Town Meeting – Day 4: $25K approved to kick off new master plan, remaining articles resolved

by Frank Schroth

Last night was the final night of Town Meeting. During a session that was more thinly attended, members dispatched the remaining 6 articles in the 2012 warrant. Four were approved and two were referred back for further study. All the votes followed the Warrant Committee’s recommendations. Following is a quick rundown of the articles.

Article 36 requested $25,000 to initiate the process of developing a new Master Plan for the town of Milton. Ms. Emily Innes, Chair of the Planning Board, gave a brief overview and history of town planning here in Milton. he first zoning took place in July of 1922. The first woman to be on that board (and also serve as chair) was Suzanne Collins. The first step is to develop a “visioning” plan. The Planning Board will contract with a consultant to work with residents to identify town “values, goals, and a vision for future development.” According to Innes, a full plan would cost about $129,000 based on what other towns in the area have recently done. She expects this first phase to be complete within the year and a report to be provided at next year’s annual town meeting. The article passed.

Article 37 sought to amend town flood plain bylaws to align them with new maps being used by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and ensure that the town could continue to participate in the National Flood Insurance Program. The article passed.

Article 38 called for an addition to zoning bylaw subsection N, Section VI that would permit for residential development on property with significant historic buildings. It stemmed from proposed developement at St Elizabeth’s from which the developer has since withdrawn. The Warrant Committee recommended that the article be referred back to the Planning Board for further study. The Planning Board agreed with the recommendation. The vote supported referring the article back for further study.

Article 39 was passed by a unanimous vote. It raises the amount of qualifying gross receipts for a tax deferral program for seniors. The maximum is now $52,000.

Article 40 called for a land swap. A group of abutters raised issues with the swap. The Board of Cemetery Trustees listened and agreed to consider the matter further. The Warrant Committee revised their recommendation. Town Meeting abided by the recommendation and the issue was referred back for further study.

Article 41 resulted from a citizens petition and requested that the Town Moderator appoint a committee to advise and assist the Selectmen in making any changes to voting precincts as a result of census findings. Changes in population size as indicated by the census can require changes in the drawing of precincts to ensure they stay equivalent in size (within 5%). The census is done every ten years and changes are made as needed. To date in Milton changes made are recommended by the Town Clerk and approved by the Board of Selectmen. The article requests that going forward a committee be formed in advance of the next census to review and work with the clerk in determining any changes to be made. This is  process other towns such as Brookline, follow. The recent census resulted in some significant changes in precincts. The number of precincts was reduced from 11 to 10.

James Mullen rose to speak in response to a question from TMM Virginia King (P3) regarding how redistricting had been managed to date. He noted that he had presided over the past 4. The most difficult being in 1981 when there was a precinct 5A and 5B. At that time incumbents lost seats. No incumbents lost seats in the most recent redistricting. The article passed.


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