STM passes entire warrant

In a well-attended Special Town Meeting for late August, all five warrant articles passed Wednesday night, although one with some modifications.

With only a few voting no, articles 1 and 2, to amend the town's zoning bylaws to add two Ayer Road parcels to the solar overlay district, passed without discussion. The vote will pave the way for the Harvard Solar Garden project to install 500 kilowatts of photovoltaic energy panels in the Commercial District.

Article 3, to abandon and discontinue the farthest north portion of Elm Street, past the last home, also passed with little opposition, after town counsel Mark Lanza and Town Administrator Tim Bragan assured residents the move would not affect parking and snow plowing in the area.

Article 4 was the most discussed of the evening. The original language asked to authorize Selectmen to lease, as lessee, temporary space for Town Hall offices while the building is renovated, provided the leased space is within the town of Harvard, excluding Devens, and "such lease is the lowest cost solution for the relocation of town offices."

An amendment by Billy Salter of Elm Street changed "lowest cost solution" to "shall represent the best trade-off of cost and benefit, including both financial and non-financial costs and benefits." That amendment passed by majority vote.

Also passing by majority vote was an amendment by Keith Turner of Old Littleton Road to remove "not including Devens" from the article. A further amendment proposed by Paul Richards of Westcott Road added the requirement that the leased space be within an eight-mile radius of Town Hall. All of Devens is within that radius.

Article 5, which authorized Selectmen to lease, as lessor, the old library, and authorized the library trustees to transfer control of the old library to Selectmen, passed by two-thirds majority.

For in-depth coverage of Special Town Meeting, visit harvardpress.com or read the Harvard Press next Friday, Sept. 7.

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