Town Meeting 101

Town Meeting Banner 2016 IMG_9913

You do not need to bring anything to Town Meeting. However, many people find that bringing a notebook and pen or pencil is helpful to make notes during the discussions. No food or drink is allowed in the Middle School Auditorium. There is a drinking fountain outside the auditorium. Many people also find that something to occupy one’s hands is helpful. If you are a knitter, for example, bring a small project. There are plenty of padded stationary folding auditorium style chairs, which are reasonably comfortable. But remember you’ll be there for a long time, so wear comfortable clothes.

Town Meeting begins at 7:00pm in the Middle School Auditorium. Enter by Grove Street and please allow time to park and walk to the building. As you enter the Middle School, head to the left to the cafeteria to sign in. To actually vote in the auditorium, you must be a Hopkinton resident registered to vote and you must sign in at the voter table. Your name will be checked off and you’ll be given a piece of paper. Hold on to this piece of paper; you will need it when it is time for the votes to be counted! You’ll see a table of handouts and fact sheets regarding all the proposed article to be voted on from both the town boards and committees. There is some terrific information here that may answer many of your questions. Listening devices for the hearing impaired will be available, please ask when you check in.

You do not have to be present for the entire town meeting to vote, though the more that participate in whole, the more balanced the democratic process. A quorum of 100 people is required to open the meeting. There is no set time to check in. The meeting will be broadcast live via HCAM TV (Comcast 8/Verizon 30/Streaming live at hcam.tv/live), but you MUST be present to vote. You just need to check in prior to the vote, whenever you arrive. You only have to check in once, and you can come and go from the auditorium as you please. You can text (with phone switched to silent mode) from within the auditorium, although there is minimal cell coverage. Step outside to make a phone call.

The Board of Selectmen (Ben Palleiko, Chair) presides over the meeting, which is facilitated by the Town Moderator (Dr. Bruce Karlin) and recorded by the Town Clerk (Brenda McCann). The format of the meeting itself follows Robert’s Rules of Order. Articles are presented, motions made, discussions ensue. Sometimes it can be a little confusing if an amendment comes up, so keep your ears open. Listen carefully — and you’ll learn a lot. There are 52 articles on the warrant (agenda) for Hopkinton’s Annual Town Meeting.

The committee or board presenting each article may make a brief presentation before each article. The Town Moderator, Dr. Karlin, will facilitate a question and answer period for registered residents. If you choose to ask a question or comment on an article, step up to one of the microphones located in the auditorium aisles. Wait for the moderator, to recognize you, then state your name and address, and keep your comments brief, civil, and to the point. The comment, question and answer period will end when either #1 the moderator sees that no one else is waiting at the microphone to speak or #2 a voter comes to the microphone, is recognized by the moderator, and says “I move the question” or “I call the question.” The motion to end debate must then be seconded and then adopted by a ⅔ vote.

As for the actual voting, most votes start as a voice vote. The moderator asks all in favor and all opposed. If the voice vote sounds close, it will go to a standing count. The moderator will ask all in favor to stand up. Now is the time to get out that piece of paper! Hold out your paper and remain standing until the counters for your section have indicated that your vote has been recorded.

Although you can leave at any time, we recommend you do NOT leave until the meeting is officially adjourned. Someone may ask for a recount, and if a large group has already left, the outcome could be different, especially if the original vote was close. If you have any other questions about Town Meeting, please ask!

Planning Board Announces Two Vacancies

Town Hall March 2016

The Planning Board currently has two vacancies and the Town is seeking candidates for these positions. The terms of office will expire at the May, 2017 election.

The Planning Board is an elected board, whose members serve five year terms. The establishment of municipal Planning Boards is authorized by Mass. General Law, Chapter 41, Section 81A. Among its many diverse roles, the Board is charged with the following duties, which are contained in the General Laws and the Hopkinton Zoning and General Bylaws:

  • Adopting a Master Plan for the Town;
  • Serving as the local authority for the Subdivision Control Law; adopting Rules and Regulations governing the subdivision of land in Hopkinton; reviewing all preliminary and definitive subdivision plan submittals, and endorsing approval-not-required plans;
  • Drafting and submitting zoning amendments for consideration by the Town;
  • Serving as a Special Permit Granting Authority;
  • Reviewing and proposing the acceptance of streets as public ways, with recommendation to the Town Meeting;
  • Serving as Site Plan Review authority for non-residential Site Plans;
  • Issuing permits to remove trees and stone walls within street rights of way on designated scenic roads; recommends roads for scenic road designation by Town Meeting.

Interested parties must be a registered voter in the Town of Hopkinton and should apply by Tuesday, May 17, 2016. 

To apply, please visit the Town’s website and apply through the online volunteer form here: http://www.hopkintonma.gov/home/about/hug. Residents may also apply by submitting a letter of interest to: Maria Glynn, Executive Assistant, Town Manager’s Office, 18 Main St. Hopkinton, MA 01748.

