LEE — Town meeting representatives will face three major issues on the town warrant, which include zoning for retail marijuana sales, four articles for road work totaling $1.5 million and authorizing a review of the town's charter.
When: 7 p.m. Thursday, May 10
Where: Lee Middle and High School, 300 Greylock St.
Fiscal 2019: $19.7M, Increase: 3.6 percent
$8.98M in taxation to fund Lee Public Schools
$850,000 for paving projects highlighted by Devon Road
$150,000 toward bridge repairs
Town officials and half of the town meeting representatives have been divided over whether the Route 20 business corridor from the north end of Main Street to the Massachusetts Turnpike should allow retail sales of recreational marijuana. Locating pot shops within town is part of an overall zoning bylaw that requires a two-thirds majority approval of the town reps. Several amendments could be made to ensure passage as the town's moratorium to approve such zoning expires Sept. 30. Failing to meet the deadline would mean recreational marijuana-related businesses could go anywhere in Lee if they meet current zoning regulations.
Four articles totaling $1.5 million would accelerate the town's effort to upgrade deteriorating roads and bridges. A combination of Chapter 90 state funds and short-term borrowing, paid off with future surplus town funds, would give Lee $850,000 for road construction/repaving in fiscal 2019; Devon Road high on the to-do list. The $500,000 article on the agenda is for design reconstruction of Main, Center, Columbia and Mill streets — a route from the downtown to the Lenox town line. The bridge repair account of $434,000, if approved, would get another $150,000.
Lee has a town administrator form of government enacted nearly 30 years ago and it's time for a review, according to town officials. Article 22 on the warrant calls for a Select Board-appointed, five-person committee/commission to review the town charter enacted in 1990 by the state Legislature and approved by Lee voters. "You may want to review a 30-year-old act to see what is working and what isn't," said Lee/Lenox Chief Administrative Officer Christopher Ketchen. With Lee going to a CAO, a shared manager with Lenox, this fiscal year, one aspect of the review would be whether to recommend continuing the shared services position permanently. The committee's final report would be due Jan. 15, 2020, almost six months before the CAO arrangement expires.