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Published: 6/25/2020 3:41:56 PM

Modified: 6/25/2020 3:41:51 PM

WENDELL — Adoption of one of the final articles on the warrant for the Annual Town Meeting on Saturday would impose a one-year marijuana moratorium.

The Annual Town Meeting will begin at 10 a.m. on the common outside Town Hall on Center Street.

The marijuana moratorium article asks if voters are willing to amend the town’s zoning bylaws to include language establishing a moratorium on commercial marijuana growing, processing and selling until June 27, 2021. The town would, during the moratorium, address the potential impacts of commercial marijuana installations in Wendell and their impacts on the health, safety and welfare of residents to determine how the town can reasonably regulate marijuana installations.

Selectboard member Laurie DiDonato said this warrant article is an attempt to pump the brakes on marijuana development in town, where a few companies have expressed interest in setting up shop. Adoption of this article, which DiDonato said was put together by the Planning Board and has a great deal of support from voters, will provide more time for research and thought.

Massachusetts voters opted on Nov. 8, 2016, to legalize recreational adult use of marijuana, and related growing and selling of pot and related products.

Planning Board Chair Nan Riebschlaeger said it was initially believed the town’s special permit process would suffice in dealing with marijuana companies, but it quickly became apparent it would not. She said companies have approached Wendell within the past two months.

Wendell Town Administrator Nancy Aldrich said she does not know what to expect from the public regarding this warrant article, but added that the rest of the warrant is “cut and dry.”

The proposed fiscal year 2021 budget up for a vote is for just under $3 million, up from about $2.8 million this fiscal year. DiDonato said she believes the proposed budget is a fair one.

A separate article asks if voters will appropriate $65,790 ($21,396 in principal and $44,394 in interest) to pay the fiscal year 2021 debt service on the town building construction loan. Another asks if they will do the allocate $31,590 to pay the debt service “on the Highway Department dump/sander/plow truck.” Still another pertains to $23,016 to pay the debt service on the town’s front-end loader.

Reach Domenic Poli at: dpoli@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 262.

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