A final decision on the Host-Community Agreement (HCA) with Bud’s Goods and Provisions was on the agenda during the Monday, Feb. 11, meeting of the Halifax Board of Selectmen. Alex Mazin, President and CEO of Bud’s, has been attending Selectmen’s meetings for several months now and has also held public hearings regarding his proposal for an outdoor marijuana growing facility.
River St. resident Leonard Teceno attended Tuesday’s meeting, apologizing for not bringing his specific concerns to the Board sooner. Teceno, who said that he had read the HCA, was questioning the section meant to protect abutters from nuisance issues related to the proposed facility. As written, the section defined abutters as those within 600 ft. of the property line and created a formal process for those abutters to file a complaint about Bud’s. Teceno pointed out to the selectmen that no one fell within that jurisdiction effectively making the section moot. Teceno said that residents on River St., Wood St., Pratt St., and parts of Thompson St. could all potentially be affected by the facility due to proximity. The specific nuisance in question was that of smell.
Teceno said that the language in the section of the HCA he was questioning appeared to have been lifted directly from the HCA between the town of Truro and High Dune Craft Cooperative for a proposed marijuana farm there. The farm in Truro is to be only 4,500 square feet whereas the one proposed by Bud’s will eventually reach 100,000 square feet. Teceno pointed out the difference saying that if 600 ft. is sufficient for a 4,500 square foot farm, it surely isn’t sufficient for one significantly larger.
Halifax Town Administrator Charlie Seelig asked Teceno what he thought would be an acceptable distance from the property to qualify someone as an abutter. Teceno said he was unsure what would be fair but felt that those with residences on the streets he mentioned should certainly be included.
For his part, Mazin argued that despite the large size of his farm, the parcel on which he would have his farm is 47 acres and only a small portion of that would be used as farmland. Mazin also said that his business intended to utilize the land in a way that the actual growing would take place as far from neighboring properties as possible.
In the end, Selectman Gordon Andrews suggested listing the actual streets in the section pertaining to abutters rather than selecting a distance that felt somewhat arbitrary. Both Teceno and Mazin were satisfied with the proposed change. The selectmen voted to approve the HCA with Bud’s assuming that the language would be amended to include River St., Wood St., Pratt St., and Thompson St. up to Walnut St.
The selectmen briefly discussed regarding recycling abatements. Both Selectmen Chair Troy Garron and Selectman Tom Millias have consistently voted against granting abatements that were filed after the September deadline. Andrews, on the other hand, has stated that he doesn’t believe that residents should be made to pay for a service they aren’t receiving. Seelig agreed to setup a meeting between the selectmen and Recycling and Solid Waste to discuss the matter further.
Police Chief Joao Chaves attended Tuesday’s meeting where Seelig asked the selectmen to vote on establishing a video surveillance registry in town. Chaves first presented the idea during a selectmen’s meeting in November. The program would be completely voluntary and would allow residents or businesses with security cameras to register them if they so wished. The registry could be utilized by the police department so that if an event took place in the vicinity of someone’s camera, they could request the footage for use in an investigation. Seelig stressed that even if someone elected to register their camera, the choice to surrender the footage would still be voluntary. The selectmen voted to approve the creation of the registry.
George Latini had an appointment with the selectmen to request a change of premises for In Season Restaurant. The restaurant won’t be physically moving but Latini was hoping to extend the liquor license to include the entirety of the building as well as the three outside patio areas. The selectmen voted to approve the request.
John Sexton also had an appointment with the selectmen to discuss his proposal to build and maintain a library box. Sometimes referred to as little free libraries, these boxes are essentially small boxes where someone can take or leave a book.
Sexton said he would be building the box with the Cub Scout Pack 39. Sexton said that the scouts encountered one of these boxes in the woods during a hike in Pembroke and were interested in building one of their own as a community project. Garron asked Sexton who would ensure the maintenance of the box and Sexton said that he has lived in Halifax for ten years and had no intention of leaving. Garron also asked what would happen if there was overflow and Sexton replied, “if it fills up, that’s a delightful problem to have.” Sexton further said that he would be able to store the overflow and ensure that books were being stocked accordingly. Chief Chaves called the proposal “a great idea” and asked Sexton to be sure to make the box waterproof. The selectmen voted to approve the little library.
The selectmen and Chaves also discussed whether or not to allow non-residents to use the Lingan St. beach area. Last year both taxpayer non-residents and non-taxpayer non-residents came before the selectmen requesting rights to use the beach.
Some of the residents were considered Hanson residents but did pay a small amount of taxes to Halifax due to a small portion of their land being in Halifax. Chaves said that the police were frequently having to monitor the beach this past summer due to a lot of non-residents using the beach.
The selectmen proposed the possibility of non-residents being able to pay for a permit to use the beach. Chaves said he would reach out to both Kingston and Duxbury regarding the process as the selectmen said they would be interested in seeing if the idea would be viable or not.