Northborough voters to decide on articles related to marijuana, plastic bags, and more

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By Melanie Petrucci, Senior Community Reporter

Northborough – Eligible Northborough voters will have the opportunity to participate in the  Annual Town Meeting (ATM) Monday, April 23 at 7:30 p.m. in the Algonquin Regional High School’s Auditorium located at 79 Bartlett Street.

The warrant contains 41 Articles. Of note are three Zoning Bylaw Articles relevant to marijuana establishments, a citizen’s petition to ban plastic bags, and development of duplexes. There are several Community Preservation Funding Articles (including the Town Common project) in addition to the standard operating and capital project budgets and school funding articles.

Many will be attending this ATM specifically for Articles 36, 37 and 38 which will decide whether or not Northborough will allow retail marijuana establishments to do business in town.

In summary, Article 36 is a General Bylaw amending Part 2 of the Northborough Town Code by prohibiting all types of non-medical marijuana establishments including cultivators, testing laboratories, product manufacturer,  retailers or any other types of licensed marijuana related businesses and includes any establishment engaged in on-site social consumption of marijuana products and shall include private social clubs or any other establishment which allows for social consumption of marijuana or marijuana products.

Article 37 is the accompanying Zoning Bylaw amending Part 7 of the Northborough Town Code. This Article includes Tables of Uses for residential, commercial and industrial districts specifically providing a no use variance for all marijuana establishments.

Should the previous two Articles be defeated then Article 38 will amend Part 7 of the Northborough Town Code restricting marijuana establishments – cultivators, testing laboratories, product manufacturers and retailers to the Highway Business District.

Other articles include:

Article 4: Town Budget; seeks to raise from taxes, Free Cash and available funds $22,536,704 for town operations.

Article 5: Water, Sewer and Solid Waste Enterprise Funds; seeks to raise from taxation and appropriations from the water, sewer and solid waste funds the amount of $5,441,272.

Article 6 (Northborough K-8 Schools) Article 7 (Algonquin Regional High School) and Article 8 (Assabet Valley Regional Vocational School District), seeks to raise and appropriate the following $24,265,593, $11,933,763 and $757,722 respectively for operating budgets.

Articles 15 through 23 are Capital Improvement Program projects totaling $1,870,000 and include a police cruiser replacement; MIS/GIS-GIS aerial photography and mapping; a one-ton dump truck with hot box and plow, a street sweeper replacement, road improvements and maintenance and skid steer replacement for the Department of Public Works; an excavator for Water and Sewer as well as water mains repairs and replacement and boiler replacement at Zeh School.

Articles 27 through 34 pertain to Community Preservation Committee projects and will be funded through the Community Preservation Fund. These include repairs to the Northborough Gale Library’s slate roof and chimney; $100,000 to the Northborough Affordable Housing Corporation and a handicap access ramp to the First Parish Unitarian Church,

Article 31 provides for Phase III of the Town Common project, additional design and construction costs associated with the passage of Article 30 which is the donated parcel of land located at 20 Rear Gale St.

Article 32 will fund the first of two phases of field lighting at the Melican Middle School which includes site investigations, engineering, electrical upgrades and surface restoration.

Article 33 will fund the first debt service payment of the White Cliffs facility at 167 Main St.

Article 39 pertains to development of two-family dwellings (duplexes). This Zoning Bylaw contains additional regulations relevant to which districts they can be built and on what lot size, frontage, etc.

Article 40, is a citizen’s petition and is sponsored by Sravya Tanikella. It seeks to require retail establishments to only use recyclable paper bags, a compostable and marine degradable plastic bag or a re-usable checkout bag.

For the complete ATM warrant, visit http://www.town.northborough.ma.us/Pages/NorthboroughMA_WebDocs/2018ATM/2018ATMWarrant.pdf.