For further information about the duties of the Planning Board, please contact Jennifer Burke, Principal Planner, at 508-497-9745.

Contested Races Candidates Debate on HCAM 5/10

ballot-header-2016-nonamesyet

Candidates from 6 contested races in the Hopkinton Town Election will be asked questions for debate. The debate will air live on HCAM (Comcast Channel 8, Verizon Channel 30) or feel free to join the studio audience. The event will be Tuesday May 10 at 7:00-9:00pm.

Panelists Include: Tom Nappi (HCAM News), Michelle Murdock (Hopkinton Independent), Amy Ritterbusch (eHop)

Candiates Include: Board of Selectmen, Town Moderator, Constable, Board of Health, Parks & Recreation, Town Clerk

4th Annual “Know Your Vote” 4/25 at 6:30pm on HCAM

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In preparation for Annual Town Meeting, eHop (educate • engage • empower | Hopkinton) will be hosting its 4th Annual “Know Your Vote” live interactive call-in show on Monday, April 25 at 6:30-8:00 pm on HCAM-TV (Comcast 8/Verizon 30/Streaming Live at hcam.tv/live). This is your chance to get the answers you need from town officials before Town Meeting. Submit your questions in advance to knowyourvote@eHop01748.org or or ask your questions during the show by calling the studio at 508-625-1640 by using the hashtag #ehop on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram. You may also attend in person at HCAM Studios, 77 Main St, Lower Level.

Panelists from various town committees will be available at the forum to answer your questions about any of the Town Meeting articles. Panelists include: Town Moderator Bruce Karlin, Town Manager Norman Khumalo, Superintendent of Schools Cathy MacLeod, Selectmen Chair Ben Palleiko, School Committee Chair Ellen Scordino and Planning Board Chair Ken Weismantel. Continue reading 4th Annual “Know Your Vote” 4/25 at 6:30pm on HCAM

List of Articles for Town Meeting 2016

Town Meeting May 2, 2016

eHop will provide more details and links next weekend prior to Town Meeting, but for now here are the key documents and the list of articles.

REPORTS:

  1. Acceptance of Town Reports

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2016:

  1. FY 2016 Supplemental Appropriations
  2. FY 2016 Budget Transfers
  3. Unpaid Bills from Previous Fiscal Years

FINANCIAL – FISCAL YEAR 2017:

  1. Property Tax Exemption Increase
  2. Personal Property Tax Bill Threshold
  3. Set the Salary of Elected Officials
  4. Fiscal 2017 Operating Budget $70,846,691, which is a +3% Tax Impact (net of new growth)
  5. FY 2017 Revolving Funds
  6. Chapter 90 Highway Funds
  7. Transfer to General Stabilization Fund
  8. Other Post Employment Benefits Liability Trust Fund $612,647

CAPITAL EXPENSES AND PROJECTS:

  1. Pay-As-You-Go Capital Expenses
    • Highway F-350 Pickup $60,000
    • Fire Apparatus/Vehicles $46,394
    • IT Equipment Replacement $100,000
    • Replacement of Police Cruisers $74,000
    • Systemwide School Security Upgrades (FY17 Upgrade intrusion alarm systems at Elmwood and High School) $100,000
    • Hopkins School Boiler Replacement (Replace boiler #2 at Hopkins – town received insurance proceeds $42,088 in FY16) $55,000
    • Middle School Water Heater Replacement (Replace water heater installed in 1996) $33,000
    • High School Athletic Center Scoreboard Replacement $25,000
    • Systemwide School Technology Upgrades (FY17 New student information system & wiring upgrades) $100,000
    • Replacement of Tractor $81,000
    • Middle School and High School Bleacher Upgrades and Repairs $85,000
  2. Weed Control at Lake Maspenock $60,000
  3. Sidewalk Master Plan Phase II
  4. Transfer Funds to Purchase Fire Vehicle and Equipment
  5. Transfer Funds to Purchase Fire Vehicle
  6. Transfer Funds to Reequip/Reconfigure Fire Vehicle and Equipment
  7. Purchase of Dump Truck $200,000
  8. Grove Street Water Tank Replacement $1,530,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  9. Water Main Replacement – Hayden Rowe Street $260,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  10. Water Source of Supply $1,000,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  11. Biological Filtration Wells #4 & #5 $50,000 from DPW Water Enterprise Fund
  12. Middle School Auditorium Upgrades (Install air conditioning, repaint stage floor, replace curtains, stage rigging, control console, & light board) $167,000
  13. School Bus Parking Lot (Construct gravel parking lot for buses at the proposed new elementary school – results in estimated annual positive imnpact of $111K ) $320,000
  14. School Building & Grounds Storage Facility – Design & Feasibility $25,000
  15. Artificial Turf Field with Lights – Design & Feasibility $100,000
  16. Signage for Historical Sites
  17. Transfer Funds for New Capital Projects
  18. Cemetery Roadway Opening

COMMUNITY PRESERVATION FUNDS:

