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Affordable Housing and Animal Control Bylaws on Mendon’s Warrant

During Mendon's Annual Town Meeting, residents will be asked to vote on several bylaws changes as well as approve additional acreage for a solar facility. The May 2 meeting will take place at Miscoe Hill School and begin at 7 p.m.

Article 26 is an update to the town's current dog bylaw, which according to resident Shirley Smith, had not been updated since 1900. Smith says she was asked to update the town's current bylaw to reflect the state's. "Almost everything in there is directly from the state," said Smith. "In researching this, I learned that animal rights advocates had worked ten years on it because the old law included passages that were cruel to animals."

The new bylaw, known as the Animal Control Bylaw, is applicable to "all dogs owned by or kept by residents of the Town of Mendon." The bylaw discusses a number of factors including licensing, public nuisance and complaints, penalties, and fees. Smith stated the town's Animal Inspector supports it and Town Counsel has reviewed it.

Two other bylaws are being brought forward by the Planning Board and concern affordable housing and accessory dwellings, or in-law apartments.

Article 28 will add the new Inclusionary Bylaw to the town's Zoning Bylaws. The bylaw is meant to help increase the inventory of affordable housing in town and to help the town reach the state's mandated ten percent affordable housing. "The state wants all communities to work toward having ten percent of its housing be affordable," said Planning Board Chair Bill Ambrosino. "This bylaw helps us do that."

Article 29 concerns the Accessory Dwelling Bylaw, and concerns in-law apartments. According to Ambrosino the new bylaw is long over overdue. We need some type of bylaw to manage these units. The bylaw discusses standards and requirements concerning the dwellings as well as grandfathering for those already in existence, and more.

On the town's Web site, under the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee's page, copies of the two bylaws as well as question and answer sections have been created to help residents better understand the Inclusionary and Accessory Dwelling Unit bylaws.

Other bylaw changes include Article 25 which concerns posting town meeting warrants at the Town Hall. The amended bylaw is asking residents to remove the wording "one copy thereof shall be posted on the Town Hall Building." Town Clerk Margaret Bonderenko says the need for the amendment is the result of the length of the warrant and the difficulty of posting it. "Some warrants are 17 or 18 pages long," she explained. However, warrants will continue to be posted in other public places and on the town's Web site. In addition, the article also aims to amend the wording "Copies of all town meeting warrants shall also be delivered by hand or other means to every household at least three days before said meeting." According to Bonderenko, residents will still receive the warrant at their households, however, she would like to take out the wording "at least three days before said meeting," as some residents do not always receive their copy in that timeframe.

And finally Article 23, not a bylaw, involves authorizing the Board of Selectmen to utilize an additional ten acres of land located at 36 Milford St. for a solar generating facility. At a February Town Meeting, residents approved the Board to enter into an agreement for 11 acres of land for the solar facility. The additional 10 acres will allow a three megawatt facility to be generated.




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