Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Special Town Meeting (STM) 2017-3 *

Back in Cary Hall tonight to continue with STM 2017-3.
Warrant is HERE.
Motions for STM-3 Articles 1,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,11,13, HERE.
Motions for STM-3 Articles 2,5(revised),10,12, HERE.
Report of the Appropriation Committee (AC), HERE.
Report of the Capital Expenditures Committee (CEC), HERE.
October 16, 2017 Votes of Town Meeting Members (TMM), HERE.
My post for the previous night (STM-2, Monday, October 16) HERE.

Madam Moderator (MM) indicated previously that we'll begin with the following Articles:
  • Article 2: Amend Zoning Bylaw -- 45-55-65 Hayden Avenue
  • Article 12: Appropriate Community Preservation Act Projects
  • Article 8: Appropriate Design Funds for Visitors Center
Time permitting:
  • Articles 3 & 4 -- Amend General Bylaws -- Recreational Marijuana Facilities Prohibited & Amend Zoning Bylaw -- Recreational Marijuana Moratorium
Time permitting: any other unfinished STM 2017-3 Articles.
Holding Monday, October 30 for a possible 3rd night, if needed.
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Madam Moderator (MM) has called the Meeting to Order
7:30 PM
120/200 Town Meeting Members (TMMs) are present - we have a Quorum (at least 100 TMMs constitute a Quorum)

First up:
  • Article 2: Amend Zoning Bylaw -- 45-55-65 Hayden Avenue
"To see if the Town will vote to amend the Zoning Map and Bylaw of the Town to create the Planned Development District PD-2, based on the information provided in the applicant's Preliminary Site Development and Use Plan ("PSDUP") for Lots 20B and 21A of Assessor's Map 17, addressed as 45, 55, 65 Hayden Avenue (the "Site"), or to act in any other manner in relation thereto."

Thomas Ragno, authorized signatory of CRP/King Hayden Owner, LLC makes the presentation (max. 20 mins).
King Street Properties has long history of developing, owning, and operating high quality life science centers. They currently own and operate over 680,000s.f. of lab/office space in Lexington, and recently developed the new life science building located at 115 Hartwell Avenue in the Hartwell Innovation Campus. This Article proposes a rezoning of the Property, the former Merck campus that currently contains two existing office/laboratory buildings, a parking garage, and surface parking areas, and include an additional office/lab building (adds, "75 Hayden Avenue") and parking garage structure.

Richard Canale for the Planning Board (PB).
Report received and placed on file.
PB: Unanimously supports
BoS: Unanimously suports
Economic Development Advisory Committee (EDAC): Supports this project
Chamber of Commerce at Citizen's Mic: Unanimously supports

Zoning Articles Require 2/3 Majority Vote
YES: 148
NO: 2
Abstain: 2
Motion Approved
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Brief recess for CPC caucus (~8:05 PM)
Back in session (~8:09 PM)
  • Article 12: Community Preservation Act
It is anticipated that the Housing Project will be IP'd and brought back to the ATM in Spring 2018. Prior to the recess a moment ago, the Land Project had yet to be voted upon by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC) and it is unknown if this project will move forward.

CPC Report & Addendum received and placed on file.
CPC recommends that both Projects be IP'd.
CEC: Unanimous
Voice Vote of TMM: Unanimous
Motion to IP is Approved
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  • Article 8: Appropriate Design Funds for Visitors Center
This Article requests an appropriation of $150,000 to fund production of Design Development Documents for a new Visitors Center, to be located on the present site across from the Battle Green.

Current building was constructed more than 50 years ago (1966) and was designed to provide restrooms and information for tourists coming to commemorate the bicentennial of the Battle of Lexington in 1975. The building is not fully handicapped-accessible, lacks adequate restroom facilities for use by tourists and Minuteman Bikeway users, is inadequate for accommodating the flow of visitors, and lacks the technology on which visitors now depend.

Pat Goddard making presentation. USA250 Celebration & Plymouth 400 make this a good time to improve the facility (because more history buffs as visitors to Lexington for the history). Design to meet LEED v4 Silver Certification.Exceed Stretch Code by 30%. Still reviewing for Solar. Total Project Budget from Schematic Design Submission was $4,549,000; adjusted for escalation & scope: $4,408,000. Opportunities to review and lower costs. Requesting $150,00 tonight.

