NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

December 24, 2013

Vote is Dec. 30 on medical marijuana moratorium

Amesbury Town Notebook
Mac Cerullo

---- — Christmas is upon us, and that means students are out on break, young adults are home for the holidays, and families have a chance to reunite, take some time off from work and celebrate the season.

Ordinarily, most city officials would take this time to sit back, relax and enjoy the holidays, but thanks to last week’s snowstorm, the City Council has one last piece of business to attend to before the legislative session wraps up at the end of the year.

The council and the Planning Board will hold a joint meeting on Dec. 30 to conduct the long-awaited public hearing on the proposed medical marijuana moratorium, and a vote will be taken at the conclusion of the hearing.

Originally the hearing was supposed to take place last Tuesday, and representatives from the prospective medical marijuana companies were expected to present their plans to the public. Residents would then have had nearly two weeks to digest the issue before the vote on Dec. 30, but after the snow forced the cancellation of the meeting, everything had to be pushed to one night.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. in the City Hall auditorium.

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Once the New Year arrives, the current City Council will make way for its new members, and Mayor-elect Ken Gray will officially take the reins as Amesbury’s fourth mayor since the community adopted a city form of government nearly two decades ago.

Gray’s inauguration ceremony will take place at the Amesbury High School auditorium on Jan. 2 starting at 7 p.m., and will also include the swearing in of every other official who was elected on Nov. 5. Peter Hoyt will serve as the event’s master of ceremonies, and City Clerk Bonnijo Kitchin will swear in each of the officials.

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One quick reminder: The city’s winter parking ban is now in effect, and residents are prohibited from parking their cars on the street overnight in order to keep the roads clear for plows in the event of snow.

In addition, the Department of Public Works is also asking residents to do their part by not dumping snow from their walk or driveway into the street after a storm does hit.

Laurie Pierce, administrative assistant at the DPW, sent out a release reminding residents that dumping snow into the street is a violation of city bylaws while also requesting that residents avoid leaving personal items like trash cans or basketball hoops out in the street as well. Doing so impedes snow removal efforts and makes the plow drivers’ jobs more difficult, she said.

Residents are also responsible for removing snow from the sidewalk bordering their property within 24 hours after snow ceases to fall. Seniors who need assistance shoveling can call the Council on Aging at 978-388-8138 for help.

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Finally, City Hall will be closing at noon today and will be closed tomorrow for Christmas. Also, this reporter is going to be off on vacation until after New Year’s, so this will be the last Amesbury notebook of 2013. Merry Christmas everyone!

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The following meetings are scheduled through the end of the year and are open to the public:

Thursday

Retirement Board, 1:30 p.m., Cultural Center, 37 Millyard Park

Monday

Special Joint Meeting of the City Council and Planning Board, 7 p.m., City Hall auditorium

Jan. 6

Conservation Commission, 6:30 p.m., City Hall auditorium

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Mac Cerullo covers Amesbury for The Daily News. He can be reached at 978-961-3150 or by email at mcerullo@newburyportnews.com. Follow Mac on Twitter at @MacCerullo.