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Concord Currents: What's happening in Concord

Posted by  October 31, 2013 10:18 AM

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Special Town Meeting registration

Town Clerk Anita Tekle reminds residents that the deadline to register to vote in the special Town Meeting on Dec. 4 is Friday, Nov. 22. The clerk’s office will be open for registration until 8 p.m. on Nov. 22. Registration may also be done by mail (download a form from the town website: or in person. All registrations must be postmarked by Nov. 22.

State initiatives circulating

Initiative ballot question petitions for the November 2014 state election are now circulating in Concord. The Town Clerk has certified over 500 signatures of Concord voters on a ballot question to expand the state bottle bill to require deposits on containers for all non-alcoholic, non-carbonated drinks. Other questions that have been submitted to the clerk’s office for certification include a petition to require employers to provide sick leave benefits to employees and another to increase the state’s minimum wage.

Building on a roll

Building permits are up 16 percent over a year ago, the Town Manager reports. Based on the activity, 2013 will be a record breaker for the number of permits issued. Thirty-six new house permits have been issued to date, compared to 24 house permits issued a year ago.

Restaurant expansions

Health Inspector Gabrielle White approved plans for the expansion of Trails End Cafe and for Concord Teacakes’ new wholesale operation. Trails End Cafe is expanding seating and will become a full service restaurant with alcohol service. Concord Teacakes is building a new wholesale baking facility on Domino Drive, since the development project at 50 Beharrell St. has forced them to relocate. Inspections have been performed at Bondir, 24 Walden St. It is expected that construction will be complete in early November.

Animal House

Health Inspector Gabrielle White continues her barn inspections during October, and so far in 2013, the Health Division has issued 109 animal permits, a 30 percent increase in the last two years.

Mill Brook Tarry presentation

The Planning Board heard a presentation by owner/developer James White, who is seeking relief from parking requirements to allow 20 additional seats and 5 additional employees at the Trails End Cafe. The Planning Board is recommending affirmative action on the requested relief to the Board of appeals.

Drop Off/Swap Off success

The semi-annual drop off/recycling day had 851 vehicles at the drop off alone. Along the items collected for recycling and reuse were five 30 yard roll-off containers of scrap metal, five 30-yard roll-off containers of construction and demolition materials; 161 bags of expanded polystyrene, one 30-yard roll-off container of carpeting, two truckloads of household items, 10 containers of rags, a truckload of childrens items, 35 propane tanks, 77 bikes, one truckload of reusable building materials, and half a large trailer of electronics. The spring event is May 10, 2014.

Interim Police Chief begins job on Monday

Town Manager Chris Whelan has appointed William Chase as Interim Police Chief. Chase starts on Monday, Oct. 21. He is a former chief from Westwood and Harvard.

Beer and Wine now at Crosby’s

After a prolonged effort, Jim Crosby of Crosby’s Market has finally obtained a permit to sell beer and wine. Large signs announce the addition of the spirits section along Sudbury Road at the entrance to Crosby’s Marketplace Plaza. For several years, Crosby was blocked by the limited number of town-backed permits to sell beer and wine, and by the other permitted retail establishments. Reaction from townspeople has been mixed, ranging from the positive: finally a place to buy wine and beer along with food for a party; to more negative: it’s too near the entrance and so encourages shoppers that may have alcohol problems.

Concord Conserves Campaign

On Oct. 7, the Town launched the Concord Conserves Campaign, a municipal workplace energy conservation campaign designed to make it easy for Concord employees to adopt energy saving practices in the workplace. The campaign was planned by a group of Concord employees representing each of the municipal buildings in town. These volunteer Energy Coaches are available to help their co- workers incorporate a variety of energy saving practices into their daily work lives.

The Concord Conserves Campaign aims to reduce workplace energy use 3 percent to 5 percent, helping to move the Town closer to achieving its goal of a 20 percent reduction in energy used in municipal facilities by July 1, 2015, compared to 2008 levels. The Campaign is also a part of the Energy Reduction Plan that the Town plans to submit to the state Department of Energy Resources in furtherance of its application to become a Green Community.

West Concord Shopping Plaza

Building permits were issued last week to allow changes to the front doors and windows of the West Concord Shopping Plaza at 1200 Main Street. The proposed changes include adding three cupolas as well as extending the overhang on the building so that the water coming off of the roof no longer drips onto the middle of the sidewalk. You will see scaffolding, but the businesses are open.

