NEWBURY — Voters will gather tonight at 7 at Newbury Elementary School for a Special Town Meeting.

Ten articles are on the warrant for the session, which will require a quorum of 40 voters.

The Democratic Town Committee will be collecting donations of nonperishable food outside the school before the meeting to be distributed by area food pantries.

Seven of the articles deal with town finances, including a little more than $85,000 in budget cuts and transfers of slightly less than $65,000 among various accounts.

Two zoning articles are likely to generate some debate.

Article 3 is a zoning proposal that would change the way the height of a building is calculated. If approved, it would mandate that the height be measured from the ground to the highest point of the roof. The current zoning bylaw measures from the ground to the mean height of the highest roof. The Planning Board has voted to withdraw the article and is expected to ask Town Meeting to withdraw it or vote it down.

Article 4 is a zoning proposal that redefines a "story above grade." It classifies a basement as a story above grade if its floor is more than 6 feet above the grade plane, more than 6 feet above the ground for more than 50 percent of the building's footprint, or more than 12 feet above the ground at any point.

The director of the Plum Island Foundation has voiced concern that the definition could include as a "story" the piling substructure that is mandated for new construction on the island.

Town Meeting voters will hear a report on the use of an $80,000 appropriation from the Special Assessment Fund. Selectmen took the money out of the account on June 22 to pay Newbury's share of increased costs for dredging the Merrimack River channel and depositing sand directly onto the beach at Plum Island.

There is also an article that decreases the quorum for a meeting of the Personnel Board from five members to four. The board has seven seats, and quorums are typically a simple majority. Also, there are currently only four members on the board, and they are unable legally to meet with the quorum set at five.

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