All about the village

A slate of 10 articles is set to come before the town’s second remote special Town Meeting that has been set for July 28 and July 30.

Due to the continuing concerns about COVID-19, this meeting will be held via the Zoom video conferencing system.

The special Town Meeting comes close on the heels of the annual meeting in mid-June, which was the town’s first-ever remote meeting.

Several of the articles at this meeting were pulled from the earlier agenda.

They include:

The creation of a Milton Village Mixed-use Planned Unit Development, a zoning overlay district that is designed to encourage redevelopment in the area next to Dorchester Lower Mills. The measure will be taken up in the first four articles in the warrant. (See related story on page 2.)

A proposal to have the town adopt the state Community Preservation Act (CPA) put on the ballot next year. Adopting the CPA includes setting up a fund that would add a 1 percent surcharge on property tax bills, equal to about $82 a year for the average taxpayer. It also includes exemptions for low and moderate income homeowners and senior citizens. The money set aside in the fund would be matched by an estimated $876,000 in state funds and could be used to support open space, historic preservation, recreational uses, and affordable housing. Projects could include the exteriors of the firehousings or playing fields at Milton High School. A yes vote would place the proposal on the ballot.

A measure to allow developers who are required to provide affordable housing units when building what is otherwise a market rate development to create those affordable housing units off-site. According to the Warrant Committee, this will apply to the Wolcott Woods development whose special permit includes off-site housing.

The expansion of the type and number of investment accounts in which the town Treasurer can pick from when investing the town’s trust funds. The intent is to generate greater returns on those funds while remaining conservative.

A proposal to allow the town to provide for the electronic delivery of town warrants, including those for Town Meetings and elections. It would remove the obligation to mail copies of the reports to all homes in Milton. This measure was held back late in the second night of the June Town Meeting as several potential amendments were offered.

An article to allow the Select Board to use money collected from the rents of town buildings to be used for the upkeep and maintenance of those buildings.

A measure that would allow the Select Board to establish 20 mile per hour safety zones on town roads. This was a recommendation from a special Traffic Commission and is designed to be a tool to improve safety and speeding in areas with high pedestrian traffic.

While some other communities have set up outdoor Town Meetings this spring, town officials said they preferred to go with a remote meeting because overall it was successful and because they only had a few weeks since the June 15 and 16 meeting to study other alternatives that included holding the meeting at the football field or in the fieldhouse at Milton High School.

Town Moderator Bob Hiss said the virtual Town Meeting took substantial additional work by a special committee but said it was the best option.

He said that all Town Meeting members needed to be registered, and despite efforts to have members register early, about 50 members had to be let in at the last minute.

“Our town practices very courteous behavior both in person and now virtually,” Hiss said. “We have all seen how behavior can coarsen behind the anonymity of a computer screen, but there was none of that in our Town Meeting.”

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