Town Meeting at LMS Monday

Apr 25, 2019 by

Published April 24, 2019

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — The Annual Town Meeting will commence on Monday, April 29 in the Lynnfield Middle School auditorium, beginning at 7 p.m.

Similar to last year’s sessions of Town Meeting, this year’s Town Meeting will feature electronic check-in and electronic voting once again. A quorum of 175 voters is needed in order to conduct the town’s business.

Voters will be asked to approve 17 articles on the warrant. While Article 14 will still be appearing on the warrant, voters will not be voting on Article 14 because National Development has withdrawn its zoning change proposal that would have allowed an eight-screen, 800-seat movie theater to be built at MarketStreet Lynnfield.

Article 16 will headline this year’s Town Meeting. Attorney Jay Kimball has submitted Article 16 on behalf of developer Angus Bruce, who is looking to rezone a parcel of land located at 1414 Main St. from Residence D to Elderly Housing. Kimball told the Planning Board on April 16 that approving Article 16 would begin the process for constructing the Woods of Lynnfield elderly housing development. A two-thirds majority will be required to approve the zoning change at Town Meeting.

The proposed development entails constructing 33 duplexes as part of a 55-and-over development. There will be a unit dedicated for a veteran.

The Planning Board voted 4-1 not to recommend Article 16 to Town Meeting (see separate story).

Newly-elected Town Moderator Joe Markey said he is looking forward to overseeing his first Town Meeting on April 29. He succeeds former Town Moderator Arthur Bourque, who resigned last December.

“Town Meeting is the purest form of democracy,” said Markey. “Decisions made at Town Meeting affect your family, home and daily life. I am looking forward to running a fair, open and efficient meeting.”

Remaining warrant articles

Article 1 will request Town Meeting to act on reports of town officials and special committees. Article 2 will choose all town officers not required to be chosen by ballot including three field drivers, one pound keeper and three wood measurers.

According to the warrant, Article 3 will request Town Meeting to “fix the compensation of each of the elective officers of the town” as required by state law. The only boards that are paid in town are the Board of Selectmen and the Board of Assessors.

Article 4 seeks to have the town “vote to raise and appropriate or transfer from available funds, sums of money to supplement certain accounts in the current 2019 fiscal year where balances are below projected expenditures for various reasons; or to take any other action in connection therewith.”

According to the warrant, Article 5 seeks to appropriate funds in order to pay overdue bills from a previous fiscal year by appropriating or transferring available funds.

The proposed operating budget for fiscal year 2020 will be appearing as Article 6 on the warrant. Town Administrator Rob Dolan has proposed a $56,681,943 spending plan for FY’20, representing a 3 percent increase over FY’19’s $55,008,308 appropriation.

Article 7 is the town’s proposed capital budget, equaling $982,215. The proposed capital budget includes $30,000 for a feasibility study for capital improvements as well as $250,000 for school technology, $220,000 for paving and sidewalk repairs, $91,000 for the radio site replacement program for the Police and Fire Departments and $80,000 to repave the Senior Center’s parking lot.

The capital budget also includes $25,000 for Pillings Pond algae treatment, $45,500 for a Chevy Tahoe police cruiser and a variety of public safety equipment for the Fire and Police Departments. Dolan has also budgeted $80,000 for the second year of the National Pollutant Discharge System (NPDES) permit requirement.

Article 8 will ask Town Meeting to appropriate $150,000 from Free Cash for the Stabilization Fund. Article 9 will set the spending limits for the town’s revolving funds.

According to the warrant, Article 10 will ask voters to “appropriate a sum of money from Emergency Medical Service Enterprise receipts to pay expenses and contractual services.” Article 11 will ask Town Meeting to allocate funds from “Golf Enterprise receipts and/or Golf Enterprise Retained Earnings to pay expenses and contractual services required to operate the Reedy Meadow Golf Course and King Rail Golf Course.”

Article 12 seeks to establish a 25-mile per hour speed limit in residential and business districts unless an existing speed limit is already posted.

According to the warrant, Article 13 seeks to remove the sealer of weights and measures from the Civil Service Law. If Town Meeting approves Article 13, the state Legislature would need to sign off on removing the part-time position from Civil Service.

The Planning Board submitted Article 15, which would amend the town’s Zoning Bylaw. The proposed warrant article would require the Planning Board to issue a Special Permit for any elderly housing development in an Elderly Housing District.

Planning and Conservation Director Emilie Cademartori gave an overview of Article 15 to the Planning Board on April 16.

“This article is being put forward because of the potential of any elderly housing project,” said Cademartori. “When the Zoning Bylaw was re-codified, the prior approval process for site plan approval was by the Zoning Board of Appeals. That was mistakenly dropped in the re-codification. Because we recognized there needs to be some oversight for projects that may come forward like Sagamore or the Woods of Lynnfield, I recommended that the Planning Board instead require a Special Permit because it gives the board more power in reviewing a project or being able to condition a project. Site plan approval cannot be denied. There is a very small window where you can deny site plan approval. However, a project seeking a Special Permit can be denied and/or approved with conditions. A Special Permit has the ability to shape a project where site plan approval does not.”

The Planning Board unanimously voted to recommend Article 15.

Article 17 will request Town Meeting to accept provisions in a state law that will allow local boards and officers to set fees for licenses, permits, certificates or services.

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