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Board of Selectmen 06-12-2017

by Ben Kaplan
June 14, 2017

The Board of Selectmen met in Town Hall at their now regularly scheduled time of 7:30 on Monday nights and discussed a number of non-pressing issues as well as received updates on a few ongoing projects in the area.

Town Administrator Jeff Ritter brought up two points of interest to the board in his report. The first of which was that he had been approached by a medical marijuana grower looking to use a property on 29 Everett Street as a facility for a growing operation and was seeking a letter of non-opposition from the board. This would be the third proposed growing facility in the town. The one major issue that the selectmen had with this proposal was the property’s proximity to a dance school. The facility would be around 385 ft away from the school, which is below the standard 500 ft State requirement.

“I’ve driven over there many times and have seen cars parked all over with little kids so I would personally discourage him from pursuing that location,” Selectman Conley. Selectmen Ahronian and Marsden felt similarly, but still agreed to set up a meeting with the individual to at least discuss possible solutions. The public recently voted to prohibit the sale of recreational marijuana in businesses, yet the town has fielded interested businesses in the medical aspect.

“As we have discussed many times before on similar issues, the regulations that these facilities have to do just in terms of turning the lights on and opening up on a daily basis are significant,” said Selectman Marsden. “And considering this is a medical marijuana growing facility and not a dispensary, which we have indicated we do not have a lot of tolerance for as a town. I think rather than saying flat out ‘no,’ we should see what they have to say.”

Administrator Ritter also provided an update on the Flagg School demolition. After the fourth meeting with the involved construction personnel and officials, Administrator Ritter said that he is “cautiously going to say that they are on budget and slightly ahead of schedule.” 

Post Administrator report, the selectmen interviewed with Jay Talerman and Lisa Mead of Mead, Talerman & Costa LLC. for a revamping of the Town Council. Both individuals have extensive experience in both the fields of law and municipal matters. Mead had previously been a three-term mayor of Newburyport and Talerman has worked with multiple firms. The two said that the approach that their firm would bring to town council would be open and committed.

“Our goal is really to be preventative when we can be,” said Mead. “If we are a part of the process from the start, we can point things out before they may become larger issues.”

The payment plan that the two found would most likely be the best fit for the town based on its financial legal history and needs is a hybrid flat rate that would not include litigation, something they said is really rarely used.

The selectmen also received updates from the Eight Arch Bridge Committee and the downtown streetlight and sidewalk project. Jay Robinson and Herb Brockert highlighted a few minor technical changes that would only result in a plus or minus $1000 shift in the proposal to reconstruct the Eight Arch Bridge and put railings in place.

“I think our work is just beginning,” said Robinson. “But the town voted in favor for this project so we have to thank them for that.” According to Robinson, the next step will be to get the design specifications 100% concrete and said that the proposal, upon approval, will hopefully go out to bid by August 1st.

The process for the remodeling of downtown is also underway, but not without some changes in expectations. According to Bob Smith of McMahon Transportation Engineers, the bid documents have incorporated all of the board’s concerns and are ready to be advertised for construction companies upon the selectmen’s approval. A revised construction schedule has also been submitted to the town, and the length of the waiting period for the lightposts themselves is a major contributing factor to the change in length the project is supposed to take, putting construction into next spring.

The selectmen also approved a PILOT agreement for a CEC solar project and put a hold on a declaration of restrictive covenants for the Pulte Homes properties which had asked the selectmen to approve a $30k price increase for their affordable units. The selectmen felt that even though this would be in line with the housing market’s progression of 10% over three years, since these units are supposed to be under the market value and affordable to first time home buyers, then they would like to see why this increase would be justified.

(Editors note) Our original article stated the marijuana growing facility was proposed for Exchange Street -- the corrected location is Everett Street.

 

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Comments (7)

Hello everyone. sorry for the mixup but the address is actually 29 Everett Street!

- Ben Kaplan | 6/19/17 2:07 PM

How much water use do these pot farms require? Holliston already has water restrictions so what would the additional use of water for the pot farms mean for residential use of water? Would we have more restrictions on water use?

- Pam Zicko | 6/17/17 7:13 PM

Thanks for the address correction. Still think Holliston shouldn't be pot farm farm central for metrowest.

- Bob Graham | 6/15/17 9:42 AM

Exchange was said initially but Bob Nemet pointed out the error. It is Everett Street.

- Paul Saulnier | 6/15/17 9:36 AM

I am a resident of Mudville. With all the industrial, commercial and farm land around town is it appropriate to consider Mudville as a pot farm site. Is this the outcome of the recent re-zoning effort. I strongly oppose a pot farm in a Downtown "Village area".

- Bob Graham | 6/14/17 6:11 PM

Yoga studio - with kids - perhaps includes dancing??

- Mary Greendale | 6/14/17 2:36 PM

Is 29 Exchange Street the correct address? I don't know of any dance studio by there.

- KM | 6/14/17 10:29 AM

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