Norwell: Town votes for high school artificial turf fields design proposal – medical marijuana dispensary zoning

Norwell held their first session of special and annual town meeting at the middle school Monday night, focusing on high school athletic field proposals and zoning for medical marijuana dispensaries.

About 500 people packed the middle school gymnasium to vote yes on a proposal to appropriate $130,000 in community preservation funds, to design and engineer a synthetic turf high school football field, multipurpose field and high school track.

An additional $570,000 would need to be raised to pay for the actual synthetic turf, with CPA money funding the rest of the estimated $3.4 million project.

However, some residents like Mary Cole voiced their opposition to the proposal.

“This thing is being railroaded through very quickly and there are a lot of studies out there about these fields. I have discovered as I’ve read them that ones that are most positive are written by the companies that make the turf. The ones that are written that do not sound so happy about using artificial turf tend to be high schools, colleges and the NIH – the National Institute of Health”, Cole said.

Town meeting also voted in favor a zoning by-law amendment defining prohibited and allowed areas for medical marijuana dispensaries, rather than enacting a one year moratorium like many other south shore towns.

Planning Board Chair Peggy Etzel addressed the issue and stated, “They would be prohibited in all residential districts and in business districts A and B, which are the town center and along Route 53. They would be allowed in business districts C1 and C2, which are more familiarly known as Accord and Assinippi Office Parks and that would be by special permit, granted by the ZBA for a 3 year period”.

Town meeting voted no on the economic development committee’s zoning proposal to increase commercial building height and setback restrictions and voted in the fiscal 2014 operating budget.

Town meeting resumes Tuesday night, at 7:30 at the middle school.


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About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.