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Marijuana Moratorium, Town Manager Act and Election Date Bylaws Up for Vote in Upton

November 14 is the date for Upton's Special Town Meeting. During an October 25 meeting, the Selectmen reviewed the final warrant articles. Among those articles to be voted on will be bylaw amendments concerning a marijuana moratorium as well as changes to the Town Manager's Act and the date of the Town Election.

Article 3 on the warrant is an amendment to the zoning bylaws that will add a section titled Temporary Moratorium on Recreational Marijuana Establishments. During the November 2016 Election, Massachusetts residents supported the cultivation, possession and sale of recreational marijuana. Because the town's zoning bylaws do not address non-medical marijuana establishments, the moratorium allows town officials time to explore the impacts of potential recreational marijuana in town. The moratorium, if passed, would expire on December 31, 2018.

The last article on the warrant concerns amendments to the Town Manager's Act, which are being presented by the Town Manager's Act Review Committee. The Committee was formed at the request of residents who wanted to review and make changes to the Act after former Town Manager Blythe Robinson resigned.

One such change states the Town Manager may not serve on the Board of Selectmen for at least one year before his or her appointment. A new section concerns the hiring process of a new manager and requires the Selectmen create a screening committee of five Upton residents to assist in the selection of candidates for the position of Town Manager. The committee will recommend a minimum of three qualified candidates. The Selectmen are not required to appoint the recommended three candidates and may therefore ask the committee to continue the screening process or may appoint a new committee to begin the process again.

Another amendment deletes wording associated with the manager's administration over applicable general and special laws, bylaws and regulations and implement all lawful goals and policies established by the Board and provide reports to the Board when appropriate. New wording states "the manager shall see that all laws, bylaws, and other town meeting votes and directives of the Board of Selectmen that require enforcement by him or officers or employees subject to his direction and supervision, are faithfully carried out."

The last amendment states the Town Manager Act be reviewed every five years by a current resident led committee who may make recommendation to the Selectmen.

Article 12 on the warrant will amend the general bylaws and will change the date of the Town Election to be held after the May Annual Town Meeting. The purpose for the date change is to allow those elected officials involved in the May meeting to represent their elected position.

The November 14 meeting will take place at Nipmuc Regional High School at 7 p.m.


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