PEPPERELL – While town meetings usually run between two to three hours, health concerns and a lighter attendance number caused one town meeting to clock in just under 40 minutes.
This year’s special town meeting had eight articles on its warrant that were either voted on or had no action taken in about 37 minutes. The meeting, which took place last Saturday at 9 a.m. at Nissitissit Middle School, featured a reduced quorum requirement of only 30 people needed to reach said quorum for action to be taken. The Select Board also alerted the town last Thursday that any and all discussions on the warrant articles would be expedited to keep the meeting brief.
That turned out to work, as all of the articles on the warrant had little to no discussion take place between town officials and meeting attendees. Five of the eight articles were approved, while the other three had no action taken on them.
The first of those articles with no action taken was Article 2, which asked permission for the town to appropriate about $50,000 from town surplus funding to supplement the $30 million appropriated for the fiscal year 2021 town budget. Town Administrator Andrew MacLean said the article could have no action taken on it since Article One already asked and earned permission to reduce the budget as a means of balancing said town funds.
The second article with no action taken was Article 4, an amendment to the zoning bylaw on adult use recreational marijuana establishments that would’ve allowed two marijuana businesses in town instead of just one. The motion to take no action on the article was made by Planning Board Chair Casey Campetti.
The third article was Article 7, which asked the town to vote to approve an outdoor lighting bylaw. Developed over time by the Light, Air, and Noise Bylaw Committee, the bylaw is meant to reduce light pollution and conserve energy in town by limiting the use of outdoor floodlights, search lights, strobe lights and other powerful distracting light sources at night.
The one who made the motion to take no action on said article was Renee D’Argento, a member of the bylaw committee. D’Argento made the motion out of “concerns regarding public health and safety and in a desire to assist the town in expediting its essential business.”