Select Board lays out recommendations for town meeting articles

By Douglas McCulloch | May 09, 2018

Town Meeting members will be asked to approve a plastic bag ban, new handicap parking regulations, and budgets at the June 5 meeting.

On May 7, the Select Board took up the warrant articles to give its recommendations for Town Meeting voters. The board voted unanimously to recommend passage of an $86.5 million fiscal year 2019 budget and $6 million in capital projects for the upcoming year.

Members unanimously recommended the passage of all articles on the special town meeting warrant, which contains budget items that need to be taken out this fiscal year. Among them is $24,275.60 from town revenue to cover a snow and ice removal deficit ran up over the winter, and $465,000 required immediately to repair the town hall roof. The roof sustained damage during a March nor’easter.

A proposed plastic bag ban was the only item on the regular town meeting agenda to not be recommended unanimously. The board voted 3-2 to recommend its passage, with members John Haran and Frank Gracie voting in opposition. The ban would apply to thin film plastic bags commonly used at retail stores and supermarkets, and would take effect in one year if passed.

“I think it’s not necessary for us,” Haran said. “A lot of people recycle responsibly and we’re being penalized.”

Gracie said a state law is in the works which would supersede town law, and said he agreed with Haran’s point on responsible usage.

The board delayed a vote on recommending the passage of a citizens’ petition article to remove regulations preventing gas stations from being built near areas where children congregate, like schools and playgrounds. It was proposed by a developer building a gas station which was approved without the Planning Board or the developers realizing the bylaw was on the books.

The Finance Committee did not vote to recommend the article, and the Planning Board vote was not unanimous. The Select Board decided to hold off on a vote to hear from those who voted against it.

New fines are proposed to go along with several new initiatives in town. One article would create fines for violating the town’s wireless colocation regulations, which allow companies to place wireless antennas on telephone poles. Another article would set fines for an initiative to crack down on property owners violating town zoning and land use regulations.

Those with handicap placards could also see relief for forgetfulness. An article proposes creating a separate series of written warnings and a $25 fine for holders of handicap parking placards who are ticketed for forgetting to display the placard. About half of handicap parking tickets written in town are for this reason.

The spring Town Meeting is June 5 at 9 a.m. at Dartmouth Middle School, 366 Slocum Road.

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