HARVARD — After adding three articles, the Board of Selectmen signed the now 41-article warrant in preparation for the March 31 Annual Town Meeting.
One of the new articles will establish a task force to audit the schools’ special-education practices, with the cooperation of town officials and the School Department.
The other two — one sponsored by a citizen’s petition and the other by the selectmen — relate to making the Finance Committee an elected board.
Planning Board Chairman Mary Essary and member Barbara Brady also raised issues with articles sponsored by that board that call for zoning changes.
At the Feb. 27 meeting of selectmen, Essary said the Planning Board didn’t have a full table for discussion at its meeting the night before. Several questions remain about the so-called museum bylaw amendment that might be suitable, she said, for discussion behind closed doors.
Noting changes to the original wording of the article, she suggested that the selectmen might want to talk about it in executive session, to get a handle on some of the issues involved.
Essary didn’t use the word “litigation” but it was implied. Fruitlands has filed suit over restrictions placed on a permit granted by the Zoning Board of Appeals for its restaurant and tent operations, which could cause legal problems.
The amendment in question would set specific parameters for serving alcohol, now that the town has voted to accept a provision of state law that allows it.
The wording issues Essary referred to center on the distinction between a temporary site, set up for a fund-raiser where alcoholic beverages may be served, and a permanent establishment with a “dedicated site” for serving alcoholic beverages.
Asked if the Planning Board had taken a vote on the articles it was presenting now, Essary’s answer was vague but the board seemed satisfied. Basically, she said the Planning Board had voted to sponsor its raft of articles but held off on endorsing that one article in its altered form until the language has passed legal muster.
Selectman Robert Eubank pointed out that the article’s original wording had been worked out by town counsel Mark Lanza to bypass litigation issues, and said he would hesitate to change it for that reason.
“That’s a strong motivator but not the only one,” Essary said.
She said the new wording agreed with restrictions in the ZBA’s decision and that, with the selectmen’s support, the changes would be finalized and submitted later in the week.