  1. Community Preservation Recommendations – CPC Project Narratives:
    1. $20,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to preserve Town records
    2. $2,500 from funds reserved for Open Space for Boundary Markers/Medallions to be acquired and installed on Town owned parcels
    3. $50,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to improve the public trail and create a dog park on 192 Hayden Rowe Street (Hughes Property)
    4. $50,000 from funds reserved for Open Space to acquire approximately 6 acres of land located at 0 East Main Street and shown as parcel U12-23-0 on the Assessors Map
    5. $60,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to rehab and restore the McFarland Sanger House
    6. $75,000 from funds reserved for Historic Preservation to rehab and restore the Rte 85 Stone Bridge
    7. $25,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to construct a recreational path from Rte 85 to the Stone Bridge
    8. $10,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install fencing around the Claflin Fountain
    9. $50,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install protective netting at the Fruit Street Athletic Complex
    10. $20,000 from Budgeted Reserve Funds to install a boat dock at Sandy Beach

ZONING BYLAW AMENDMENTS:

  1. Amend Open Space Mixed Use Development Overlay District Site Plan Review and OSLPD Bylaws draft 2-2-16
  2. Amend Garden Apartments in Residential Districts and Village Housing in Residential Districts Bylaws Garden Apartments and Village Housing bylaws draft 2-2-16
  3. Repeal Senior Housing Development Bylaw Senior Housing Development Bylaw draft 2-2-16
  4. Amend Site Plan Review and Open Space and Landscape Preservation Development Bylaws
  5. Amend Sign Bylaw Sign Bylaw draft 2-2-16Document depicting proposed changes to Sign Bylaw 2-2-16
  6. Amend Hotel Overlay District Hotel Overlay District draft 2-2-16
  7. Elmwood Park Business District Elmwood Park Business District draft 2-2-16Proposed Elmwood Park Business District Map
  8. Dog Day Care Dog Day Care Facilities draft 2-2-16
  9. Animal Shelters Animal Shelters draft 2-2-16

GENERAL BYLAW AMENDMENTS:

  1. Repeal Sex Offender Residency Requirement

LAND ACQUISITIONS AND DISPOSITIONS:

  1. Acquisition of Easement – 91 West Main Street
  2. Acquisition of Easement – Leonard Street
  3. Gift of Land – Connelly Hill Estates
  4. Gift of land – Hilltop Road
  5. Gift of land – Legacy Farms Recreation Parcel
  6. Street Acceptance
    • Connelly Hill Road, from Smith Road to Bowker Road
    • Valleywood Road, from Erika Drive to dead end
    • Carol Ann Drive, from West Elm Street to dead end
    • Kerry Lane, from Eastview Road to dead end
    • Nancy Lane, from Teresa Road to dead end
  7. Street Discontinuance
    • Frankland Road from its intersection with East Main Street to its intersection with Legacy Farms Road
  8. Disposition of Property

ADMINISTRATIVE:

  1. Solar Tax Agreements
  2. Town Clerk
  3. Trustees of the School Trust Fund in the Town of Hopkinton

Community Preservation Committee (CPC) – Did You Know?

Article 31f - CPC - Route 85 Stone Bridge Historic Preservation
Article 31f – CPC – Route 85 Stone Bridge Historic Preservation

In 2001, the citizens of Hopkinton voted to adopt the Community Preservation Act (CPA) and thereby approved a 2% surcharge to the annual real property tax. Revenue from this surcharge is dedicated for the preservation of open space, historic sites, affordable housing and passive/active outdoor recreation. Local revenue is supplemented through a state Community Preservation Trust Fund (state revenue raised through fees charged at Massachusetts Registries of Deeds). The percentage of state disbursements changes from year to year based on the amount in the Community Preservation Trust Fund.

Under the provisions of the CPA, Hopkinton established a Community Preservation Committee (CPC) in 2001. The Community Preservation Committee shall make recommendations to Town Meeting for the acquisition, creation, and preservation of open space; for the acquisition and preservation of historic resources; for the acquisition creation, and preservation of land for recreational use; for the creation, preservation, and support of community housing; and for rehabilitation or restoration of such open space, historic resources, land for recreational use and community housing that is acquired or created using Community Preservation Committee funds. The CPC has nine members including designees from the Planning Board, Open Space Preservation Committee, Conservation Commission, Historical Commission, Parks and Recreation Commission, the Housing Authority and four At-Large members appointed by the Hopkinton Board of Selectmen. Visit the committee’s website for a list of recent CPC projects.

For more info:

Hopkinton LNG Dispersion Report “Worst Case Scenario” for Emergency Planning Purposes

LNG Worst Case Scenario Map

The following documents are available regarding the recent news reports about Worst Case Scenarios at the Hopkinton LNG storage facility for emergency planning purposes.

From Hopkinton Town Hall:

From Legacy Farms:

News Article:

Hopkinton: ‘Worst-case’ scenario at LNG tanks explored by Jonathan Phelps, MetroWest Daily News