Police station, Shaw lease, marijuana moratorium articles pass
SPRING TOWN MEETING
By Robert Fucci
For months, the Sutton Police Department, Board of Selectmen and other officials have made arguments the town needs a new police station.
During Spring Town Meeting on May 8 at the Sutton High/Middle School auditorium, a vast majority of residents in attendance agreed.
Despite only a handful of objections, the town was given the green light to borrow $8.7 million for costs of design, construction and other expenses related to the new station, which will be located at the old Blue Jay Restaurant site on Central Turnpike.
The new station will be about six times larger than the current station on Uxbridge Road, or roughly 12,500 square feet.
During Annual Town Election on May 23, voters will decide whether to accept a Proposition 2 ½ debt exclusion.
One of the longer debates had to do with Article 17, the 99-year lease of a portion of Shaw Farm for a new public library.
The article was only for the lease, as a few residents in attendance were confused on whether the vote was approving costs for the new construction of the 18,000-square-foot library at 17 Shaw Lane.
Sutton is in line to possibly receive financial help from the Massachusetts Board of Library Commissioners, which would pay for a portion of the estimated $8.5 million cost. Had Sutton voted against the lease, the town would have had to wait another 10 years before this opportunity would again arise.
If the Sutton Board of Library Trustees fails to come up with the funds, the lease for the 2.5 acres of land would be voided.
The article passed by a majority vote.
Another hot-button topic was Article 18 for a temporary moratorium on recreational marijuana establishments.
On Nov. 8, 2016, the Commonwealth approved a law regulating the cultivation, processing, distribution, possession and use of marijuana for recreational purposes.
According to state law, towns can not prevent such companies from setting up shop, but the towns can limit their locations.
“What we’re doing tonight is saying we don’t what it everywhere because don’t know how it works yet,” said Planning Director Jen Hager.
The vote passed by a 2/3 majority.
Other notable articles that passed were Article 6 (operating budget), Article 19 (registered medical marijuana dispensary), Article 20 (Village Center Overlay District) and Article 22 (alter the layout of Central Turnpike).
The lone article to fail was Article 23 which was a citizen petition on the rezoning of 189 Central Turnpike.
Abutting and non-abutting residents of the lot argued against the rezoning, which would change it from residential to commercial.
The article needed a 2/3 majority vote but only received about ½.
Spring Town Meeting lasted 1 hour, 57 minutes.