Town Meeting members are set to take up a short list of six articles that address community concerns about fire and school infrastructure.
In addition, the warrant articles for the upcoming Special Town Meeting include one that would allow the Library Trustees to sell the former Kidder Branch Library and others that would finetune a traffic mitigation proposal and Great Estates zoning regulations. The articles would also make changes in the way Milton handles bond premiums.
Town Meeting, which is open to the public, will be held at Milton High School on Feb. 25 and continue on Feb. 26, if needed.
In Article 1, the Fire Station Building Committee and the Select Board are requesting $2.7 million to continue work on the redesign of the town’s three fire stations. The Warrant Committee voted unanimously to support this article, commenting that the three existing fire stations on Canton Avenue, Atherton Street, and East Milton Square are “old and in need of repair” and this action would help “ensure the safety of all residents.” The article will pay for an Owner’s Project Manager and architectural work. An additional request to fund the construction of the projects would likely be made this fall.
In Article 2, the Library Trustees have requested permission to sell the former Kidder Branch Library property at 101 Blue Hills Pkwy. The Warrant Committee is supporting the measure, but the vote was 7-5. The committee’s comments noted that although the property is appraised at $1.2 million, it would generate an estimated $30,000 income annually for the library. This is in accordance with the terms of the will that granted the property to the library in 1928. The building currently houses Discovery Schoolhouse, which is interested in purchasing the property.
Article 3 is a Planning Board article that clarifies language in the Great Estate zoning code used in the Wolcott Woods development. It would specify that a setback requirement 550 yards from the roadway would only apply to the frontage on Canton Avenue. It further would clarify language regarding required rear setbacks and clean up language concerning the height of the buildings.
Article 4 is a Planning Board-generated article that would expand a traffic mitigation article passed at the Special Town Meeting last fall to apply to several more zoning districts. A Warrant Committee comment states that this change would include possible mitigation payments from developments in residence, business, planned unit development, and overlay districts. It would exclude developments of up to four units in a single building.
Former Planning Board member Alexander Whiteside took issue with some of the requirements in the revisions, calling them “extraordinarily detailed and potentially very onerous and costly for affected applicants.”
In a letter to the Planning Board, Whiteside said the traffic impact standards on roadways impacted by a development could kill some otherwise desirable developments.
Article 5, a bond premium article, would align the town’s bonding with an updated provision of a state municipal modernization act. This would allow the premium that the town receives when it sells a bond to be applied to capital project costs, thus reducing the amount borrowed. It would apply to the $11 million in AAA bonds Milton issued in August, which generated $688,000 in premiums the town could put toward future projects.
Article 6 is a request from the School Committee to establish a School Building Committee to continue to evaluate solutions to the district’s expanding enrollments. In a 7-3 vote, the Warrant Committee recommended the formation of a nine-member committee that would be appointed by the Town Moderator. The article was amended to include two members to be designated by the Select Board. (See related story in this issue).