Brewster Voters Head To Town Meeting Monday

By: Bronwen Walsh

Topics: Town Meeting

Brewster town seal.

BREWSTER – The town’s first 10-year local comprehensive plan is among 14 articles up for a vote at Monday’s special fall town meeting, where 200 registered voters constitute a quorum.

The town meeting is set to begin at 6 p.m. at Stony Brook Elementary School, 384 Underpass Rd. Article 1 would cover payment of unpaid bills from last year. Article 2 funds capital expenditures by department, including $750,000 for Phase 1 Drummer Boy Park parking, stormwater treatment and pedestrian connectivity improvements, and — Brewster DPW’s top goal — opening the former Cape Cod Sea Camps swimming pool to residents next summer.

Other capital allocations include $250,000 for annual roadwork and another $250,000 to buy a backhoe needed for recycling and snow and ice removal. The police department would buy two new hybrid cruisers. Brewster Fire and Rescue would receive $35,000 toward matching state grants. Natural resources is seeking $40,000 in free cash for fishing permitting at the Stony Brook Mill and $32,000 for alum treatments at Walker’s Pond. The facilities department is asking for $150,000 toward window replacement at town hall, $25,000 for air conditioning in the Crosby Mansion function room, and $17,500 for new mowers at the Sea Camps property.

Recreation is looking for $20,000 to repair and maintain the irrigation system at Freemans ball fields. The Brewster Ladies’ Library is asking for $300,000 in free cash for elevator replacement. The IT department seeks $35,000 to move the town’s assessing software to a cloud-based platform. Assessors are seeking $80,000 for field work needed to estimate growth, as required by the state department of revenue. The water department is looking for $110,000 to paint the exterior of the town’s water tanks and $35,000 toward the Long Pond property acquisition costs. The golf department is seeking $730,000 from enterprise department revenues toward equipment costs.

Article 3, which the community preservation committee supports unanimously, is a $357,200 funding allocation to relocate Brewster School #3 at 2343 Main St. to Drummer Boy Park, restore it as the former Whistle Stop Ramshackle Shop, and install a cranberry history display.

Article 4 would authorize $250,000 plus $14,000 in administrative costs for a conservation restriction on a 4.9-acre Huckleberry Hill parcel abutting Brewster Conservation Trust property that connects to Nickerson State Park Trails.

Article 5 includes language changes to the town’s bylaws, including adopting “Select Board” instead of “Board of Selectmen,” and would require the Community Preservation Committee to establish goals every five years in accordance with the state’s statutory funding formula. For FY 24-27, the committee’s target allocation policy would devote 30 percent of CPC funds to open space, 30 percent to housing, 10 percent to recreation, 10 percent to historic preservation, and 20 percent as recommended by the committee.

Article 6 would reduce the current three-minute public comment rule to 1.5 minutes. Article 7 would continue to require a quorum of 200 registered voters at the start of town meeting, but minimum quorum requirements no longer would be required throughout a session. In Article 8, a two-thirds majority would authorize a motion to reconsider an article previously voted upon at town meeting. Article 9 seeks to establish that a citizen’s petitions would be due at least 45 days prior to town meeting.

The select board voted unanimously last month to approve a local comprehensive plan guiding land use over the next 10 years. Outlined as “building blocks,” the plan’s interrelated goals are set forth by residents who participated in the town’s visioning process over the last two years. The plan addresses important local issues, such as providing housing opportunities for aging citizens and young families, protecting the drinking water supply, preserving the town’s historic and small-town character, improving pond water quality, and supporting local small businesses. Presenting the plan will be Hal Minis, vision planning committee chair, who is set to quell Friends of Wing Island concerns over background mentions of a proposed Wing Island boardwalk.

Just because there’s a group that’s being very vocal right now, we shouldn’t forget that there are lots of other issues in town that people are concerned about,” Minis said. “This is an opportunity for the town to deal with a whole bunch of issues in an integrated, coordinated way.”

Article 11 would authorize Millstone Road improvements, which Town Administrator Peter Lombardi said would require temporary but no permanent construction easements.

Article 12 would finance road repairs to Vesper Pond Drive, a private way.

Article 13 would establish a $200,000 revolving fund needed to open the swimming pool on the Sea Camps property to residents next summer. Of that, $65,000 is directly related to one-time equipment costs, and an estimated $125,000 would cover annual operating costs, depending on pool hours and season length. Article 14 allocates $250,000 in free cash for the Sea Camps swimming pool startup costs.