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Town Meeting Reps Tackle Liquor License Requests, Dunkin' Donuts Land Deal and More

The two sessions of Special Town Meeting might conclude on Tuesday after Town Meeting reps get through all but two articles on Monday night.

Selectman Don McCauley on the Wellesley Media Corporation video of the meeting.
Selectman Don McCauley on the Wellesley Media Corporation video of the meeting.

Wellesley Town Meeting Representatives have a decent shot at finishing up their two special Town Meetings on Tuesday night after a first evening on Monday that did not see much controversy.

After two and a half hours in session, Town Meeting was able to get through all the of the articles posted on the warrant, excluding proposed money for construction work at the Tolles-Parson Center as well as a trio of projects at various schools around town.

Indeed, there wasn’t as much as discussion on anything until Article 5, which proposed a change in disability benefits for firefighters and police officers.

Precinct C Town Meeting Representative Roy Switzler provided the first non-unanimous vote of the evening, voicing concerns over a new “Buildings Operations Liaison” position for the Facilities Maintenance Department, noting that the position deserved more research before a vote.

“When this particular department was formed two years ago, I predicted it would grow to have the second largest budget,” said Switzler. “I hope this would not pass and this would go through the proper vetting that all new jobs, especially highly paid ones like this one, should go through.”

The only other topics that drew significant discussion were a request to seek a home rule petition from Beacon Hill for six liquor licenses for grocery stores and specialty food stores and the sale of town land near the Cochituate Adueduct that would bring in a new Dunkin’ Donuts.

Selectman Don McCauley began his presentation on the liquor license proposal with some chuckles from the crowd when he said his Irish heritage might be a possible conflict of interest and then got some more when he mentioned the “landslide” 49 vote margin that established the first alcohol sales in town after prohibition in 1966.

From there, he described a series of progressive additions to liquor sales by business in town, culminating with recent easing for certain restaurants and now this measure, which if allowed by the legislature will go to a vote in the spring.

McCauley addressed concerns over potential alcohol delivery and the types of specialty stores that could apply for the licenses, noting that more detailed discussion would be required by the Board of Selectmen even if the spring vote did pass.

On the matter of the Dunkin’ Donuts, which would rezone a parcel of land along Worcester Street, questions were raised largely around enforcement of environmental restrictions on the land, with Board of Selectmen chairwoman Katherine Babson replying that remediation work on the property was expected as part of the sale of the land.

Town Meeting will reconvene on Tuesday at 7 p.m. to  discuss the Tolles-Parson Center and then adjourn to take on the deliberate on the money for the school construction funding .

More information on the Special Town Meeting sessions is available at wellesleyma.gov/TownMeeting

CORRECTION: The Tolles-Parson Center item will be taken up first. 

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