At its February 21 meeting, the Reading Board of Selectmen closed the warrant for Annual Town Meeting, scheduled to begin April 24. The warrant includes 25 articles which Town Manager, Robert LeLacheur expects to take three nights. Also approved at the meeting was a ballot question for the April 4 town-wide election asking voters if they would authorize town meeting to place a ban on recreational marijuana retail businesses in town. Some concern was expressed over the inclusion of this ballot question given the short period of time available to explain it to voters before the election comes. Most members of the board felt that given the fact that the issue is in the news with regularity and that the state ballot question legalizing recreational marijuana in the state was so recent, most voters would understand the implications of the question. In the state election Reading voters voted against legalization by a 10% margin.
In the Town Meeting warrant, Article 9 revisits an article from last year that would ask Town Meeting to declare the property on Oakland Road, across from Reading Memorial High School, as surplus. It would not authorize the Board of Selectmen to sell the land without additional Town Meeting approval. Article 16 is the approval of the Fiscal Year 2018 budget for all Town departments including the school department. This article is expected to take most of the second night of Town Meeting.
Town Meeting Articles 19-25 are all proposed amendments to the Town of Reading’s Zoning Bylaws. They include a ban on retail marijuana establishments, a moratorium on those establishments if the ban fails to pass, changes to the regulations regarding accessory apartments, expansion of the 40R district, and the addition of a Downtown Business B district.
Annual Town Meeting will begin on April 24 at 7:30pm at Reading Memorial High School and will continue each Thursday and Monday night until it has completed its work.