Earlier this week, I wrote about seven petitions that qualified for placement on the Warrant for the March 25th Annual Town Meeting. Since then, the deadline for submission has passed. In between, four more were successfully filed.
Between now and Town Meeting, petitioners will be invited to public meetings to make their case and answer questions. (Though, organizers can decline participating.) Stay tuned for those agendas.
In the meantime, below are details on the final four. They fall under two general categories.
As I noted in my prior story, according to Town Clerk Jim Hegarty, the Town’s current counsel has stated that every Article at Town Meeting can be amended. But, I do believe there are likely restraints on how far the amended article can stray from the original intent. (The Moderator has exercised his authority in the past to limit amendments to Town Articles based on not having provided sufficient notice to voters.)
Address 5G Safety Concerns
Over five years ago, resident Heidi Davis presented her concerns about the potential safety hazards from 5G antennas. she also warned about the potential for telecom providers to install unsightly, obtrusive “small cell” towers on existing telephone poles, bypassing local zoning authorities.
In response to her presentation, the board encouraged her and Town Administrator Mark Purple to take steps on filling regulation gaps. Individual members also encouraged her to bring concerns to the Planning Board and Board of Health.
In March 2020, the Select Board approved a policy for the installation of 5G (“a small wireless facility”). Now Davis is following up, asking the Town to do more.
One petition asks that the Town update the policy to include “science based setbacks” from homes and schools to protect the public from “Radio Frequency Radiation”:
We recognize and appreciate that on March 10, 2020 The Town Of Southborough Selectboard approved a Small Cell (5G) Equipment policy in an effort to maintain local zoning authority. though the town has instituted said policy, the policy must now be updated to provide science based setbacks from residential homes and schools and include other real property value safeguards for residents.
We hereby request The Selectboard take immediate action to minimize future economic, environmental, safety and social risks by addressing gaps in the Small Cell Policy and updating said policy to add science based setbacks. Setbacks of 1640 feet have been demonstrated to be protective of the biological effects of wireless adiation per New Hampshire Commission’s official review of peer reviewed scientific studies.
Setbacks are the first step in ensuring everyone is protected from Radio Frequency Radiation (RFR)
On the same topic, a second petition asks the Select Board to send a letter to the Federal Communications Commission update exposure guidelines and to state and federal officials and agencies asking them to take actions to address regulation gaps.
St Mark’s Road Project
I have written extensively about issues around the St. Mark’s Street and Park project, including questions and accusations about the actions of Town officials.
David Parry has made public accusations, including on this blog, of corruption by the Town DPW Superintendent and Town Administrator. Now he is following through with two related petitions.
Arguing that the project “lacks legitimate public purpose” one petition seeks “to cease all work by the Town on St. Marks Road Project”.
Another petition asks Town Meeting to ask either the Select Board or Advisory Committee to:
write a letter to the State Inspector General (IG) informing the IG that Southborough Town Meeting voted to request a forensic investigation of the two Town Departments which managed the St Marks Road Project These two Departments are the Department of the Town Administrator (DTA), and the Department of Public Works (DPW). Together they were responsible for the Project’s planning, financing and management. Town Meeting has voted to reject the Project and believes that a thorough investigation of the Project is needed, to clarify how it was managed and who was responsible.
It also asks the Advisory Committee to conduct its own investigation to report back to Town Meeting.