Selectmen finalize Town Meeting warrant with school name, Master Plan articles

Mar 3, 2021

The Selectmen finalized the warrant for the April 26 Spring Town Meeting, including a school name change, approval of the master plan, and a ban on “nip” sales on March 2.

An article to update the town’s FEMA flood maps is still in the works.

Voters will be asked to approve the town’s 2020 Master Plan.

One article regarding the harbormaster’s routine financial business was added to the warrant, as was another to pay bills and purchase materials for the Department of Natural Resources, including firearms, tasers, safety and rescue equipment, two cold-water rescue suits, life jackets and new communication and navigation equipment. 

Two citizens’ petitions were also added to the warrant: One to name the new elementary school being built on Minot Avenue “Wareham Elementary School” and one that would alter the town’s zoning laws which Chair Peter Teitelbaum declined to describe, saying everyone should read it for themselves. That zoning-related warrant article has not yet been made public.

The name of the elementary school has been the subject of much debate both on the merits of the proposed name and who has the authority to name the school. Some contend that the Town Meeting article approving the debt exclusion for the school named it the “Decas School at Minot Forest,” while some School Committee members say their board should have the authority to name it. 

A citizens’ petition article proposed for a prior town meeting that would ban the sale of miniature liquor bottles, called nips, was also added to the docket.

The selectmen also discussed a solar bylaw that would limit the size of solar fields, among other measures, but decided against adding it to the warrant. The bylaw was created by citizens, Planning Board members, and town employees -- a collaboration that may have been against local and state laws, including Open Meeting Law. 

Planning Board member Richard Swenson and Wareham Land Trust member Nancy McHale both spoke in favor of the article at the selectmen’s meeting, but the board ultimately decided there were enough questions about the proposed article’s origins that it wasn’t worth taking the risk of including it on the warrant.

The Spring Town Meeting and Spring Special Town Meeting will be held at Spillane Field beginning at noon on April 26. Another Special Town Meeting to discuss a Hospitality District and projects at Westfield will be held on April 10.