In addition to managing the town’s spending for the coming year, residents face decisions about road projects, steps to create new rules on ground-mounted solar installations and investments in fire protection. In a reprise of a recent controversy over a proposed cellular telephone tower, they’ll be asked, in a citizen’s petition, to add a single word to a zoning bylaw.
Church future: Two warrant articles concern the former St. Paul’s Episcopal Church at 13 Monterey Road, which was recently given to the town. One article proposes to use $70,000 in a community center account to restore and renovate the church as a community resource. Another article, in the form of a citizen’s petition, seeks voter approval to transfer the church to the Otis Preservation Trust. But that trust says it wasn’t consulted about such a move and does not support it. The petition says that if the trust declines to take ownership of the building, the town can seek to transfer it to any other party.
Road work: Residents of Judd, Ed Jones, Merritt and Dimmock roads may be pleased to see their streets listed under a warrant article to invest $263,000 in improvements. The measure needs a two-thirds majority vote to pass.
Treasurer change: Instead of electing a town treasurer, officials hope to win voter approval to make it an appointed position.
Cell tower tweak: The Select Board this month officially turned down a pitch from Verizon Wireless, which the town itself solicited, to erect a cell tower near Big Pond in East Otis, after more than 100 residents expressed opposition. A citizen’s petition aims to prevent another proposal from being viewed as exempt from town zoning, as this one was, simply because it would also house a radio antenna used locally by public safety crews.
The petition calls to insert the word “exclusively” into a sentence in the rules. If it passes, only facilities used exclusively for town or state emergency service would be exempt from zoning review.