Selectmen refrain from adding new Mass. Ave ballot question

The Board of Selectmen this morning declined to place a second nonbinding Mass. Ave. question on the April 6 town-election ballot.

During the brief meeting Board Chair Kevin Greeley revealed that a staff member of the Federal Highway Administration was in the audience during Tuesday’s well-attended hearing on the Mass. Ave. design.

“She chose to stay in the audience so that they [FHWA] would not become the focus” of the hearing, Greeley said. Massachusetts DOT held the hearing at FHWA’s request.

At the start of the meeting Selectman Dan Dunn said he had requested the special meeting because he was “concerned” about the nonbinding question added to the April vote by opponents.

Dunn and others have previously criticized that question as biased and partial.

However, Dunn said he was “reassured” by the strong community support for the plan at Tuesday’s hearing and no longer felt a second Mass. Ave question was necessary.

He apologized to the other selectmen and to the small group of citizens present for calling for the meeting.

Greeley took the opportunity to say that the Selectmen “strongly support this project.”

Dunn did not make a motion or describe what his advisory question would have said.

Greeley called today’s special meeting to consider whether to include a second Mass. Ave. ballot question. It was the last where the Selectmen could have placed an advisory question on the Town ballot.

The remaining nonbinding question qualified for the ballot in January.

It calls for 4 lanes “as currently practiced,” which would preclude even lane striping and would disqualify the project for more than $5 million in state and federal highway assistance.

Referendum proponents, who oppose the project, have declined to say what they think the Town should do were the advisory question to pass.

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