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November 29, 2012

Heard Around Town: Planning board and council set joint meeting

PEABODY — Tuesday’s City Council vote on banning marijuana dispensaries and growing facilities in Peabody — it was 10-1 to begin that process — attracted the attention of New England Cable News. The next step is a meeting of the Planning Board and council at the end of December.

NECN reporter Josh Brogadir interviewed the prime mover of the plan, Mayor Ted Bettencourt, and asked the big question: Is the city planning to defy the will of the voters?

Bettencourt replied that he is acting “in the best interest of the city of Peabody,” and he pointed to the fact that he, too, had the support of the electorate, having won his seat a year ago.

Meanwhile, some of the same councilors who voted to back the mayor admitted that they also voted in favor of the marijuana referendum question — Dave Gamache, Mike Garabedian and Arthur Athas, for example. Nevertheless, they don’t want the facilities in Peabody.

The only member not supporting the mayor was Bob Driscoll, who worried that the board was reacting too quickly and said the city should wait and see what the state is going to do. Barring the marijuana shops could even be counterproductive, he warned. “I would think it would be waving a red flag in front of the people interested in this.”

“I would think we’ve already done that,” Council President Jim Liacos replied. He gave a nod to the back of the hall and added, “It’s going to be on TV.”

Whatever floats

your cars

When businessman Diomedes Mejia visited the City Council, he got plenty of advice.

Mejia was there for permission to move his used-car operation from Summit Street to 36 Walnut St., but councilors advised that his plan to house five vehicles would probably lead to his returning in the future looking for approval to have more cars. Better to ask for more now, he was told.

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