At our April 2023 meeting, we agreed to form a subcommittee that was tasked with looking at Town Meeting articles and making recommendations on how to vote. While these are not official endorsements by the BDTC, the subcommittee believes that the following recommendations align with our belief in creating a more progressive town.
Article 2: Authorization to Represent the Town’s Legal Interest
This is a standard article
Article 3: Amend Utility Easement
The article will amend existing utility easements by allowing the creation of a new sewer and water easement.
This easement is necessary to relocate existing pipes, which will be paid for by Empire Management Company.
Article 4: Amend Zoning By-Law
Correct terminology to Inspector of Buildings
Article 5: Establish Recreation Revolving Fund
Organizations can’t spend money unless TM has appropriated it. There’s often a mismatch between revenues and spending, and a revolving fund would allow the rec department to spend without coming back to TM.
Article 6: Citizen Petition for Sidewalk Safety
Goal is to call attention to sidewalk obstructions that interfere with the safe use of sidewalks.
Article 7: Citizen Petition to AMend Belmont Zoning Bylaw to Require Development Impact Report
We understand that the language is still under discussion and will wait for the final petition and report
Article 8: Citizen Petition to Waive Fees for Special Permits for 501(c)(3) organizations
The recreation department charges $35/hour for a special permit.
Recommendation: No. In an ideal world, Belmont would be flush with money and could waive fees for all non-profits. But our town is financially strapped and the fees are reasonable. There are associated costs when hosting an event and these fees help defray some of the costs.
Article 9: Citizen Petition Authorizing 10 Year Terms for Leases and Procurement Contracts for Electric Vehicles
It is economically prudent to authorize the town to enter into long-term leases and is in accordance with Belmont’s Climate Action Plan, which calls for an 80% reduction in the Town’s carbon emissions.
Article 10: Citizen Petition to Replace Bylaw with Specialized Energy Code
Towns can opt into a specialized energy code, which makes new construction for residential and commercial buildings more energy efficient.
Elizabeth Dionne noted that she is in favor of this, but urges us to hold back until the fall, or later because the town is understaffed and wants to give employees the time to be comfortable with the new rule.
We are mindful of the town’s staffing issues, but believe that Belmont needs to be bold with its climate goals and actions, and will support this now or in the fall, if the motion is tabled until then.
Article 11: Community Preservation Committee Budget and Projects
We support funding the Conservation Fund for open space recreation; funding to support the creation of new affordable housing; Grove St baseball and basketball reconstruction; library historic objects preservation; basketball court replacement; the rejuvenation of Sherman Gardens; and the restoration and installation of windows for the Women’s Club house.
We believe that we need to support efforts to create affordable housing, including incentivizing developers to build in town. We also believe that Sherman Gardens, Belmont’s affordable housing for seniors, needs to be updated to make it accessible, and the units larger. We also support caring for our well-loved recreation facilities so families can enjoy and participate in activities.
Motion to amend 11:
To remove the portion of the motion that reads “C. That $941,953 be appropriated from the Undesignated
Fund Balance of the Community Preservation Fund for the Grove Street Baseball and Basketball
Reconstruction.” and replace with the following:
“C. That $298,370 be appropriated from the Undesignated Fund Balance of the Community Preservation Fund for the Grove Street Baseball and Basketball Reconstruction.”
Much research went into the original Article about the funds needed for baseball and basketball reconstruction. It’s unclear where the amended figure came from.