Snow Emergency Lifted at Noon, Monday; Remember To Clear Your Walk

Photo: Now comes the shoveling

The Belmont Snow Emergency Parking Ban was lifted effective noon, Monday, March 4.

Below is a reminder from Belmont’s Office of Community Development:

“The town’s residential snow removal bylaw requires sidewalks along residential property to be cleared of snow and ice by 8 p.m. the day after a storm ends. With regards to today’s storm, snow and ice should be cleared or treated from sidewalks to a width of at least 36 inches by 8 p.m., Tuesday, March 5.”

“We appreciate your attention to this very important public safety matter. Please refer to the Town’s web site for further information regarding winter weather and the Town’s snow removal bylaw.”

If you have any questions, contact the Town of Belmont’s Office of Community Development at 617-993-2650 during normal business hours.

Don’t Be Like Kerry: Belmont Sidewalks Must be Cleared by 8 PM

After last week’s blizzard, Secretary of State John Kerry was fined $50 for failing to clear snow from the sidewalk on the side of his Beacon Hill home in Boston. And Boston Code Enforcement officers didn’t give the former Massachusetts senator a pass just because he was in Saudi Arabia during the storm. (He did “happily” pay the fine.)

And Belmont is about to follow Boston’s lead as town officials are putting out the message that residents have until tonight to clear their sidewalks. 

“The sidewalk snow removal bylaw grace period ends at 8 p.m. [Wednesday, Feb. 4]. Sidewalks MUST be cleared of snow in accordance with the bylaw…” said a message sent from the town’s web site. 

Belmont’s General Bylaws (Section 60-800I) require sidewalks to be cleared on paved public sidewalks adjacent to residential property and made safe for pedestrians by being clear of snow, slush and ice adjacent to their property to ensure safe pedestrian passage.

For enforcement information, residents call the Office of Community Development at 617-993-2664. Someone will then come by for a look see.

The snow removal bylaw was passed by a Special Town Meeting in November 2013. It is set to be expire on April, 30, 2016 unless reintroduced and approved at the 2016 Town Meeting. 

In Brief: Belmont Town Meeting, Day 3: Regulations on the Side, Please

On the final night of debating and voting on the non-budgetary articles before the 155th edition of the Belmont Town Meeting, it was clear that Belmont’s Town Meeting members believe that when times call for them, as one attendee stated, “there are times for rules and regulations on who we all behave.”

With overwhelming support, Town Meeting disapproved of an attempt to remove the town’s new Residential Snow Removal bylaw, supported a new and improved set of regulations on how many yard sales a resident can have in a year (that would be three) and approved – with a wink and a nod – the Planning Board’s set of regulations on where (and that would not be many places) a medical marijuana dispensary can be placed.

Town Meeting will resume with the town, school and capital budgets on June 2 at the Chenery Middle School at 7 p.m.

In brief:

• Resident Eric Anderson’s citizen’s petition to strike the snow removal bylaw – mandating home and property owners shovel the sidewalks adjacent to their homes 36 hours after a declared snow “event” or be subject to fines – as unworkable and unjust did not garner the libertarian support one would suspect as many members rose to state they are now able to walk on the sidewalk rather than the street after storms and that a small amount of regulations make for good neighbors. Others stated that the law will sunset in two years, a good time frame to see if the bylaw actually works.

• In his second go around to pass a yard sale bylaw – it was defeated at the special Town Meeting in November of last year – Stephen Ganak of Hurley Street won overwhelming support on a simplified permit application (done online through the Town Clerk’s office at no cost) that will limit a resident to only three sales in a calendar year. Some members believed it was an overreach to ask every resident to acquire a permit in an effort to halt a few “outliers” (Ganak’s own word) who spoil it for everyone. But most members stated the requirements wasn’t that much of a burden and vote “yes” for the measure. 

• The Planning Board’s creation of three areas – in two locations on South Pleasant Street (including the Shaw’s parking lot), next to the Loading Dock convenance store on Brighton, and at the Uplands property off of Route 2  – where a medical marijuana dispensary can be located was seen by several members as locations where, as Town Meeting member Julie Crockett of Precinct 5 observed, that a retail facility is “possible but not plausible.” For example, while the town points to the Uplands property (that borders Cambridge on the Alewife Reservation) as a site where it is permitted, the town’s Chief Planning Coordinator, Jeffrey Wheeler, admitted the entire site is slated for development. In addition, the one parcel next to Shaw’s would be in violation of state codes that prohibits a dispensary to be located adjacent to a pharmacy.

