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5 Takeaways From the April 4 Select Board Meeting

The board reorganized before addressing several new streets

The Select Board met last night with new member Pat Holland, who ran unopposed for the seat vacated by Jay Kelly, who served two terms. 

After a welcome for Holland by Chair Todd Johnson, as its first order of business, the board reorganized. 

Member Mark Kratman nominated Johnson to serve another term as chair, with a second by James Mackey. That was a unanimous vote. Johnson thanked his colleagues for their support and trust. Wellman nominated James Mackey for vice chair, seconded by Holland. That was also a unanimous vote.

As per tradition, Mackey nominated Holland for clerk, seconded by Wellman. That was a unanimous vote as well.

Next were two public street acceptance hearings, for new developments at Border Rd. and Grammys Way. The acceptance of newly built streets as public ways is governed by Massachusetts General Law, Ch. 82, sections 22 and 23, and is a multi-step process. 

After going through approvals with town boards and departments, including the Planning Board and DPW, developers petition the Select Board to lay out the road as a public way. Then, Town Meeting must vote to accept the road before the Select Board accepts the deed for the roadway as well as drainage, water, sewer, utility, access, buffer and any other related easements. 

While normally a smooth process, several years ago a resident held up acceptance of a public way at Town Meeting because her road was seeing flooding after a development was built on an adjacent wooded area, so it’s not a slam dunk. 

Border Rd. is a new four-home open space subdivision near 255 Salem St. Project engineer James Hanley of Civil Design Consultants addressed the board. Wellman asked Hanley about stormwater drainage; he replied that there is a “wet pond” that complies with state stormwater standards.

Border Rd. was accepted unanimously.

Grammys Way, another subdivision with an open space residential design plan, is near 1009 Livingston St. Hanley returned to answer questions and stated there were “a few outstanding items” being worked on, including drainage and sidewalks. The roadway is above existing grade, said Hanley, necessitating a catch basin. There will be some re-grading required.

That street was also approved, with Wellman adding the condition that the town’s concerns be addressed.

Tonight was the first step in this process, which will continue at Tewksbury Town Meeting, May 1 and 4. The benefit of being accepted as a public street is that the town assumes responsibility for plowing and repairs and may expend Chapter 90 funds for improvements.

Johnson advised Hanley that residents will need to be assured at Town Meeting that all conditions have been met for both streets.

Next, the owner of Escapology asked for a transfer of liquor license manager. Documentation was in order, and the change was approved unanimously.

In preparation for Town Meeting and Special Town Meeting, Town Manager Richard Montuori asked the board to sign the warrant, which he says will be posted to the town website today. He also noted that the Friends of the Elderly donated $150 to the Senior Center; that gift needs to be accepted by the Select Board. 

The board accepted the donation unanimously and with gratitude.

In Committee reports, Wellman noted that the Tewksbury DEI Advisory Committee will likely bring before the board a request to approve a 5K route to celebrate Pride in June. A rally on the Common is also planned. She thanked the voters who came out on Saturday. There were no other reports.

After approving several sets of minutes, the board adjourned at approximately 7:30 p.m.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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