Chesterfield to vote on cannabis bylaw, police training at special Town Meeting on Thursday

  • Spectators gathered on the Town Hall lawn look on during the 71st annual Chesterfield Parade, July 4, 2018, as Ed Roberts drives by in his 1932 Ford Coupe. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Published: 3/29/2023 2:49:56 PM
Modified: 3/29/2023 2:49:43 PM

CHESTERFIELD — A cannabis bylaw and money to put two of the town’s police officers through required training are among the items voters will be asked to approve Thursday evening at a special Town Meeting.

After more than two years of work, the Planning Board is ready to present its proposed cannabis bylaw for voters’ consideration, Town Administrator Brenda Lessard said. The bylaw is designed to regulate where cannabis businesses are sited and how they’re developed.

Lessard said the board has consulted with the Pioneer Valley Planning Commission and the town attorney, and has reviewed other towns’ bylaws in developing the document.

Lessard said work on the bylaw was spurred by Ember Gardens’ bid to build a marijuana growing operation on a 10-acre site off Willcutt Road in 2021. The company abandoned the effort in the face of substantial public resistance.

Work on the bylaw included a survey of residents’ opinions.

Other items

Also on the agenda for Thursday’s meeting is a request for voters to approve the transfer of $15,650 from free cash to cover the expense of sending two part-time police officers to the Bridge Academy for training.

The deadline for registration originally was July 1, but Lessard said Chief Michael Malouin had learned that the date could be moved up, and the money might be needed before the start of the next fiscal year.

Since the passage of the criminal justice reform act in 2020, all municipal police officers in Massachusetts are required to be certified through the academy. The money requested covers wages, travel, lodging, meals and ammunition during the approximately three weeks of training.

Three other articles are on the special Town Meeting warrant. One seeks approval for the transfer of $19,000 from free cash to cover unanticipated expenses stemming from higher fuel prices and several ice storms.

Another seeks approval for the transfer of $5,000 from free cash to pay for machinery maintenance and repair costs. Voters approved the purchase of a new dump/plow truck at last year’s Town Meeting, Lessard said, but there have been delays in getting it delivered, and the Highway Department has had to use the old truck.

Voters will also be asked to approve payment of $653.13 to the Daily Hampshire Gazette for a legal advertisement from FY22. The bill was overlooked by the Planning Board chair, Lessard said, and cannot be paid without Town Meeting approval, which requires a nine-tenths majority vote.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at the Town Hall, 403 Main Road.

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