Wednesday, April 24, 2013
To meet again Thursday to consider zoning for an assisted living facility at Eric's on Main Street.
At warp speed, in just under two hours Monday night, with few questions or comments, Town Meeting passed 17 warrant articles. The body voted to pay $72,000 to settle pending litigation involving the construction of Reading Memorial High School, specifically between TLT Construction Corp., Harleysville Worcester Insurance Co. and the town. Town Counsel Gary Bracket told Town Meeting that taking the case to court could cost $55,000, if the town won. If the town lost the case, it could be liable for almost $650,000, according to Brackett, in damages and interest. Town Meeting will continue Thursday night. A special Town Meeting will convene within the regular one to consider zoning changes that would allow an assisted living facility for …
Thursday, January 24, 2013
This Town Meeting article generated heat at Tuesday's selectmen meeting; Town Meeting to convene this coming Monday.
An electronic billboard on West Street, adjacent to Interstate 93. This article on the warrant for Monday’s special Town Meeting generated significant heat at Tuesday’s selectmen’s meeting. About 20 people urged the selectmen to reject a proposed zoning change to allow an electronic billboard on land owned by the Mobil station. The “hosting” fee the town could receive – between $25,000 and $50,000 a year, according to the article background - is insignificant, speakers said, compared with the anticipated loss of home values in the area because of a billboard. Woburn Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen also asked the town to join Woburn which, she said, has stood “strong and tall” against the “ugly” sign boards. Some people emailed their support …
Friday, November 16, 2012
Includes two appeals procedures.
Your home may well be your biggest investment. If the town deems the structure historically significant, can the town temporarily delay you from demolishing it? After two years of acrimony and editing, Reading Town Meeting last night approved a reworked bylaw intended to give the town a tool to preserve historically significant structures – and, based on the vote, recognize property owners’ rights. The town’s demolition delay bylaw is intended to delay for up to six months the demolition of structures that have been placed on a list of historic structures, giving the Reading Historical Commission and owners of those properties time to try to save, reuse or even possibly move the structures, according to commission Chairman Mark Cardono. …
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Votes 113-39 preemptively to change zoning to prohibit such a center here.
Reading Town Meeting voted 113-39 last night to prohibit any future medical marijuana treatment center from opening here. On Nov. 6, Election Day, Massachusetts voters approved a ballot question that allows the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Reading voters supported the question by just under 60 percent, Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner told Town Meeting. Town Meeting members spent an hour and a half discussion the zoning article that would prohibit such a center here. Proponents of the article, including Police Chief James Cormier, argued that the possession, distribution and cultivation of marijuana violate federal law. A treatment center would draw transient traffic, he said, and could become a target for robbery. Town Public …
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Board of Selectmen got a sneak peek at a draft warrant for the upcoming Town Meeting last night.
The warrant for the upcoming Town Meeting may feature some interesting articles, according to a preliminary draft reviewed by the Board of Selectmen at Tuesday night’s meeting. The board convened in the Selectmen’s Meeting Room at the Town Hall to hear a number of matters, one of which was a preview of the Town Meeting warrant, and judging from the reaction of the board, the most controversial item—a nonbinding resolution calling for a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling that allows unlimited spending by corporations, unions and other groups in elections—will not be receiving sponsorship by the Board of Selectmen. “I think it should be a petition,” said Selectman James Bonazoli, …
Thursday, January 19, 2012
Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner recommended the Board of Selectmen consider taking steps to cut the size of Town Meeting due to the low level of participation over the past few years.
In conjunction with the fiscal year 2013 budget presentation at Tuesday night’s Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Manager Peter Hechenbleikner recommended the board consider several initiatives this year, including a Home Rule petition to reduce the total number of Town Meeting members and an amendment to the Historical Demolition Delay by-law to provide an appeals process and a more participative process for adding to the inventory. Hechenbleikner also recommended establishing an Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) trust fund, which would be funded through federal stimulus funds paid to the town for early retiree health insurance coverage and, possibly, from surplus FY12 health insurance budget funds, provided they are not needed to fund…
Tuesday, November 22, 2011
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 two other articles in the last year, but several town meeting members called the historical label a “burden.” Calvo-Bacci told the assembly that …
Monday, November 21, 2011
With nine articles remaining, can the assembly plug through?
Town Meeting made little progress on Thursday, finishing only five articles. Nine remain on the agenda. With that pace set, do you think the assembly will be able to wrap up this fall's installment tonight?
Friday, November 18, 2011
Article 27 panned as poorly written, inconsistent.
An effort to make it easier to bypass the Reading Historical Commission’s ability to delay the demolition of historical structures failed Thursday. At the second day of Town Meeting, David Mancuso of Making Reading Better presented article 27, which he crafted with the intent to create a simple process to appeal the delay. As he described it, an impacted homeowner could write a letter, appear before the Board of Selectmen, argue his or her case and receive a verdict. But the article’s opponents, including the historical commission and the bylaw committee, panned article 27 as poorly written, inaccurate and inconsistent with its intent. In response, Town Meeting Member John Carpenter asked the bylaw committee for more specific criticism. “…
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Veterans Fund Committee asks for latitude on new donations.
A small symptom of the current financial environment reared its head at Monday’s Subsequent Town Meeting. The subject? Flowers for veterans’ graves. Bill Brown, a member of the Veterans Fund Committee, presented article 10 at the meeting asking for an amendment to allow the trust fund board to use donated funds immediately instead of being required to add them to the trust. Brown said that the committee, formed in 2001 after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, had originally aimed to raise $80,000 with the intent to use the interest from those funds to pay for flowers on veterans’ graves in town. Despite the founders’ ambitions, Brown said, the board was only able to raise $53,000. “[And,] as well all know, the interest rates have tanked,” …