana retailers, as defined by G.J. ch. 94G., Sect. 1 Summary: The proposal would prohibit retail businesses from selling marijuana to the public. It would not prohibit the personal use of marijuana or growing of marijuana at a residence as permitted by law. (By Petition) 26 And you are directed to notify and warn the inhabitants of said Town who are qualified to vote in Town elections to vote at: Voters in Precinct 1 vote at the High School gymnasium Voters in Precinct 2 vote

Article by petition.

Suzanne Neressian asked that the Town join neighboring communities in preventing retail marijuana sales in town. She spoke of the danger to the community, especially during the current opioid epidemic. She feels that the use of marijuana leads to drug addiction, crime and would be too accessible to children if sold in town

Mark Schultz objected to the article. He stated that the laws being developed are more stringent than alcohol laws which, in his opinion, regulate a more deadly substance. He added that the opioid epidemic is not related to the legal sale of marijuana, and feels that prohibition creates a market with an illicit underground. 

Mr Szajda pointed out that federal law still prohibits sale, and that Holliston should not be a pioneer in this area. He suggested that the ban be approved for now, and retail sales could move forward later, when proper controls have been worked out.

Lixey Carey asked why this is being voted on both now and in the upcoming election.

Mr Mayer, Town Counsel, explained that the law is subject to interpretation, so town counsels around the state have advised that a ban must require both votes, in order to prohibit an action that has been approved by the state.

Arnie Pollanger noted that we have eight liquor stores in town and no one cares. He said "let’s tax the crap out of the sales and make money for trash and the schools".

Mr Szajda replied that the statue does not allow us to tax the crap out of it. Our authority to tax is limited. The issue is that there is an uncertain regulatory framework for a substance that is still illegal.

Anne Louise Hansted said The school committee has not voted on this proposal, but she spoke of a personal experience with an alcohol tragedy. She agreed with Mr Szajda. She urged passing the article and added that it would be harder to close stores once they were established.

A Fruit St resident asked what the status of medical marijuana was in the statute.

Mr Conley replied that the state has passed the law allowing sale, but hasn’t decided how to manage the process.

Shirley Melle reported on the information she heard at a debate on the issue. She felt the cons outweighed the pros.

Maurice LaMontagne noted that historically bans have never worked, and legitimate dealers can be regulated.

Motion to move the question passed

Motion to pass the article

Mr Szajda responded to requests for clarification by saying that a yes vote would prohibit sales in Holliston.

The vote was close enough for a hand count

109-34 passed

John Lary moved to adjourn and dissolve the warrant.

Passed unanimously

Good night Holliston

 

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Comments (5)

In reference to: ARTICLE 29. CURBSIDE REFUSE AND RECYCLING PICKUP AT CONDOMINIUMS. The Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Solid Waste Recycling Budget is $1,055,608 ($211 per the 5,000 accounts) per the information posted above in this article. A member of the BOS indicated at Town Meeting (TM) that the Solid Waste Recyclyng costs have run $190 per the 5,000 accounts. Both of these figures ($190 & $211 per account) overstate the cost per single unit residence if the the total budget line item includes: Town Hall, all schools, Police and Fire Dept., the two beaches, all of the town's fields and parks, DPW, etc. It may not be possible to differentiate between residential accounts and the Town of Holliston's Solid Waste Recycling costs. The fact still remains that if that line item includes the Solid Waste Recycling costs associated with all of the town's properties the $190-$211 per "account" does not reflect the average cost per residence and is most like considerably higher than the incremental cost per condo unit. Also, I understand that private, non-public roadways that were never accepted by the town don't receive snow plowing, maintain their own roadway infrastructure, and may not get trash service. What I do not understand is how can the town not provide all services to condominiums located on public ways accepted by the town. I think that an effort to more accurately estimate the incremental cost per residential condo unit is warranted and that each scenario - 55+ Condos/condos requiring their own private roadways to support the number of units etc./and condos with no private roads, that are legal uses with such private roads, with frontage along accepted roadways. I would accept the reality that we just can't afford to add this expense right now, if the town is not not required by law, but it would be nice if the truth, and logical reasoning was applied to this. The article addressing this was placed on the warrant after the very tight Omnibus Budget that did not reflect this potential, unknown, added expense which essentially guaranteed this would fail.

- Brian Loughlin | 5/11/17 1:25 PM

Paul my understanding is that in order for the ban on pot sale to become effective it must pass both Town Meeting and a vote on May 23rd. If either votes are "no" it completely fails.

- Marty Lamb | 5/11/17 12:11 PM

I did not understand this comment yesterday and reading the article today, I still do not understand. "Mr Mayer, Town Counsel, explained that the law is subject to interpretation, so town counsels around the state have advised that a ban must require both votes, in order to prohibit an action that has been approved by the state." Does this mean that it now must still go to ballot regardless of what the outcome was in town meeting? If so, then what occurs if an article fails town meeting but passes ballot? Or if it passes town meeting, then fails ballot? Which outcome is considered the final outcome?

- Paul Lucerne | 5/10/17 6:49 PM

Just to Clarify. The motion to reconsidered was made twice the first time it was made and properly seconded it was during the debate to reconsider article 21. The second time was after the vote on the motion to reconsider article 21. Bothe motions were made before 11:00 and before the meeting adjourned. The town bylaws save no new articles can be considered after 11:00. My motion was not a new article it had been previously debated. The moderator made a mistake. Luckily all articles that involve by/laws and zoning cannot be implemented till the AG office reviews. I am filing a protest asking then to set aside the original Vote on article 22.

- Jon Varrell | 5/10/17 4:48 PM

I would like to clarify my statement of last night. the quote "He explained that a condominium is a single family unit that pays its own taxes, within a condominium association." can be interpreted to read that taxes are paid through the condo association, which is not correct. Just like a free standing single family home, a condominium unit is taxed directly by the Town and the owner pays real estate taxes directly to the town. Any fees paid by the unit owner to the condominium association have absolutely nothing to do with the owner's obligations to the Town for taxes.

- Marty Lamb | 5/10/17 10:38 AM

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