SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

October 11, 2013

Ipswich Town Meeting to be held Tuesday

By Jonathan Phelps
Staff writer

---- — IPSWICH — Special Town Meeting next week will ask residents to approve $650,000 to reconstruct a water main on Linebrook Road and $63,500 to complete an engineering study to expand the Mile Lane fields.

Voters will also be asked to approve a bylaw change to limit where medical marijuana dispensaries can be located in town.

The meeting will take place Tuesday at 7 p.m. at the Performing Arts Center at Ipswich High/Middle School, 130 High St. In all, there are 14 articles on the warrant.

The warrant also features a number of smaller budget transfers, but there will be no increase to property taxes required for any article, according to the Finance Committee report.

“Rather than new tax revenue, the articles either request capital funding resulting in increased user fees, or an allocation of free cash,” the committee wrote in its report.

The town seeks $650,000 in Article 9 to reconstruct a section of water main on Linebrook Road between Washington and Pine streets that dates back to the late-1800s and has a history of breaks. The work will be done before the reconstruction of Linebrook Road, which was approved at the annual Town Meeting.

The work will require a 2 percent water rate increase in 2016, according to the Finance Committee. An average family of four would see an increase of $1.08 per month.

The article requires a two-thirds vote. Both the Finance Committee and selectmen recommend approval.

Town Manager Robin Crosbie said the full reconstruction of the road will mean the road surface is expected to last up to 20 years.

“Because we have numerous water breaks in that area it is important that those lines be replaced so when we put a 20-year road on top of them we won’t have to dig it up in several years to replace the lines,” Crosbie said.

The town is also talking with the gas company to see if they want to add lines before the construction. There are no gas lines in the area, Crosbie said.

Article 5 asks for $63,500 to complete engineering for field expansion at Mile Lane fields, including design, permitting and bidding. Crosbie said this came out of Town Meeting several years ago when residents showed interest in expanding the fields.

An athletic field study group was formed by selectmen to look into the existing fields and how the area might be able to be expanded.

Crosbie said the amount will be amended to $49,725 because the larger amount included several construction activities which have been eliminated.

“All this is related to design services, not construction,” Crosbie said.

The article has been recommended by both selectmen and Finance Committee.

A medical marijuana bylaw has been talked about for several months while the town has had a moratorium on dispensaries being placed in town.

The proposed bylaw, Article 11, would limit medical marijuana dispensaries to “planned commercial” and “limited industrial zoning districts,” which run along Route 1 in the western part of town. Such a business would have to go through a special permit process with the Planning Board before locating in town.

The process will address siting, design, placement, security, safety monitoring and removal of dispensaries, according to the bylaw change.

The bylaw was developed by the Planning Board, planning staff, police Chief Paul Nikas and Health Agent Colleen Fermon. The zoning regulations are aimed at minimizing any adverse visual and economic impacts that potential facilities might have on abutters.

Staff writer Jonathan Phelps can be reached at 978-338-2527 or by email at jphelps@salemnews.com. Follow him on Twitter at JPhelps_SN.