What: Rockport Town Meeting to consider 21-item warrant.
When: Saturday, April 27, at noon
Where: Rockport High School gymnasium, 24 Jerdens Lane.
ROCKPORT — When the town’s registered voters convene at Town Meeting on Saturday, they will consider a 21-article warrant, with downtown sound and the use of fluoride in the town’s drinking water among the items up for discussion and vote.
Linda Emerson, assistant town clerk, said the town heads into its annual meeting with 5,755 voters, all welcome to gather Saturday beginning at noon in Rockport High School’s gymnasium on Jerden’s Lane.
Last year’s meeting drew the highest attendance of any in the last five years, Emerson said, with 431 residents deciding on whether to expand the town’s number of alcohol licenses and the potential licensing of any shops for recreational marijuana sales. Both proposals were emphatically defeated.
“There’s not as much controversy (this year),” Emerson said, though she added officials are hoping for a good turnout.
“The more the merrier,” Emerson said, noting that the fewest number of voters over the last five years came when 208 trekked to the meeting in 2014.
Town will once again use hand-held electronic voting devices to register the votes, Emerson said. Last year — the first year officials utilized the electronic counters — the meeting began by using them, but dropped it after “a few glitches,” Emerson said. This time, the town hopes to avoid any such problems, she said.
Moderator Robert Visnick will once again take up the articles by lottery once voters have dispensed with budget items at the start of the meeting, she said.
Among other issues, the meeting will consider:
Curbing the amount of noise in the downtown business district. This extension to Chapter 13 of the Rockport General Bylaws as outlined would implement a curfew for outdoor entertainment — 9 p.m. on weekdays and 9:30 p.m. on weekends. Exemptions could be granted by selectmen “on certain holidays.” Also, establishments that hold entertainment licenses would be required to keep outdoor noise at such a level that, when it crosses property lines, it measures below 60 decibels, about the same volume as a normal conversation or equal to the noise level in a quiet office. The article will need a simple majority to pass.
Repairing a filtration system failure at the town’s dissolved air flotation water treatment plant on DPW Way, which treats water from Carlson’s Quarry and provides the town with half of its public water. New stainless steel filter underdrains would also be installed at the town’s rapid sand filter water treatment plant. Interim Town Administrator Mitch Vieira has put the cost for the new filtration system around $750,000. Voters will be asked to approve transferring however much is necessary to the town’s Water Enterprise fund. If Town Meeting approves, Public Works estimates the project could be completed this fall.
Making the town’s site plan review process more efficient, clearer and streamlined. Site plan reviews ensure any proposed construction projects will not have a negative social or economic impact on the town. Once passed, those leading the project are free to apply for a building permit. It needs approval by a two-thirds majority before the town officially adapts it to law.
Eliminating the use of fluoride in the town’s drinking water. A citizen petition asks selectmen to “(take) legislative steps” toward ending the town’s fluoridation policy. The proposal, which requires approval by a simple majority vote, comes after a 2015 nonbinding referendum question that had voters opting to keep the fluoridation policy in place.
Staff Witer Andrea Holbrook contributed to this story.
*Original article titled Rockport Town Meeting to again try iPads for checkin online at https://www.gloucestertimes.com/news/local_news/rockport-town-meeting-to-again-try-ipads-for-checkin/article_62511a91-a5fd-5eae-ab26-3aad78fe4977.html