GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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March 19, 2013

Plastic bags, beach dogs top Manchester warrant

EDITOR’S NOTE:

This is a revised version of this story, The initial version had incorrectly reported the selectmen’s position regarding an endorsement of the article on plastic bags. This version is correct.

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MANCHESTER — With the warrant finalized and the meeting voter registration deadline passed, Manchester’s 3,910 registered voters will have to decide upon 29 different articles at the April 1 Town Meeting — including a proposed bylaw that would ban the distribution of plastic bags by grocery, convenience and other stores, and a bylaw change that would give dogs a longer run on town beaches.

One article placed on the warrant through a citizens’ petition would seek to eliminate the usage of thin-filmed, single use plastic bags by retailers in Manchester.

Proponents of the article, petitioned by Gary Gilbert and a number of other residents, said the plastic bags have a negative impact on the environment, especially in a coastal community such as Manchester.

The article also notes plastic bags clog storm drains and take significant amounts of oil to produce. But it is raising questions in the business community.

“It would obviously drive our costs up considerably,” Bob Vello, General Manager of Crosby’s Marketplace said Friday. The company has several locations, including the one in downtown Manchester.

Vello said the company itself is trying to reduce the amount of all bags customers consume, not just plastic ones. He said customers are encouraged to use reusable cloth bags as a replacement.

He added he would have liked to work with with organizers of the proposed article to reduce the number of plastic bags, rather than banning them all together.

“We would have preferred an effort to work together to come to a reasonable solution,” he said.

The Board of Selectmen voted 4-1 to endorse a “yes” vote on the article.

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