GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 19, 2013

Plastic bags, beach dogs top Manchester warrant

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — 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.

Another warrant article is an amendment to a zoning bylaw that would allow the installation of solar panels. The proposed article includes stipulations on placement, design, construction, operation, monitoring, modification and removal of any approved ground mounted solar panels.

If the panel were to be removed for any reason, the operator, not the town, would take on the expenses.

The article was petitioned by the Board of Selectmen and the Manchester Energy Efficiency Program Committee.

Another article, also petitioned the by selectmen and towns’ energy efficiency program would adopt a new energy code, if passed. The state added stretch energy code guidelines into the building code in 2009, allowing other towns to adopt them.

This would require homes and businesses to have more energy efficient heating and insulation, if it is backed by voters.

And yet another bylaw article would allow dog owners to walk their pets on town beaches from May 1 to Sept. 30.

That proposed article, pettioned by resident Olga Hayes, would extend the periods dogs are allowed on the beach by two months; dogs are currently forbid to go on beaches from April 1 to Oct. 31.

Hayes and other residents have opposed previous proposed bylaws that would shorten the months dogs are allowed on beaches. Those who feel the dog limits on beaches should be restricted have, in the past, cited health concerns left behind by owners who do no clean up their pets waste. A restriction article was petitioned by the town’s Board of Health last year.

Town Moderator Alan Wilson is already expecting two days will be needed for the town meeting, which begins on April 1 at 7 p.m. at Manchester Memorial Elementary school, on 43 Lincoln Street.

The complete warrant is available at Town Hall.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

The Manchester warrant Articles appearing on Manchester's warrant for the April 1 Annual Town Meeting: 1. Receive and place on file the reports of town boards and committees appearing in the annual report. 2. Fix the 12-month fiscal year salary and compensation of all elective officers. 3. Pay town's share of the North Shore Regional Vocational School District ($80,335 via taxation). 4. Pay town debts and charges for the ensuing 12 months, effective July 1. 5. Raise and appropriate money called for under the following items, or any other sums, for the purposes indicated, and to determine how the money shall be obtained. 6. Pay for the town's assessment for the gross operating and maintenance expenses for Manchester Essex Regional School District. 7. Hear and act on the report of the Community Preservation Committee on the fiscal 2014 Community Preservation budget and to appropriate from the Community Preservation fund to meet the administrative expenses. 8. Pay for preliminary engineering, testing, design, and cleanup of the parcels of land on Pine Street and Rockwood Heights. 9. Authorize selectmen to acquire by purchase, gift, eminent domain or otherwise a permanent easement on a parcel of land located on 162 Pine St. 10. Provide additional working capital in the police detail account,$5,000 by taxation. 11. Establish a Fire Department detail account for the purpose of paying fire department details while awaiting payment from responsible parties. 12. Authorize selectmen to petition the General Court for the enactment of a special law to establish the Board of Assessors as a three0member board comprised of the principal assessor and two other members, all to be appointed by selectmen. 13/14. Accept the provisions of state law and adopt a bylaw authorizing the denial or revocation of any license or permit issued by the town to any person, corporation or business enterprise who has failed to pay any taxes, fees, assessments, betterments or any other municipal charges. 15. Raise money to be deposited into the Town's other Post-Employment Benefits Trust Fund. 16. Amend Article IX, section 3 of the Town's general bylaws as follows to remove the phrase " and School employees". 17. Establish a revolving fund to support Town of Manchester recreation programs offered by the recreation department. 18. Pay for a feasibility study of the proposed replacement and enlargement of the Central Street Culvert. $47,000 by taxation. 19. Pay for a study of the fire station space utilization and building needs. 20. Amend Article II, Section 18 of the General By-laws of the Town by deleting the "$250,000" and inserting "$1,000,000". 21. Amend zoning bylaw by inserting a new section 6.18, regarding ground mounted solar panels. 22. Adopt the "Stretch Energy Code" set forth in the State Building Code at 780 CMR 115.AA 23. Amend Article X, section 28, of the General bylaws of the Town, Animal Control, by changing the membership of the Animal Control Board in Paragraph B, Administration, from three to five members. 24. Amend Article X, section 28.C.3 of the General By-Laws effective July 1, 2013 to read: No person owning, harboring, or having custody and, or control of a dog shall permit such dog to trespass on any Town Beaches from May 1 through Sept. 30. 25. Adopt Plastic Bag Reduction bylaw, and include this bylaw as part of Section 39, Article X within the town's general bylaws. 26. Amend Article I, Section 4B(1) of town bylaws to increase the "fine allowed" under the general wetlands bylaw from $200 to $300; add the "Conservation Administrator" as an enforcement agent; and modify the fine schedule. 27. Replenish the Finance Committee reserve fund for the fiscal year beginning July 1, 2012. 28. Raise money for the stabilization fund. 29. Appropriate or transfer money from free cash for the purpose of reducing the tax rate.