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The Selectmen have endorsed a retail marijuana bylaw that will appear on the town meeting warrant.

Cheshire Ready to Move on Marijuana Bylaw

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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CHESHIRE, Mass. — Both the Planning Board and the Selectmen have approved a marijuana establishment bylaw that they hope will be on the annual town meeting warrant. 
Planning Board Chairwoman Donna DeFino brought the newly crafted bylaw to the selectmen on Tuesday for their final blessing.
"This covers retail as well as cultivation and all other uses," she said. "We need to hit all the marks to get it on the warrant for a June town meeting. We need a public hearing."
Late last year, the town set a moratorium on marijuana facility applications giving it time to craft a bylaw that would be appropriate for Cheshire.
DeFino briefly walked the selectmen through an overview of the bylaw, which she said mostly follows Massachusetts General Law, but is a little more Cheshire specific. 
"It mirrors what Mass General Law already has in place," she said. "We just wanted to tighten up some of that language specific to Cheshire."
Retail, testing, manufacturing and other like establishments would be limited to the existing Route 8 business zone. The bylaw would allow one retail operation and one of the other uses. 
She said cultivation can be in agricultural specific zones. 
In other business, Town Administrator Mark Webber said he is continuing to work on the town's fiscal 2019 budget but asked the Selectmen what they wanted to do with raises for appointed and elected personnel. 
"They are all over the place on the submittal forms. I've got 0 percent, 2 percent, 3 percent, 5 percent," Webber said. "I am not sure what you want to do."
Over the years, the town has standardized salaries putting them more in line with other like-sized communities. Webber said they may be able to get away with just a flat 2 percent raise this year. 
"I think many of the past discrepancies have been corrected, and I think you are now in line and the jobs are valued the same as like-sized communities," he said. "We have been very active with that."
Highway Superintendent Blair Crane said in his report that he may rent a grader for the spring, so he can grade the town's dirt roads.
"I may just rent one for a couple of weeks to a month to go all around and shape all of the roads then we will be able to maintain them all with the loader," he said.  
The town's current grader is on its last legs and the town may look at purchasing a used one that has far fewer miles on it than the current one.
However, if this can't be done before it is time to grade, Crane said it might be easier to rent.
Crane added that the mud hole on Outlook Avenue has been fixed.
"We got up and dug it out and put more material back in there ... it was literally the size of this room," he said. "Water was coming right up out of the center."
He said he suspects the mud hole was caused by the ground thawing out.

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