SHREWSBURY – On the night of May 15, Shrewsbury Town Meeting members will gather at Oak Middle School to review and vote on 54 warrant articles.
Citizen petition regarding Beal project
Article 34, a citizens’ petition, asks Town Meeting members to rescind the land disposition authority granted to the Select Board during the 2020 Town Meeting regarding 1-7 Maple Avenue, the former site of Maj. Howard W. Beal School.
This citizen’s petition comes as the Planning Board approved site plans for the mixed-use Beal Commons project in April.
While previewing the articles for Shrewsbury Media Connection, Town Manager Kevin Mizikar noted that the Town Counsel reviewed the petition and advised the Town Meeting moderator that this article should be ruled out of order based on prior “well-defined case law” and legal precedent.
In a letter from Town Counsel Stephen Madaus, he notes that Town Meeting’s authority to rescind a prior vote is limited.
“One of the most prevalent limitations on the authority to rescind a prior vote is when rights of a third-party have intervened and become vested, in reliance on the original vote,” Madaus wrote.
He said the Beal Commons developer Civico Greenly has established “vested rights” in Town Meeting’s 2020 vote.
Other articles before Shrewsbury Town Meeting
Among the other articles on the warrant, Article 2 seeks to establish a 300th Centennial Celebration Fund for the town, which will celebrate its 300th anniversary in 2027.
Article 27 deals with the FY2024 General Capital Budget and asks for roughly $1.9 million to fund capital improvements. The article would fund town-owned dam maintenance, sidewalk and roadway improvements, the repair of the Floral Street School roof, new police equipment, among many other items.
Article 31 seeks funds for the window replacement project at Oak Middle School. The state would pay just over half the cost of the project.
Article 32 would use roughly $4 million dollars to fund the expansion of Mountain View Cemetery across the street into the area of Prospect Park.
Articles 35-44 were put forward by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). The articles represent the first action for project funding the CPC has taken since the town adopted the Community Preservation Act in 2020. There are eight projects in total, including work on the 1830 Brick Schoolhouse, assessment of the pergola structure at Prospect Park, and preservation of historic gravestones at Mountain View Cemetery.
Article 48 funds an Emergency Medical Services study to determine if the town should institute a town-owned ambulance service program.
The warrant for the meeting can be found at https://shrewsburyma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/14304/May-2023-Annual-Town-Meeting-Warrant.