TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury selectboard met last Tuesday, June 2, via Webex teleconference to discuss Town Meeting warrant articles and coronavirus developments.
The board reviewed an application from the Tewksbury Country Club for an alteration of premises liquor license. Owner Marc Ginsburg joined the virtual meeting to explain his proposal.
Ginsburg recently closed the Tew-Mac Tavern restaurant at the Tewksbury Country Club to convert it into a new event space. He will be building a 2,000 square foot addition to the existing pro shop for a new restaurant and bar, and plans to expand additional patio areas.
The liquor license alteration will seek to expand the area the license currently covers to include the new restaurant. The new coverage includes a small portion of the parking lot, which Ginsburg explained he anticipates using for tented events that need expanded space (the license expansion will preclude the TCC from having to apply for a one-day liquor license for each event).
The board unanimously voted to approve the alteration.
Assistant Town Manager Steve Sadwick gave the board a brief overview of the governor’s business reopening plan. Businesses can find information on reopening requirements and guidance on the state website. Businesses will need to self-certify (meaning the town will not be checking that businesses are compliant with protocols and best practices); however, if complaints are received by the town, the health department will work with businesses to enforce reopening protocols.
Sadwick mentioned that any businesses with questions about reopening should contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sadwick also gave the board an update on the governor’s recent executive order and new sector-specific guidance for retail and outdoor seating and temporary liquor licenses (available to be approved at the local level); the order is set to expire Nov. 1, 2020, or whenever the order is listed.
Despite this constraint, “so far, [every business] has been very grateful that they’re going to be able to get at least some tables up and running in the near future,” he said.
In order to expedite the process, the board voted to give Town Manager Richard Montuori authority to approve the temporary liquor license applications (rather than forcing businesses to wait for a selectboard meeting).
Montuori also noted that if there are issues with businesses regarding noise complaints from abutters, he can move swiftly to revoke the approval.
The board reviewed the warrant articles for the 2020 annual Town Meeting. Sadwick reviewed the long-awaited changes to the town’s zoning bylaw, Article 27, and explained how new changes will provide more consistency and cohesion with state guidelines.
“There was a lot of redundancy and unnecessary provisions that were in the zoning bylaw,” he said.
Major changes to the bylaw include provisions for handling marijuana establishments, compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990, and a 15 percent affordable housing mandate for multifamily developments. Additionally, design standards have been reorganized.
“I believe that this effort will benefit the town for years to come,” he said.
The board voted 3-2 to recommend adoption, with Anne Marie Stronach and Jay Kelly dissenting.
Sadwick then moved to Article 28, which is essentially taken jointly with Article 27 if it is approved at Town Meeting.
Article 28 references the updated zoning map to reflect the changes in Article 27.
“If Article 27 passes, you have to update the map, and that’s Article 28,” explained board chair Kelly.
Member Mark Kratman reminded viewers that the board’s vote is only a recommendation — the articles still have to go to the public at Town Meeting for final approval.
The board praised the three years of work put in by the zoning bylaw committee to update the document.
“I’m supporting Article 28 because it’s in congruence with Article 27... I think there’s a lot of goodness here,” said board member Jayne Wellman.
The board again voted 3-2 to recommend adoption, with Stronach and Kelly dissenting.
The board then reviewed the entire warrant. The board voted to recommend adoption for Articles 1 through 20, and made no recommendation on Articles 21 and 22.
On the special Town Meeting warrant, the board recommended adoption for all six articles. Residents have been mailed the 2020 warrant, and can also find it online at tewksbury-ma.gov.
Town meeting will take place on June 22 at Tewksbury Memorial High School. There will be 232 socially distanced seats available in the gym, and overflow will be directed to the auditorium and large group instruction room with audio and video.
The town election is scheduled for June 16, 2020.
COVID-19 is a valid reason to request an absentee ballot, and information can be found on the town website.
The next meeting is scheduled for June 16, 2020. Residents wishing to comment may find the call-in number on their screen and on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.