By Katrina Margolis
Hometown Weekly Reporter
While Medfield may only have a population of 12,000, it is often deceptively easy to keep up with the goings-on around town. Town Administrator Mike Sullivan shed some light on upcoming important events in the town, and the highlights residents should know to be as informed as possible. The two biggest events the town is looking towards are the town election on March 27 and the town meeting on April 24. While it may seem as if there is plenty of time before both of these events, with 44 articles on the town meeting warrant, there is plenty to catch up on before they arrive.
“We have one ballot question people should probably be aware of on the town election ballot, and that’s to ban recreational marijuana,” Sullivan explained. “It wouldn’t be a moratorium, it would be an outright ban.” Other than the law’s allowance for personal growth and use, any retail use or growing of marijuana would be banned in the town. There are also two articles on the town warrant, one of which is a complete ban on marijuana. “The reason for doing it both ways is some uncertainty in the question that passed on the ballot statewide. There was a provision in that law that said the voters of the town could reasonably regulate recreation marijuana, and so some people have taken that to assume that you could ban it,” Sullivan explained. “That will probably be tested in court. A lot of towns in the meantime are doing it.” With a medical dispensary in Medway, a growing facility in Franklin, and a potential dispensary in Walpole, there is a fair amount of activity near Medfield in terms of the newly legalized substance.
This is the first election in a number of years in which there is some competition on the ballot. “There’s two people running for one seat on the board of selectman, there’s three people running for two seats on the school committee,” Sullivan said. “I think there are three people running for two seats on the library committee. There are a few vacancies as well that no one took out paperwork for.” With the recent presidential election, the town clerk relayed that Medfield just called the 9,000 mark on registered voters. All of these citizens are encouraged to get out and vote in the local election as well.
Medfield holds an open town meeting, unlike some of the other towns in the area. With a quorum of 250, attendance usually stays around 300 to 350 unless there is a really hot issue. In this upcoming meeting, there certainly is: the controversy surrounding 40B has been a widely discussed issue in Medfield. “There’s a citizen petition that was circulated to raise $1 million to fund another article on the town meeting warrant, which is to create a Medfield Affordable Housing trust, which would be like a nonprofit group that would be charged with developing affordable housing in town,” Sullivan elaborated. “We’re actually probably, if not the top town in the area, one of the top towns, in terms of percentage of affordable housing. We have 6.51 percent and we have two more projects in the pipeline right now.” Despite this, citizens do want more focus on 40B, as well as focusing on avoiding what happened in regards to the previous 40B development.