Dog control, affordable housing top Pelham Town Meeting warrant

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Staff Writer
Published: 10/21/2021 11:28:20 AM

PELHAM — Strategies to better control dogs being walked on public ways and in conservation areas, and municipal funding to support Pelham’s first affordable housing project, will be decided by voters at fall Town Meeting Saturday.

A reading of the four-article warrant begins at 9 a.m. at the historic Old Town Hall, at the corner of Route 202 and Amherst Road, where meetings have been held at least once a year since the building’s construction in 1743. The building is the oldest continuously used meetinghouse in the country.

Action on the warrant, though, won’t commence until about 30 minutes later when Town Meeting reconvenes on the field next to the Pelham Elementary School, 45 Amherst Road.

The Conservation Commission, following two community meetings over the summer, is proposing methods of dealing with loose and aggressive dogs that have been reported in the Buffam Falls Conservation Area, on Meetinghouse Road and at the Buffam Brook Community Forest.

One recommendation is to amend the Pelham code to require all dog owners to keep their dogs under control at all times, and on a leash when on town ways, and that the owner of any dog for which there has been a formal complaint must keep the dog under leash control.

Also as part of the code, owners can be subject to a written warning for the first offense related to a dog’s actions, a $50 fine for a second offense and $100 for a third offense.

To make sure these fines are enforced, $15,000 is being added to the town budget to hire a part-time animal patrol officer, under the jurisdiction of the public safety departments.

The commission previously mandated that dogs be on a leash when walked in the Buffam Falls Conservation Area, where the most heavily used trails are.

The largest spending proposed is to use $250,000 in Community Preservation Act money to support Home City Development, Inc., of Springfield, with building Amethyst Brook Apartments at 20-22 Amherst Road.

In August, Home City received a comprehensive permit under the state’s Chapter 40B law from the town's Zoning Board of Appeals for the project. Home City could break ground in 2023, though the timeline is dependent on an application process for necessary funding from the state.

The last article asks for $5,000 so Pelham can join the Pioneer Valley Mosquito Control District.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.


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