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Second Attempt at Demolition Delay Appeal Fails

Town Meeting ends around 11:30 p.m. Monday night.

A second attempt to create an appeals process for property owners who want the option to demolish their historical structures failed to come to a vote Monday night.

The non-binding motion, as read by Town Meeting Member Erin Calvo-Bacci, would have instructed the historical commission to develop and present its own appeals process for property owners who don’t want their land added to the demolition delay inventory.

The motion stirred passionate commentary from the floor. Town Meeting member Mary Ellen O’Neil called it yet another attack on the Historical Commission, which had been the subject of in the last year, but several town meeting members called the historical label a “burden.”

Calvo-Bacci told the assembly that the label had scared away a commercial developer that had been interested in purchasing the Main Street property which houses her store, .

Despite the passion displayed by both sides, Town Meeting never arrived at a verdict. After a member of the assembly put the measure up for a final vote around 11:30 p.m., another member asked for a quorum count.

The moderator counted 94 members present, three short of that required for a valid vote. That count was followed by a motion to adjourn.

Because only non-binding measures remained on the warrant, the adjournment ended Town Meeting for the year.

Karl Weld November 22, 2011 at 04:00 PM
An attempt by petitioners to insert an appeals process failed to pass after the Historical Commission and the Bylaw Committee voiced opposition to the wording of the proposed Article. They felt it was confusing as to the intent of the petitioners. The Historical Commission expressed the opinion that if they had been consulted in the crafting of the Article to get the language correct they would've been happy do do so. All this instructional motion did was to direct the Board to instruct the Historical Commission to write an appeals process, which they claimed they were willing to do, by next Town Meeting in April. It was by no means "another attack" on the Historical Commission, or the Demo Delay provision of the bylaws. It was, and is, a simple defense of property rights and due process. The question before the Town is, simply, how do we protect property rights in the least restrictive way while maintaining due process and balancing the Town's interests in maintaining our historical and architectural heritage? There is a happy medium. Too bad Town Meeting didn't have a chance to vote on this instructional motion. And what does it say about Town Meeting members, who feel there should be no appeals process for those property owners affected by the Demo Delay provision of the bylaws? Essentially, they are saying the Town's interests outweigh the property owner's. In short, too bad for you.
Charles November 22, 2011 at 06:20 PM
I wish Ms. O'Neil was more aggressive on streamlining the operations at RMLD. While the town in starving for cash. RMLD is sitting on millions. How come nobody ever asks why the don't give more back to the town since we own it?

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