BoS: Supports 4-1
CEC: Supports 5-2
AC: 8-0-1 Supports
Tourism Committee: Supports
Chamber: Supports

Q Mic: Does a YES assume approval of a specific design (and cost) for a new Visitor Center?
Carl Valente, Town Manager (TM): No
Q Mic: About accessibility - can you describe in more detail? Wheelchair, other requirements?
Mills: Small buildings - one elevator. Most services are on the first floor and accessible from fron and back. Restrooms downstairs -- accessible from stairs and elevator.
Q Mic: Alternate forms of funding -- more detail?
Tourism: Two things -- 1). initial contributions from Grants or Individuals 2). nothing approved, possible Mass Cultural Council, Historical Society, exploring creative options.
Q Mic: Safety in restrooms and building in the evenings "after hours"?
Goddard: Schedule of hours haven't been determined.
NO Mic: Doesn't think Lexington taxpayers should be subsidizing tour buses to Town. Also, Debt Exclusion on Capital Projects makes this a lower priority.
YES Mic: Over 60 buses a year come to Town for at least 2 hours to eat and visit museums, etc. Also, these are the same arguments we heard back in 1966. It's important to be able to see and tell in the Visitors Center. We don't realize just how much tourism brings to the Town.
Q Mic: BoS was 4-1...could we please hear why?
Selectman Pato: Wasn't easy decision. We are at a time when fiscal pressures demand that we spend very carefully.

TMM Calls Q
Voice Vote to close debate: Approved

Requires Simple Majority Vote
YES: 103
NO: 45
Abstain: 7
Motion Carries
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  • Articles 3 & 4 -- Amend General Bylaws -- Recreational Marijuana Facilities Prohibited & Amend Zoning Bylaw -- Recreational Marijuana Moratorium
Article 3 Proposes a General Bylaw that will effectuate an outright permanent ban of recreational Marijuana sales in Lexington. Article 4 proposes a temporary zoning bylaw moratorium on the licensing and siting of any recreational marijuana dispesary in Lexington. Any bylaw passed by TM must first receive AG's approval before it goes into effect. Therefore, waiting until the Spring TM in 2018 is not desirable if Lexington wants to prohibit or control the location of marijuana establishments.
BoS: 4 members support a Ban (help restrict access of marijuana to underage youth; 53% of Town opposed Ballot Q 4; Ch.55 of Acts of 2017 allows Cities and Towns that did not support Q4 to ban marijuana by a vote of the local Legislative Body (TM). Lexington majority didn't support the Ballot Q last fall); 1 member supports a Moratorium
PB: No position on Article 3; Article 4: 4-1 in support.
School Committee (SC): Unanimously supports Article 3; also supports Article 4.

Q Mic: Permanent Ban?
Town Counsel: Could be reversed by future TM, up to 2019.
NO Mic: Not so concerned about the effects of pot.
Q Mic: Ban proposes cultivation and testing?
Ciccolo: We did not discuss the testing.
YES Mic: Addiction to brains due to alcohol. Why would we want to further add to that? 
Citizens Mic: As parent, Town resident, scientist  is opposed.
NO Mic: Couldn't support a prohibition of any type.
YES Mic: Moral obligation to pass this Article.
Q Mic: Testing? I have an amendment (wants to strike "marijuana testing facility")
Town Counsel: To clarify - the terms used come directly from MGL Ch.94G
Citizens Mic: Parent, clinical SW, work with children and their families and this is my perspective: I urge you to vote YES on Article 3. Too many negative consequences.
NO Mic: Couple things: we did not legalize marijuana for children and/or teens. This is for adults. It's been here for a while. Economic opportunity.

Amendment: Add after "Ch 94 sec.1" the clause "other than  Marijuana Testing Facility"
BoS on the Amendment: 4-1 Opposed to the Amendment
SC on the Amendment: Supports the Amendment
(on the Amendment): I 
NO Mic (on the Amendment): I don't know what the definition of a Marijuana Testing Facility is.
Q Mic: For Counsel -- language put us in peril of having whole thing struck?
Town Council: Answer is the language uses statutory terms; Ch.94G is clear that a Town may have different types.
Vote on Amendment:
YES: 63
NO: 81
Abstain: 7
Motion fails

