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Webster voters approve medical marijuana delay.

Byline: Janet Stoica

WEBSTER - Special town meeting voters numbered about 63 on May 13 as they swiftly approved several articles for funding, including the transfer of $35,000 from the legal services and fire chief salary accounts to the unemployment compensation account.

Voters also approved the transfer of $25,000 from the water retained earnings account to fund a feasibility and design study for one of the town's drinking water wells. Pump No. 2, at the Memorial Beach entry, has been off-line for some time because of high levels of iron and manganese, according to Town Administrator John McAuliffe.

Voters also approved transferring $62,405 from the stabilization account to replace and repair girls' and boys' gym lockers at Bartlett Jr./Sr. High School and designated $4,975 for Town Hall electrical upgrades.

An article to amend zoning bylaws regarding a temporary moratorium on Medical Marijuana Treatment Centers was also approved to give the town time to study and determine guidelines for future zoning changes in this area.

When the regular town meeting was called to order at 7 p.m., the voter count had reached 150.

Much discussion was held on Article 10, sponsored by the police department. The article was to enable the police department to conduct state and federal fingerprint-based criminal history checks for individuals applying for the following licenses: hawking and peddling or other door-to-door salespeople; manager of alcoholic beverage license; owner or operator of public conveyance; dealer of secondhand articles; pawn dealers; hackney drivers; and ice cream truck vendors.

Police Chief Timothy Bent spoke in favor of the article's passage. "This is an important article; it's to keep our townspeople safe from the many people who come to the police station telling us that they will be in town with several door-to-door salespeople selling items. We will be able to learn if they have a criminal record in town, in the state, in California or in Australia. This is just the first step in obtaining approval to do so."

Several townspeople spoke against the article, stating that it was an invasion of privacy, but it passed by majority vote.

Michael O'Brien, principal of Galaxy Development, the developer of the new East Village Square Mall, sponsored a citizens' petition as the sole representative of Webster Lake Preservation Trust LLC. His petition centered on a small piece of former Cranston Print Works' property that includes a dam controlling the Webster Lake water levels on Route 16. Mr. O'Brien said that the town owns the property, and he sought to have selectmen transfer and offer the property for sale so he could bid on it. When a voter came forward to ask if the property was part of the dam control, Mr. O'Brien said, "It is, and I have a group in place to take care of that." The article passed.

William Cunningham, a former Webster selectman, sponsored an article that passed for printed sign permits endorsed by the Massachusetts DOT that would remind townspeople of their right and obligation to attend town meetings.

It was also noted that Don Bourque, a former Webster selectman, was appointed to the Finance Committee and is the chairman.
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Publication:Telegram & Gazette (Worcester, MA)
Date:May 17, 2013
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