MANCHESTER — Voters at Manchester's Town Meeting last night approved a new budget plan, money for the regional school district and a majority of other issues on the warrant before them.
But they turned thumbs down on a proposed demolition delay bylaw that, despite getting support from residents going into the meeting, went down in flames when a vote was called at Memorial Elementary School.
Selectman Mary Hardwick said the selectmen had opposed the plan because the motion as written was far too broad, and the meeting agreed with her.
"We believe this article to be a wholly unnecessary intrusion," said Hardwick.
The article would have required that anyone who wished to demolish a house older than 75 years ask the Historical Commission for approval, and would have allowed nine months of delay, including public meetings about the demolition, before a determination had to be made.
"There are some big holes in this," said resident John Graves.
One of those holes was a provision that said historical significance was not merely a function of age, but that younger houses where something happened that was deemed "significant" — or that someone of significance had lived in — could be subject to historical protections, including the prevention of demolition.
Since more than half of all houses in Manchester are older than 75 years, many Town Meeting participants considered the problems raised to outweigh the possible benefit.
Voters also rejected appropriating $20,000 to buy new video equipment to record town meetings, and they set aside a proposed series of animal bylaw changes to be dealt with at a later date.
For full coverage of the Town Meeting, look to tomorrow's print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
Stephanie Bergman can contacted at 978-283-7000 x3451 or email@example.com