New housing to be discussed

The Concord Housing Development Corporation will attend the West Concord Advisory Committee's meeting in November to present options for development of up to six acres of a 12-acre parcel parallel to Commonwealth Avenue, to the south of MCI-Concord, adjacent to the Assabet River and Nashoba Brook, and in walking distance of West Concord VIllage. The property's main access point will be at the end of Winthrop Street with a second entrance on Commonwealth. MCI-Concord transferred the now-open land to the town, which then transferred it to the CHDC in March for the primary purpose of building affordable housing there, with open space allowed as a secondary use. The CHDC has solicited bids and received 12 viable projects proposing a mix of owner-owned and rental properties ranging from 36 to 130-plus units. The purpose of the presentation to the WCAC is to get feedback from neighbors, abutters, and townspeople in order to determine which of those proposals should be short-listed. The CHDC would then make a recommendation to the Board of Selectmen about which proposal to choose. The meeting will take place at 7 p.m. in the Thoreau School Auditorium, 29 Prairie St., on Wednesday, Nov. 13.

Special Town Meeting includes buses and bottles

There will be a special Town Meeting on Dec. 4 with a question to buy land for parking servicing school buses and another to repeal the ban on the sale of single-serve plastic water bottles that was approved at the spring Town Meeting. Petitioner Michael Benn added the bottle article to the warrant before it closed, and got the required signatures.

The land article is a bid to purchase the so-called Grace property (formerly the W. R. Grace Company) on Knox Trail in Acton. Knox Trail is off Main Street just past the skating rink heading west.

The article proposes that the town spend $700,000 for 6.5 acres of land on the short street iin Acton. The land would be split between the town and the School Committee. The property abuts 80 acres of land in Concord owned by the Grace Corporation that the town voted to buy in 2012. Parking and maintaining the school buses has been the subject of intense debate in town since the old bus garage was torn down to make way for the new high school. The buses are currently in lots in Billerica. There was a petition article that passed the spring Town Meeting to relocate the buses on the high school property, but the School Committee worked to identify other sites that would be in Concord but not at the school. Also at Town Meeting, there was a push to locate the buses at the former town dump on Walden Street across Route 2, but it failed.

Concord Festival of Authors

From Oct. 18 to Nov. 2, take in at least one or two events at the authors festival. Visit to sign up and check the schedule. Rob Mitchell, a local resident and book aficionado, plans the annual event all year, bringing some of the most prominent writers from the around the country to Concord for lectures and seminars and receptions, all including book signings. Venues for the events are all over town.

Open space tops CPC applications

The Community Preservation Committee received nine applications for funding at the 2014 spring Town Meeting. They involve mainly Open Space and Recreation projects including the acquisition of the Rappoli land; restoration of the Rogers land; further work on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail; finishing work on the natural playscape at Ripley and renovating the new high school’s playing fields.

Art Association

The Concord Art Association, 37 Lexington Rd., is presenting “Poetic interpretations of animals, dreamed and dreaming, featuring seven artists in a variety of mediums and styles from Oct. 19 to Nov. 24. Artists: Beth Galston, Jenny Lawton Grassl, Steve Hollinger, Anne Oldach, Elizabeth Awalt, Susan Heideman, and Tamara Krendal. Curated by Tamara Krendel. Opening Reception Saturday, Oct. 19, 6-8pm Live jazz and refreshments.

FrameAbles features impressionist

Gallery 111, at FrameAbles on Thoreau Street, features the impressionist artist Kate Tortland during October. Tortland started painting at the age of 14 in Ireland.

Side Show is the main event

The Emerson Umbrella at 40 Stow St. is showing “Side Show,” a musical by Bill Russell with music by Henry Krieger from Oct. 23 to Nov. 10. It is based on the lives of Daily and Violet Hilton, a circus act of conjoined twins who became famous stage performers in the 1930s. Free admission for those who want to usher. Call 978 371 0820 for details and tickets. Tickets are $30 per person with discounts for groups of 10 or more. Directed by Brian Boruta.

Art Association

Oil painter Susanne Meterko exhibits work on New England’s changing landsca[e from Nov. 1 to 24. Opening reception is Monday, Nov. 9 at the association, 37 Lexington Road.

Les Miz

The Concord Players at 51 Walden St. present Victor Hugo’s “Les Miserables” on weekends from Nov. 8 to 23. Celia Couture will direct. Join the Players as it embarks on its 94th season. Tickets are $25. Visit for information.

Christmas Fair

Holy Family Parish is holding a Christmas Fair on Saturday, Nov. 2 at Monument Hall from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monument Hall is in Monument Square in Concord center.

Trinity Fair

On Saturday, Nov. 9, Trinity Episcopal Church holds its annual “Fayre” at 81 Elm St. Donate $2 admission and get a free cup of coffee.

Betsy Levinson can be reached at

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