Town Votes to Keep Marijuana Over the Bridge
Town resident Lorraine Iovanni of Pine Street speaks to Articles 17 – 19 at Monday’s Town Meeting. The granting of marijuana establishments was the hot-button topic at the meeting.
Voters at Monday night’s Town Meeting passed Article 19, 183 to 43, to restrict any retail pot establishments to the town’s Limited Commercial District, an area located on the north side of the Route 128 bridge. During marijuana discussions relating to Articles 17, 18, 19, residents shared concerns that if pot shops were allowed in downtown proper it would have an adverse effect on the town’s children, character, safety, and its small town feel. Lorraine Iovanni, of Pine Street, was concerned about how many of our police officers are trained to determine, without processing tools, whether someone is high driving in our town. Chief Conley said all of the officers get that training in the academy and that one officer is recognized as a drug recognition expert and regardless of the vote he would be looking to increase that number. When questioned about having a machine, like a breathalyzer, to determine if someone is high, Conley said, at this time no, but added that they use a probable cause process and that all officers are trained to develop probable cause to make arrests and they do. Resident Bob Willwerth, of Brook Street, said whether we ban marijuana in town or not we still don’t have a test to determine what a person is doing behind the wheel. In the end, the meeting voted down Articles 17 & 18, to ban recreational establishments town-wide in favor of Article 19 to restrict it to just the LCD.
Residents were also concerned about the condition and cost of repairs to the Chowder House and the Rotunda especially after recent storms. Brenda Furlong, of Ocean Street, referring to Item 2 on Article 8, said we are being asked to approve $23,000 for repairs to Tuck’s Point Chowder House and in the recent past we had already approved allocating approximately $363,000. She wanted to know what was driving these expenditures to both public structures at Tuck’s Point. TA Greg Federspiel explained that they found that the structural integrity of the Chowder House was worse than originally thought and we were lucky the building hadn’t collapsed in 2015 and that the Rotunda sustained damage to its pilings in the recent storms but wasn’t as bad structurally as the Chowder House. In the end, Article 8, to pay $352,000, to cover requested costs of the Community Preservation Committee, was approved.