Egremont voters reject restrictions on pot businesses

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Egremont voters at annual town meeting Tuesday defeated a proposal that would have restricted the use of algaecides, herbicides and pesticides in Prospect Lake. The result of the vote was incorrect in Thursday's edition.

EGREMONT — All types of recreational marijuana businesses may apply for special permits in town following the rejection of cannabis restrictions at Tuesday night's annual town meeting.

Voters were asked to ban all recreational marijuana businesses except retail. The article needed a two-thirds majority to pass and was defeated: 47 for the ban and 66 against it.

Voters also declined, through secret ballot, to pay $200,000 to continue engineering work on Mount Washington Road or $280,000 for a new Highway Department truck. Both projects required two-thirds majority to pass. The Mount Washington Road project was defeated with 88 yes votes and 47 no. The truck failed by a vote of 63-72.

Egremont has already invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into developing improvement plans for the deteriorating Mount Washington Road. At last year's annual town meeting, voters approved spending $535,500 on improvement plans. A representative from the project's engineering firm, CHA Inc., said that the requested $200,000 would help bring plans closer to completion and that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation would likely pay for the estimated $9 million road construction through the Massachusetts Transportation Improvement Program. To apply for MASSTIP funding, a community needs to invest in plans, he said.

Select Board member Mary Brazie said Egremont will likely have to revisit the $200,000 for engineering. The planning process began over a year ago, and the quality of Mount Washington Road and its three bridges is a concern among town officials.

There were 28 articles on Tuesday's town meeting warrant. About 170 of 990 registered voters attended the meeting, which began at 7 p.m. and closed around 10:20 p.m. Residents approved a $4.5 million operating budget, a new assessment formula for the Southern Berkshire Regional School District and the expenditure of $90,000 to improve accessibility at the historic South Egremont School. Residents rejected a ban on algaecides, herbicides and pesticides in Prospect Lake.

Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@berkshireeagle.com, @kristinpalpini.

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