NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 5, 2013

Seabrook deliberates Town Meeting warrant tonight

SEABROOK — Voters have their only opportunity tonight to discuss and amend any of the 40-plus articles on the Town Meeting warrant to be voted at the polls on Tuesday, March 12.

The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at the Community Center.

This year’s warrant carries customary requests, such as approval of an $18,711,069 town operating budget for 2013. This budget is $45,795 more than the 2012 budget approved at the polls last year. Should the proposed budget fail to garner voter support, a higher default budget of $18,715,449 will automatically go into effect.

This year’s warrant also carries a large number of petitions offered by citizens. The ballot carries two petitions to change the town’s zoning bylaw. The petitions — neither is recommended by the Planning Board — would allow blade or banner signs outside local businesses in a manner not currently permitted. And, back again this year is a petition warrant article that would restore the ability to shoot fireworks off on private property at the beach district, currently forbidden.

Other citizens petition warrant articles include: establishing regulations to require the humane tethering of dogs outside the home; naming Seabrook Recreation Center for “Ted” Pickard, a long-standing employee of the town; $2,800 to install dash cameras on all Seabrook police vehicle; $119,500 to improve Gov. Wear Park and its extension; $10,000 to buy wrestling mats for the Recreation Center, and $7,500 for Community Home Solutions.

The Planning Board requests voter approval of a zoning bylaw change that would prevent new gas stations from being built within 1,000 feet of an existing station. Exempting the current 12 filling stations in town, the article hopes to prevent an excessive concentration of petroleum products that could pose a threat to groundwater.

The board also proposes other amendments, including: changing the zoning of two strips of land near the harbor, amending the definition of “Home Occupation” and the adoption of a building code amendment to conform with accepted international codes.

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