Select Board Has A Full House – Agenda and In Person
Select Board Chair Tina Hein called the June 7, 2021 meeting to order at 7:00pm. The Board had an extensive agenda that featured presentations by several groups / individuals – many in-person for the first time in a long time.
First up was a presentation by HPS Superintendent Dr. Susan Kustka, Asst. Superintendent for Finance/Operations Keith Buday, and School Committee Chair Stacey Raffi. They presented their case for the Board to approve a resolution in support of a Statement of Interest (SOI) for a fresh look at what is needed to bring Holliston High facilities to meet the needs of 21st learners. (The presenters were seated off to the right of Mr. Cronin and did not appear on camera as it were. Growing pains as we integrate live with remote access perhaps.)
This is the 4th year Holliston has submitted a Statement of Interest to the MA School Building Authority (MSBA). Holliston has not made the cut in the past three efforts – in 2020, only 3 districts received funding out of 161 SOI’s.
Below are selected slides from the presentation:
Dr. Kustka pointed out that while the upkeep of the 52-year-old building has the facility looking good, it is “not educationally sound.”
If the SOI is approved by MSBA, Mr. Buday projected the cost to Holliston of a feasibility study would likely be between $300 – $500K. Also noted, there are two points in the interaction with MSBA that the Town gets to vote on the next step / funding.
The Board approved a resolution to authorize Superintendent Dr. Kustka to submit the 2021 SOI to MSBA on behalf of the Town of Holliston. A decision should be known by the end of the calendar year.
Mederi Medical Dispensary HCA
Mederi, Inc has an existing Host Community Agreement (HCA) with Holliston to cultivate and manufacture marijuana at its 44 Boynton Road facility. CEO Christopher Patano, Meredith George, and Pamela Howarth joined the Select Board to present their request to amend the current HCA to allow Mederi to operate a medical marijuana dispensary at its Boynton Rd. facility.
Below is a schematic of how the dispensary would be secured – double entry doors to control access. Initially service will be provided by appointment only. The packaging would meet all State requirements and contain warning labels about the potential harms related to marijuana use.
Town Counsel Kate Feodoroff (left) and Mederi Counsel Michael Tucker answered the Board’s questions after a very careful review of the proposed HCA. The Board approved the amended HCA with Mederi, Inc. to include a medical marijuana dispensary at their location.
Revision /transfer of HCA for 91 Kuniholm Drive
The facility pictured below was the site of Massachusetts Botanicals, a marijuana cultivator that had an HCA with Holliston. Since the approval of the HCA in Sept. 2018, no action to operate that business has taken place.
WLMA (White Label Massachusetts) a marijuana cultivator already up and running in several states seeks to assume / transfer the existing HCA that was with Mass Botanicals.
The Board was not comfortable at this time to approve the transfer. They asked the company’s CEO to return to the Board at a future meeting to present a more complete operating plan.
Legislative Update on Cannabis Delivery from Town Counsel
Town Counsel Feodoroff returned to provide an overview of recent changes that allow delivery of recreational marijuana – in towns where it is allowed. Currently, Holliston does not allow recreational marijuana retail sales in Town. Counsel postulated that the existing Town By-law probably would make Holliston one of those towns that does not allow delivery. Monday night’s update was to get the Board to start thinking about the new delivery option and the ramifications for Holliston.
Holliston resident Blake Menning, a cannabis lawyer, spoke in favor of allowing deliveries. Ultimately, the topic will likely end up on a Town Meeting Warrant and/or a ballot question.
Coronavirus Community update
Fire Chief Michael Cassidy gave his weekly update – for the first time with no tie! (It’s HOT!)
- Only one new case was reported last week.
- Ironically our positivity rate went up – due to fewer tests being administered – so even one makes a difference.
- Vaccinations continue to climb.
- Mr. Cronin and Chief Cassidy cautioned that there is still a real public health concern.
- Holliston anxiously awaits the news from Beacon Hill that the remote access rules that have been in place will continue to AT LEAST September 1, 2021.
CARES Act / ARPA Programmatic update
The Board approved the following requests to continue Zoom licenses through June 2022.
Warrants: The Board approve the weekly warrant totaling – $1,701,190.58
Mr. Cronin alerted citizens that the 2021 Hazardous Waste Day will be Saturday, July 10th from 8 – noon (or capacity is reached) at the Adams Middle School.
Beth Hoffer of Winthrop Street asked for an update on the new water treatment plant as none had been posted online since early February.
Comments from Town Administrator: Mr. Ahern shared the following updates during the meeting:
- The American Recovery Plan Act (ARPA) steering group will be convening soon.
- The Consolidated Long-range Planning Committee (CLRPC) is about 80% staffed with the remainder coming as soon as committees select delegates. The CLRPC now has a webpage ->Long Range Planning | Town of Holliston MA
- The Board accepted a $400 donation from the Holliston Superette to the Senior Center
- The Board approved posting for Town Meeting on October 18, 2021 (change from October 25 – as approved by Article 10 of the May Town Meeting)
Bobby Blair (right) requested an entertainment license to allow for live music during the upcoming Farmers’ Markets. He asked the annual fee ($100) be waived. The Board approved both requests provided the music doesn’t start before 10:00am.
Blair went on to donate 10 hanging flower baskets and brackets to be installed on Washington St. near Cole Court and Concord Street. The funds came from the Legion’s Downtown Marigold project. The Board accepted the donation and asked that Bobby work with public safety and public works to ensure safe installation.
Mr. Ahern alerted the Board that he had applied for a $27,500 grant from the State’s One Stop for Growth program. The Board voted to support the application – as have our State Senator and State Rep.
Mr. Sparrell met with DPW Director Reese and representatives of the firm doing our sidewalk study to receive a preliminary report – which Sparrell summarized. The other Board members provided feedback for Sparrell to take back to the engineers. The Board is looking for a finished product in July with discussion in August.
The meeting adjourned at 9:53pm.