Daily Buzz | Jessica Sutherland Appointed to Planning Board Amid More Tension About Process
Also, watering ban tightens even more
Yesterday was a busy day in what we knew would be a busy week. I spent most of my Buzz time listening to the Select Board meeting, which was very eventful.
Just a reminder to enter the giveaway in honor of our six-month anniversary. All you have to do is read and comment on the thread linked above. Also, I did get a response about my support request, and apparently there is a requirement to be signed in to leave a comment. But, it’s likely many subscribers don’t have Substack accounts - and I can totally understand not wanting to create a new one just to comment on this post. So, again, if you want to make a comment (and enter the giveaway!) feel free to bypass the threads and email me, and I’ll post on your behalf! So far less than 1% of you are entered, so take some time over the next day or two to be sure and respond. I’ll be having a special guest choose the winner!
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Select Board Meeting Recap
I try to make these reads 3 minutes or fewer, but that’s just not going to happen today. And I didn’t even catch everything! Fair warning. 😉 Highlights below.
Citizen’s Time (Select Board, I know you’re reading. Please change this title to Public Participation!) - a town resident spoke briefly regarding his perception of racism when working with various Town departments. Chair Priest offered to meet separately to discuss.
Jessica Sutherland was appointed to the Planning Board by a vote of 8-3, but the process was criticized once again. Discussion was had about getting an official process through Town Meeting via a general bylaw so the process can’t be criticized in the moment and further confuse the voting process.
Election stuff was discussed:
April election: April 1
Upcoming elections: There will be police presence as mandated by the new state election act passed in 2022
The Community Preservation Act will be on the November town ballot, and we need to have a pro/con mailer for residents like the one we get from the state. Details are shaking out, but printing and mailing are going to cost over $5k.
September Town Meeting will begin on Wednesday, September 28, due to Rosh Hashanah falling on September 26.
DPW appointments were made - four of them!
Water Ban is tightened
No more outdoor watering at all, unless vegetable or flower garden. No washing of cars, either, but the Board has confirmed you can still shower. As long as you’re doing it indoors.
The DPW also sought permission to turn off water to businesses that are ignoring the water ban.
There was discussion of levying larger fines and also a question of whether we could incentivize compliance.
One big concern with low water levels is the water pressure. Without the high water levels exerting pressure, there’s a chance there might not be enough water pressure to put out fires. Just one more reason to put off installing that new lawn until next season and give up on the dream of lush green grass this summer and fall.
Depressing news: flash floods are trending in lieu of soaking rains, making it really hard for the rain we do get to make a difference. As DPW head John Sanchez said, they can’t even turn the pumps on from the Shawsheen because the water level surges and then just goes right back down.
Resurfacing of Route 3A (Cambridge Street) will be happening; the state will be paving from Billerica to BHS.
State will present their plan in October.
Proposing one lane in each direction with bike lanes along the sides. (This was met with serious concern but there will be an opportunity to provide feedback prior to the approval of this plan.)
They’ll also be installing new crosswalks, doing some sidewalk work, and adding accessibility features.
The term “complete streets” was used, which was interesting and compelling for me - that streets aren’t just for cars, they’re for all modes of transportation.
We’re seeking a part-time sealer of weights and measures. This person enters businesses when they’re open and checks measuring equipment, scales, etc. as a form of consumer protection. This is a part-time, offsite job, which are notoriously hard to fill, and we’re looking to put together a shared services agreement with Lexington so we can hopefully share a person with Lexington to fill this position.
DEI Committee submitted its second quarterly report. They’ve been very busy!
Their suggested updates for the Select Board’s mission statement were accepted, and they’ve been working with all the other Boards and Commissions in town to update their operating documents to include DEI-specific language.
They’ve also met to discuss union contracts to ensure they contain language acknowledging the proactive consideration of DEI.
They are also looking to establish a date to bring DEI and Select Board together for a working session to have a real-time conversation between the two bodies. They’ll set up a Doodle and decide when the meeting will happen.
Importantly, the Select Board expressed a lot of appreciation for the DEI Committee’s work.
Also importantly, the DEI committee is an ad hoc committee through November. I’m not sure if they’ll continue after that.
The Common will be used for the IAB Diwali celebration on September 25 from 11-7PM and for Saheli events on October 3 and 22.
The Sculpture Park will be used for an ice cream social this Saturday from 10-12! Wegmans is donating the ice cream.
A couple of block parties will happen.
Total Wine and Burton’s Grill are having management changes.
There were a few details I missed, especially at the end, but you can always catch the replay on BCAT.
Today in Burlington
In addition to the Library Luau for children and their caregivers at 11:00, which I was remiss in advertising proactively, there are many meetings occurring tonight.
7:30 PM - Board of Appeals discusses many signs I can’t get into this late in an already very long issue. Click the agenda for more info.
Ok. I’m done. That’s it. Told you to buckle up.
See you tomorrow for a much shorter Buzz!