By James Niedzinski
---- — MANCHESTER — Manchester supermarket and convenience store shoppers will no longer have a choice between “paper or plastic.”
Voters at the second night of Manchester’s Annual Town Meeting last night approved a new bylaw banning markets, convenience stores and other retail outlets from distributing single-use plastic bags, effective July 1. The votre topped the second night of a meeting that had begun on Monday, and drew 299 town voters to Memorial Elementart Schooll.
Article 25, the bylaw that would effectively ban the distribution of thin-film, single-use plastic bags, passed by acclamation.
Voters last night also backed new dates in which dogs would be allowed on beaches throughout the town, an issue which has polarized the town. An amended version of Article 24, proposed by Susan Throne, Chairman of the Board of Selectmen passed with 184 to 96, and will now allow dogs on the town’s beaches from Oct. 15 through April 15, beginning in 2014. Under the current bylaw, dogs have been banned from beaches from April 1 through Oct. 31.
Voters also backed a stretch energy code, which gives certain guidelines to energy efficiency when homes or businesses are built or rennovated. A zoning bylaw was also passed, allowing the construction of a large solar panel in town, should any developer decide to build one. Officials said at the meeting last night one possible area could be the capped section of the former burn dump on Pine Street.
The energy code and solar panel articles also effectively makes Manchester eligible to apply for a state designation as green community. As a green community, the town would then be eligible for grants that would help cover the cost of energy efficient projects.
For more coverage, look also to tomorrow’s print and online editions of the Gloucester Daily Times and gloucestertimes.com.
James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.