But Planning Board members and town counsel George Hall said the intention of of the Planning Board was to place reasonable regulations on the location of dispensaries – being 300 feet from residential areas and schools, for example – to protect residents. Belmont has such limited open space or commercial land that the four parcels are the only places the facilities can be placed.

Belmont Town Meeting, Night 3: Shelving Shoveling Petition Being Considered

Three is the magic number as the 155th annual Belmont Town Meeting will likely finish the non-budgetary section of the annual gathering of the town’s legislative body with a trio of articles representing the diverse subjects of medical marijuana, shoveling snow off of sidewalks and just how many yard sales a resident can hold a year.

And the members could be debating and voting on just two of the articles as the resident who is petitioning to have the four month-old bylaw requiring homeowners to shovel adjacent sidewalks shelved is asking that his article be “tabled” until the anticipated special Town Meeting in the fall.

The 2014 edition of the yearly meeting will resume tonight, Monday, May 12, at  at 7 p.m., at Belmont High School’s auditorium.

Members are asked to be in the auditorium before 7 p.m. so the meeting can start on time.

A copy of the warrant which contains the articles can be found here on the Town Clerk’s web page.

Tonight’s meeting will be broadcasted live by the Belmont Media Center.

First up on the agenda will be the petition by Pleasant Street resident Eric Anderson who is seeking to strike from the town’s bylaws the recently-enacted Residential Snow Removal bylaw approved by the November 2013 special Town Meeting and OK’d by the state’s Attorney General in February.

But according to Anderson and Precinct 4’s Joe White who will present the article tonight – Anderson is not a Town Meeting member – after the petition is set before Town Meeting, a motion will be made by White to “table” the measure until a special Town Meeting that is expected this fall.

White told The Belmontonian this past Wednesday, May 7, he and others have spoken to Anderson to delay the article so that Town Counsel George Hall can address a series of questions on liability issues and other concerns of residents being required to shovel what is essentially town-owned property, the sidewalks.

“We can wait [until a special Town Meeting] so we can get a reading on the law,” said White, adding that “it probably won’t snow until [the meeting].”

Also up for debate will be a citizen’s petition from Stephen Ganak of Hurley Street who would like to restrict the number of yard sales to three a year with a requirement to obtain a free permit from the Town Clerk. At last November’s special Town Meeting, it was initially thought that Ganak’s initial sales petition had been passed by the members only to discover that a calculation mistake saw the measure fail by a handful of votes. This time around, Ganak has simplified the wording with a hope that this effort will pass member muster.

Finally, members will vote on the creation of a medical marijuana overlay district. By using restrictions that the state has allowed – such as buffers  that force facilities to keep a distance from schools, residential areas – a Belmont marijuana dispensary will be restricted to far off locations. The members will also discuss

If the members do conclude their business tonight, the meeting will be adjourn to meet again for budget items including the town and school budget as well as capital budget expenditures on Monday, June 2 at 7 p.m. at the Chenery Middle School Auditorium.

Belmont Town Meeting Resumes at 7 PM

After an opening session that was a two dog (article) night, the 2014 annual Belmont Town Meeting will resume at 7 p.m., Wednesday, May 7, with the remaining non-budgetary articles with a real chance of finishing the May portion of the yearly assemblage of the town’s legislative body.

The approximately 300 representatives who will gather at Belmont High School’s auditorium are tackling a number of new issues and others returning to Town Meeting for subsequent votes.

Representatives are asked to be in the auditorium before 7 p.m. so the meeting can start on time.

A copy of the warrant which contains the articles can be found here on the Town Clerk’s web page.

Tonight’s meeting will be broadcasted live by the Belmont Media Center.

First up for debate and a vote tonight will be the two articles concerning the funding of the proposed new Underwood Pools complex scheduled to replace in June, 2015 the 102-year-old swimming “pond” adjacent to the Belmont Public Library at the corner of Concord Avenue.

Reps will vote on a $2 million grant from the town’s Community Preservation Committee as well as allowing the town to borrow $2.9 million the town’s voters approved by 62 percent on Town Election on April 1.

Next will be the remaining six CPA grants including a first-time homebuyer’s program that could come under some questioning as the Warrant Committee overwhelmingly voted against the funding. 

Back for a second try is a proposed bylaw regulating yard sales to three a year. The citizen’s petition was defeated in the Special Town Meeting in November. 

A second citizen’s petition will attempt to kill a bylaw that passed in November: the new residential snow removal bylaw that has been enforced for just one snow “event” this year.

The last article on tonight’s agenda will be where residents will have to travel to get their medical marijuana with the creation of an overlay district.