Town meeting to consider marijuana, Ellis Estate dispute in Scituate
Mary Whitfill The Patriot Ledger thelittlewreck
SCITUATE – Voters at annual town meeting next month will decide the fate of recreational marijuana sales in town, weigh in on how to settle a land-use dispute with the state, and decide on a $76 million operating budget for the 2019 fiscal year. A special town meeting, held the same day, will ask if the town can use $1.1 million from free cash and the town’s stabilization fund to pay for storm-related cleanup.
Town meetings will start at 7 p.m. on Monday, April 9 at Scituate High School.
Selectmen are proposing two measures that would ban recreational marijuana in town. The propsals, one of which would amend the general bylaws and one that would amend zoning bylaws, ban all marijuana manufacturers, retailers, cultivators, testing facilities and any other types of retail marijuana-related business.
Because Scituate residents voted against the state ballot question that legalized marijuana in Massachusetts in 2016, it is considered a “no community.” This distinction allows for sales to be banned in town via town meeting vote alone, instead of requiring a town election.
The budget for the 2019 fiscal year, which begins July 1, proposes a $2 million increase over last year’s budget. Voters will be asked to approve a total operating budget of $76,961,623, which includes a $37.9 million allotment for public schools and $300,000 more for the police and fire departments.
Voters will also need to approve or deny a land transfer proposal that would settle a dispute with the state. The town ran into problems last May when the attorney general ruled that it wrongly used 7.1 acres of the Ellis Estate’s conversation land for the town’s new public safety building in North Scituate.
The Ellis Estate, which was given to the town in 1968, was meant