The Selectmen have finalized the articles to be considered at a fall Town Meeting. The meeting is scheduled for Saturday, November 13 starting at 1 p.m.. The meeting will take place in the gymnasium and auditorium, if needed, at the Middle High School.
The shift to a Saturday afternoon was made in part to ensure that there would be enough time to get through all the articles in one session as well as to be less disruptive to the schools. Due to on-going concerns about COVID, we will be spreading out attendees first in the high school gym and, if necessary, in the auditorium. We are arranging audio and video links between the two spaces to enable everyone to participate fully regardless of where they are seated. Attendees will be asked to wear a face covering per CDC guidelines. Sections will be set aside for attendees who are not vaccinated and/or who do not wear a mask. Town Moderator Alan Wilson will have a set of health protocols for all to follow to minimize the risk of any disease transmission – part of the new normal as we continue to conduct the business of the Town while still dealing with COVID.
The warrant, or agenda for the fall Town Meeting contains eight articles. In brief, the articles are to:
1) Relocate Chebacco Road as it passes through Town owned land in Hamilton: The existing road easement and an unused easement are proposed to be discontinued and a new easement granted to allow the road to be moved away from Gravely Pond, the Town’s drinking water reservoir, and to provide better access to existing homes off Chebacco Road.
2) Fund the design of a new multi-purpose field at the old burn dump on Pine Street: The Parks and Recreation Committee seek to create a new multi-use play field. In anticipation of renovating Sweeney Park, the Committee is particularly anxious to have an alternative field available when Sweeney will not be available as well as to meet the longer term needs of more field space.
3) Fund the replacement of the Harbormaster boat: The old Eastern boat, which is the primary work boat for the Harbormaster, needs to be replaced. Waterways funds are proposed to pay for a new boat and motor as well as to make repairs to another motor for the pump-out boat.
4) Renumber the Zoning Regulations: The Planning Board proposes to renumber and reformat portions of the Town’s Zoning Regulations. This first vote on what will eventually be a comprehensive rewrite of the regulations makes no changes to the wording of the rules except for renumbering various sections.
5) Delete obsolete sections of the Zoning Regulations: In this vote, voters are asked to approve deleting seven sections of the regulations deemed to be no longer applicable or made obsolete by various court decisions.
6) Provide a non-binding vote on adding the existing DPW site off Pleasant Street to a larger housing initiative of the Manchester Affordable Housing Trust (MAHT) and Manchester Housing Authority (MHA): The MHA and MAHT have joined forces to seek a new partnership with a private developer. Creating market rate homes on the existing DPW site would generate funds to subsidize the upgrading and expansion of affordable units at the Plains, Newport Park and along Loading Place Road.
7) Vote on a citizen petition article to amend the zoning regulations to require two points of access and egress for larger development projects (defined as over 50 units and road length of over 500’.)
8) Vote on a citizen petition article aimed at amending the zoning regulations to place a cap on the number of new dwelling units allowed yearly (50 units a year.)
In the remaining weeks leading up to the fall Town Meeting, additional details on these articles will be provided. The full warrant can be found on the Town’s website.