SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

May 16, 2013

Town Meeting moves back to Danvers High

BY ETHAN FORMAN
STAFF WRITER

---- — DANVERS — For the first time since 2006, Town Meeting members will head to Danvers High School’s auditorium for Town Meeting, where they will debate a moratorium on medical marijuana dispensaries and whether the annual Town Election should be held on Saturday instead of Tuesday.

In recent years, Town Meeting had been held at the Holten Richmond Middle School, which was renovated in 2005 and has a large multipurpose room. With the high school project nearly finished, officials have decided to move Town Meeting back to its former home.

“We are excited about being there. It has a better flow, it’s better for Town Meeting because you can easily see throughout the theater,” said selectmen Chairman Gardner Trask.

The articles that may stir the most debate include a moratorium on medical marijuana facilities, spearheaded by Selectman Dan Bennett, and a citizen’s petition for Saturday voting by Town Meeting member John Zavaglia.

Trask said he is supportive of the idea of changing Town Election day from Tuesday to Saturday, but he wants to hear more about the reasoning behind cutting down the number of hours polls would be open. Polls in Danvers are now open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Zavaglia is proposing to cut voting hours to 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

According to the warrant, Article 8 proposes to add to the zoning bylaws a new definition of “medical marijuana treatment centers” and seeks a temporary one-year moratorium to work out the complex planning, land use, public safety and legal issues related to them.

Article 10 seeks to change the town’s 2008 taxicab bylaw, which local cab companies said kept them from doing business in Danvers. If passed, the amendments would reduce the amount of required insurance coverage and lower the permit fee for taxis from $100 to $50 a year, among other changes.

Article 14 would authorize the town to sell land in Danvers, Middleton, North Reading and Lynnfield, originally purchased from the former Massachusetts Electric Company in 1978 for the town’s electric distribution system. Middleton is seeking to buy 24 acres of this utility corridor.

Danvers’ annual Town Meeting takes place Monday at 7:30 p.m. in the Danvers High auditorium on Cabot Road.

Staff writer Ethan Forman can be reached at 978-338-2673, by email at eforman@salemnews.com or on Twitter at @DanverSalemNews.