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Dedham selectmen support senior center site committee and temporary marijuana moratorium

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  March 29, 2013 08:07 AM

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Dedham’s Special Town Meeting on April 8 will give members the opportunity to overturn one recent decision by voters and delay another.

Article 3 asks members whether they want to rescind a razor thin vote taken at November’s Special Town Meeting to create a committee to study sites for a potential senior center rather than move ahead with a previous plan to build at the town-owned Endicott Estate.

Article 2 would delay implementation of the statewide medicinal marijuana law until June 30, 2014.

Selectmen voted at a meeting Thursday to concur with recommendations of the town’s Finance Committee to preserve the senior center site committee and delay the marijuana law implementation.

“I was pretty up front – I think the Endicott Estate is a great location for the senior center, but there are a number of reasons to indefinitely postpone this,” said selectman Sarah MacDonald on Thursday.

A possible combined municipal facility at Rustcraft Road that could include a senior center brought a new dimension to the discussion, she said. She added that Town Meeting in November had wanted more consideration of different sites in town.

Selectmen are in the process of reviewing the Rustcraft facility, recently acquired by Davis Companies for $21 million, for renovation for municipal use. There is over 200,000 square feet of space, which could be used by police, town hall, public works, council on aging, and other departments, according to a presentation by selectmen earlier in March.

Selectmen chairman Carmen Dello Iacono said Thursday the Rustcraft proposal should be considered separately in case it falls through.

Earlier this month, Article 3 petitioner and Norfolk County Commissioner Francis O’Brien said he did not think he would live to see a senior center at the Rustcraft facility. He advocated moving forward with a proposed plan to build at the Endicott Estate.

Selectmen Paul Reynolds and James MacDonald also expressed support for the Endicott Estate senior center project Thursday, but said that it would be better to keep the committee to explore the Rustcraft project.

Regarding the marijuana law, selectmen agreed to vote in support of the delay after acknowledging the board usually does not take a position on zoning issues.

“I feel pretty strongly on this one,” Sarah MacDonald said.

They did not discuss the issue further.

The law was enacted on Jan. 1 following overwhelming voter support during November’s election, but many towns have put similar temporary moratoriums before Town Meeting voters.

Selectmen also supported an article authorizing $48,900 in energy savings be put toward paying Direct Energy Services.

The Special Town Meeting will take place at 7 p.m. at the Dedham High School Auditorium.

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