Back to the Main Motion.
Q Mic: SC referenced the Youth Risk Behavior Survey. How does marijuana use compare to alcohol -- binge drinking, included?
SC: Looking at the presentation that summarizes the data: Lifetime alcohol use -- could be at a holiday party -- Middle Schools: 31%; HS 65%. Binge drinking -- more than 5 drinks -- 10.7% 
Q Mic: Current marijuana use?
SC: 18.4% HS in their lifetimes; lower levels
Citizens Mic: Clergy member. Been working with at-risk youth for 20yrs. Lack of teaching for discretion. Discernment is lacking, not only for adults, but for kids. Alcohol isn't explicitly for drunkenness; marijuana is. We need to teach our children to handle stress and discernment.
NO Mic: Experimentation with marijuana is quite widespread already, that's not going to change. The scary thing is that you don't know what is in it; needs regulation. That's why I support. Would prefer a Townwide referendum on this question instead. My pitch for those concerned about our kids, stay concerned. Vote for the Moratorium -- see what the regulations are and revisit this when we know more.
Q Mic: BoS remind us of the total percentage of Town voted in November 2016? I'm struggling because many seem to think we have a mandate for a ban, but I don't see it.
MM: Turnout in November was 84%.
YES Mic: Thank you to the Citizens who came to speak on the impact of drugs on our youth. We have heard of drug overdoses of youth in Lexington.
TMM Calls the Q
Voice Vote: Ayes have it.
Ciccolo for the BoS: Heard a presentation from State Police who visited Colorado. This is all very new. No need to get ahead of this at this point. Banning makes sense.

Article 3 (Ban)
YES: 109
NO: 34
Abstain: 6
Motion Approved

Article 4 (Moratorium through 2018)
YES: 143
NO: 8
Abstain: 7
Motion Approved
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  • Article 5: Amend FY2018 Operating, Enterprise Fund
This Article allows for adjustments to the current fiscal year (FY18) appropriations, as approved ad the 2017 Annual Town Meeting. These amendments will bew used to make any other adjustments to the current fiscal year budgets and appropriations that may be necessary. Also, this article will determine whether the money shall be provided by transfer from available funds.
BoS: Unanimously supports
AC: Unanimously supports
Requires 2/3 Vote
YES: 135
NO: 0
Abstain: 1
Motion Carries
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  • Article 10: Amend General Bylaws -- Distribution of Town Election/Town Meeting Warrant
This Article proposes to amend the Town Bylaws to authorize the Board of Selectmen (BoS) and the Town Clerk (TC) to alter the means of distributing the Warrant to all households.
BoS: Unanimously support

NO Mic: This body has an obligation to inform residents with hard copies mailed to them.
YES Mic: I'm a fan of electronic docs.
Q Mic: Is there data from recycling folks in Town that Warrants are in fact being recycled at a high rate? Or, is this annectdotal evidence?
BoS: No, we have no data on the recycling rate.
Then, TMM urges NO: Town Meeting is a public structure unique to New England. Receiving a hard copy encourages civic engagement.
NO Mic: In favor of getting electronic as quickly as possible, but also hard copies to households.
No Mic: It's our job as TMMs to engage our people.
TMM Calls Q
Voice Vote: Unanimous

Simple Majority 
YES: 25
NO: 103
Abstain: 0
Motion Fails
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  • Article 11: Appropriate for Lexington High School Security System Design
This Article seeks funding for the Engineering and Architectural Design of improvements to the security system at LHS. Enhanced security at eight elementary and two middle schools have already been implemented.

The LHS project is more complicated because of its multiple buildings and open campus. Annual Town Meeting 2017 appropriated funds for an upgraded Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) system, which is similar to the system at the other schools and the Central Administration Building. The upgrade was completed this past summer.

Shawn Newell, Public Facilities makes the presentation. Current security level at LHS: 38 sets of doors remain unlocked throughout the school day; No changes to parking; No perimeter fencing; No change to visitor management. (District Security Level includes all of the immediate above).
SC: Unanimously supports
BoS: Unanimously supports
AC: Unanimously supports
CEC: Unanimously supports

Q Mic: Why is this coming up now and not at the ATM?
Valente: With new HS principal coming on, consulted with them.
Q Mic: Will the same apply with the new Superintendent?
Valente: Can't answer that.
SC: Not concerned with new superintendent. The reason for getting input from principal is because they are in the building and it was important. It is a priority for the SC.

