Nip ban, school name to be voted on at Town Meeting

Sep 23, 2020

The warrant for the 2020 Fall Town Meeting is now officially closed, and voters will get the chance to weigh in on a variety of topics ranging from the name of the new elementary school, to a potential ban on alcohol nips, to a proposed bylaw change that would allow for a marijuana testing lab to operate near the Decas Elementary School. However, the location and logistics of Town Meeting are still undecided.

Selectmen discussed some of articles for the upcoming Town Meeting during a board meeting on September 22. The final draft of the warrant is expected to be made public within the next several days. 

A proposed ban on the sale of “nips” was added to the warrant because of a citizens’ petition. 

The miniature alcohol containers are a staple at local liquor stores, but some have taken issue with them because they are one of the most commonly littered items in town. 

In April, someone went as far as to put a trash can with a sign reading “Nip Bottle Target” on the side of Main Street. 

The name of the new elementary school being built on Minot Avenue is also likely to be a topic of interest at the upcoming Town Meeting. While the Board of Selectmen have contended that Town Meeting already named the school “Decas School at Minot Forest,” while others say it has not yet been named. A citizens’ petition by School Committee member Mike Flaherty that would name the school “Wareham Elementary” is on the warrant. 

Voters will also weigh in on whether or not to approve  a zoning change that would allow Smithers Lab to test up to eight teaspoons of marijuana products a day for metals or chemicals. 

Current zoning does not allow for this due to the lab’s proximity to the Decas Elementary School.

Selectmen clarified that there would be no cultivation or sale of marijuana at the facility. 

The proposed bylaw change drew controversy at a September 10 Planning Board meeting when one Wareham resident said that the town’s current bylaws were “a little bit silly,” suggesting that now that the town has allowed marijuana facilities for a year or two “90% of it could be stricken,” with a thorough bylaw review. 

Other articles approved for the Town Meeting Warrant include zoning changes that would allow for the development of more restaurant drive-throughs, and an article that would amend the legal definitions of duplexes, and other multifamily dwellings.

The Board of Selectmen did not make any official recommendations to voters regarding any of the articles discussed at the September 22 meeting.

The Town Meeting is scheduled for October 26 at 7 p.m. 

At the September 15 Board of Selectmen meeting, Town Moderator Claire Smith said that if the meeting is held in the high school’s gym and auditorium, the maximum number of people who could attend while following social distancing guidelines would be 200. 

As there are several potentially controversial items on the warrant, Smith said that if the town thinks that more than 200 people might attend the meeting, perhaps it should be held outside so more people could attend. Since it will be late October and likely chilly, she said the town might be able to rent a large tent and outdoor heaters. 

The details have not yet been decided.