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Warrant: Citizen Petition To Rezone 227 Boston Rd Under Obscure Bylaw; and More

by Connie Sartini
Town Manager Mark Haddad presented the Select Board with the first draft of the 2019 Fall Town Meeting warrant containing 18 articles for voter action at the October 21, 2019 meeting. Most of the articles are the traditional fall items that need approvals including transfer of funds into stabilization and enterprise funds, and the Community Preservation Committee funding recommendations.
     Of the 18 articles, Haddad advised that the last article, a Citizens’ Petition to rezone 227 Boston Road into a Recreational Overlay District per Groton Zoning Code Section 218-30.1 may be withdrawn. 
     The petition, signed by Robert Collins, Michelle Collette, Olin Lathrop, John Smigelski, Peter Morrison, Laurence Hurley, Bruce Easom, Marshall Giguere, Ranier Collins, and David Moulton, will require a letter signed by each of these individuals in order to withdraw the item from the warrant. Otherwise, it will remain on the warrant and be postponed indefinitely on the floor of Town Meeting.
     Reportedly, the only instance of the use of the Recreational Overlay District was its application to the Groton Country Club that
enabled a function hall to be located on the premises.
     There are several steps that an applicant must address to be in a district including a vote to change the zoning, then a proposal to the Planning Board, which conducts a public hearing, submission of a concept plan, and finally, securing a 2/3 vote for the change at a Town Meeting.
     Select Board Chairman Alison Manugian advised that she searched for and was unable to locate the referenced zoning code.
     Town Manager and the Department of Public Works Director are requesting funds, estimated at $10,000 to $15,000, to engage a consultant to assist with development of a funding strategy to comply with the Municipal Stormwater Sewer System Permit. This is a State and Federal Government mandate. To comply, municipalities need to address the myriad pollutants that get into the stormwater systems and ultimately into water bodies thereby potentially contaminating drinking water supplies.
     To this end, Groton needs to develop a Master Plan to address the expense of stormwater runoff. The towns of Pepperell and
Westford raise funds for this by charging a surtax on their tax bills.
     There are two articles to establish two Revolving Funds: one for the for DPW, and the other for the COA. The DPW Fund proposes to put the funds collected at the Transfer Station from the glass pulverizing machine into this fund that will then be used to repair and maintain the machine.
     In the case of the COA, fees from the use of the fitness equipment will be placed into a Revolving Fund to cover repair, maintenance and ultimately replacement of equipment as it becomes necessary.
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