Simple Majority Vote
YES: 115
NO: 3
Abstain: 1
Motion Passes

STM-3 Dissolved
10:56 PM
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* Because a STM was held on the first day of Annual Town Meeting this past Spring, the two Fall STMs have been designated "Special Town Meeting 2017-2" (appropriate for three long-pending capital projects) and "Special Town Meeting 2017-3", which includes:
  • 8 financially-related Articles seeking updates to FY18 Operating, Capital, and Enterprise Fund Budgets;
  • 2 Community Preservation Act Projects (Housing -- potential IP and Land -- Pending);
  • 2 Amend General Bylaw (Recreational Marijuana & Distribution of Town Election/Town Meeting Warrant)
  • 2 Amend Zoning Bylaw (45-55-65 Hayden Avenue & Recreational Marijuana Moratorium)
  • 2 Appropriate Design Funds (Visitors Center + LHS Security System enahncements)
Two STM-3 Articles were approved Monday (Articles 6 & 7 -- Specified Stabilization Funds and Amend Revolving Fund Authorization) and 2 STM-3 Articles were IP'd (Articles 9 & 13).

Monday, October 16, 2017

Special Town Meeting (STM) 2017-2

Edited to correct some typos and formatting issues.

We're in the Isaac Harris Cary Memorial Building (Cary Hall), 1605 Massachusetts Avenue, Lexington 02420.

Madam Moderator has just called the meeting to order.

7:30 PM

Warrant for STM-2 and STM-3 is HERE.
Motions HERE.
Report of the Appropriation Committee (AC), HERE.
Report of the Capital Expenditures Committee (CEC), HERE.

Carl Valente, Town Manager introducing new staff; presents his report: 2016-2018 Capital Plan Approved and Potential Exempt Debt Projects (~$71M). Have since decided to remove Fire Station "swing space" and Pelham Road property purchases from the debt exclusion referendum (voting in December, TBA).

Reports of the CEC and AC presented and placed on file.
First up, Articles for STM-2, in the order printed in the Warrant:
  • Article 2: Appropriate for Hastings School Construction (Funds requested: $63,059,418)
  • Report of the School Committee presented and placed on file.
  • School Committee (SC) unanimously recommending approval of the project.
This Article seeks aurhorization for funding construction of a new Hastings Elementary School (30-section, 110,000s.f.) and for demolition of the old school. Design capacity (K-5) is 645 students; enrollment last year was 455 students. The existing school opened in 1955. Its floor area is 64,980s.f., including 8 modular classrooms that are either nearing or past the end of their useful life of 20 years.

The Massachusetts State Building Authroity (MSBA) approved partial reimbursement of the construction costs for a new school building. The total project budget is about $65,300,000, of which MSBA will reimburse approx $16,500.000 (~35.79%). The balance of $48,800,000 will be covered by the Town of Lexington; a vote for a debt exclusion override is planned for December.

Dr. Czajkowski, Superintendent of Schools presents structural and space challenges (overcrowding) of the current school facility, with assistance from Pat Goddard, recently retired Director of Public Facilities (and filling in while new Director gets up to speed on all of the projects).

Remaining balance for Town Meeting (TM) to appropriate: $63,059,418. If approved, MSBA Grant will be in the amount of $16,513,723
Board of Selectmen (BOS): Unanimously supports
AC: 7-0-2 (the abstentions had to do with concerns with the overall cost of the project)
CEC: Unanimously supports
  • 5th grade student from Hastings shares concerns about the lack of air conditioning in the current building from the Citizens Mic
Requires 2/3 vote:
Yes: 156
No: 1
Abstain: 3
Motion Approved
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  • Article 3: Appropriate Design Funds for Lexington Children's Place ($2,500,000).
This Article seeks funds for completion of design and engineering work needed for construction of a new Lexington Children's Place preschool facility at the recently acquired Pelham Road site (20 Pelham Road).

Design to achieve Leed Silver Certification and exceed Lexington's Stretch Code by 30%. Design maximizes roof space for Solar.

Hope to open new facility for new school year, beginning September 2019.

Funds requested: $2,500,000, contingent upon passage of the Debt Exclusion Question. (Date just announced for December 4. More about that campaign HERE.)

Selectman Ciccolo recusing.

SC: Unanimously supports
BOS: 4-0-1(recusal)
AC: 7-0-2 (abstention relates to overall costs)
CEC: Unanimously supports

From Citizens Mic: Parent of child with Special Needs, who has attended LCP for two years -- has made incredible progress. This program will grow. The time is now.
NO Mic: Lexington will need a 7th elementary school very soon, and there isn't a place for one in Town. Spend the $15M at Harrington School, where LCP is already housed. Also, LHS needs a new space.
Citizen's Mic:  Parent of child with ASD, now at LHS, 13 yrs ago attended LCP. Diverse students. All students. It has been a great program. Out of District costs are huge; great to have this in-district program.
YES Mic: Some say that the mark of a society is how we treat the most vulnerable; children with special needs are the most vulnerable. Morally right thing to do. SC says Pelham can't house another elementary school and I believe them when they say that.
Q Mic: How do you determine a tuition rate for mandated and non-mandated students?
Goddard: class size determined 15; 7 are mandated to be SWD and others are added as space allows.
Czajkowski: Tuition ranges for 1/2 day and full day for 10 months from ~$10K+ for Full Day; 1/2 Day ~$3K+; including lunch ~$1,300
Q Mic: What other funding methods were considered? (Within Levy or Debt Exclusion)
Valente: Those were the only two.
Q Mic: Why not use for 7th elementary school?
Goddard: We looked at the site for a 7th elementry school. 24-section school deemed too small; 3-story with very little green space.
Q Mic: WRT access to the school -- any significant expense getting traffic in or out of the site?
Goddard: Costs include getting onto and off of the site.

TMM Calls Q.
Voice vote: Passes 

Requires 2/3 vote:
Yes: 144
No: 5
Abstain: 9
Motion Approved
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Meeting now open on Articles 4 and 5. We will take them up together and vote them separately.
  • Article 4: Appropriate Design Funds for Fire Headquarters (Funds requested: $676,300)
  • Article 5: Appropriate for Temporary Fire Station Construction (Funds requested: $2,140,000)
BOS: Unanimously supports 4&5
Funds for Article 4 are intended to allow the design to proceed through the Construction Document Development Stage.
Funds for Article 5 are intended for Design, Engineering, and Architectural Services, including production of Construction Document, and for the construction of a temporary fire station. For both: LEED to easily achieve Silver -- will continue to look to achieve Gold -- Certification. Energy goal to exceed Lexington Stretch Code by 30%. Design maximizes roof space for Solar; includes solar hot water heating. Will continue to review energy design options.
CEC: Unanimously supports 4 & 5
AC: Unanimously supports 4 & 5

Article 4: requires 2/3
YES: 151
NO: 0
Abstain: 1
Motion Approved

Article 5: requires 2/3
YES: 153
NO: 0
Abstain: 2
Motion Approved
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STM-3 Now Open
  • Article 6: Establish and Appropriate to and from Specified Stabilization Funds
BOS: Unanimously supports
AC: Unanimously supports
CEC: (A only): Unanimously supports

Voice Vote: Unanimous
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  • Article 7: Amend Revolving Fund Authorization
BoS: Unanimously supports
CEC: Unanimously supports DPW Compost Operation
AC: Unanimously supports

Voice Vote: Unanimous
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  • Article 9: Appropriate for Solid Waste Collection Equipment
BOS recommend Indefinitely Postpone (IP)

Voice Vote: Unanimous
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  • Article 13: Appropriate for Authorized Capital Improvements
BOS recommends IP

Voice Vote: Unanimous
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Adjourned until Wednesday, 10/18, 7:30 PM

Monday, October 2, 2017

Yes - let's build the Arts

While the Globe's editorial focused, primarily, on the arts as an economic driver (Let's build Massachusetts by building the arts), the arts are a component of a basic education. However, since the dawn of the "standards-based era", their focus of study has eroded in many schools; it doesn't help that the Massachusetts Arts Curriculum Framework hasn't been updated since first implemented in 1999.

An arts education can help students develop a variety of skills, such as critical thinking and problem-solving, as well as to help foster creative thinking. Further, the arts provide a way for students to communicate and collaborate across language, cultural, and other boundaries, and can increase their global knowledge. We should support efforts that:
  • support, expand, and improve children's access to quality arts and cultural programs;
  • support, expand, and improve arts literacy for all students;
  • support, expand, and improve opportunities to use arts education to expand and enhance access to the core curriculum;
  • support, expand, and improve activities that prepare teachers to integrate the arts into the curriculum of other academic subjects to supplement and engage student learning; and 
  • support, expand, and improve science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics (STEAM) initiatives.*
The arts play a vital role in the education of students. Massachusetts' educators are committed to developing and maintaining comprehensive arts curricula and programming that follow the highest local, state, and national standards. Let's help them, our students, and our Commonwealth by integrating and updating a comprehensive 21st century Arts Framework.

*Massachusetts PTA's legislative position statements.
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