New Signs, New Election Precincts and New Special Town Meeting Date

The Board of Selectmen were busy on Tuesday night.

The Westford Board of Selectmen took action on several items during their meeting on Tuesday night.


Sign Permits and Common Victualer License

The Board of Selectmen approved Shashidhar Bogelli’s application to obtain a Common Victualer License for the Subway on Littleton Road without any discussion, but three following discussions about sign permits did take a bit longer, although the unanimous approval of a new sign for Goodrich ISR on Technology Drive was nearly as quick.

Muycheng Kim’s request for a new internally lighted sign at Orchid Nails at 6 Carlisle Road was approved, although Board of Selectmen vice chair Valerie Wormell had some concerns with the request since all the other stores in the plaza where Orchid Nails is located have hand painted signs.

“I’ve lived here for twenty years, and I travel past that plaza almost daily, sometimes four times a day, (and) I have never seen an internally illuminated sign on that plaza,” said Wormell.

The Selectman was also curious as to whether an exception had been granted several decades ago for the plaza by either the Planning Board of Board of Selectmen for the two pole signs in the plaza that may have required businesses not to have internally illuminated signs.

Regardless of what the case might have been then, the proposed sign apparently met all zoning requirements, although Wormell remained concerned about the sign.

“That sign is going to be almost dead center in the plaza, it’s extremely different than anything else that has been there before, and it’s going to show a lot,” said Wormell. “It meets all the requirements under the zoning bylaw, but it just struck me as extremely odd.”

Ultimately the Orchid Nails sign was approved unanimously contingent upon staff review to determine if illuminated signs being allowed at the plaza.

However, operators of the Gulf Station at 179 Littleton Road were not so lucky. When a joint Dunkin’ Donuts/Gulf sign had been approved earlier by the board, it was installed with LED lights, which were not part of the original approval.

The Gulf applicants believed the non-conforming LED sign should be grandfathered in since it had been in use and a subsequent discussion on whether the LED part of the sign was a violation of the original approval ended in a 2-2 tie.

However, such logic confused Select Board chairman Robert Jeffries, since he noted that the 2-2 tie was technically no different than it has been disapproved outright.

“I don’t understand how not getting a permit for something (the LED lights) that wasn’t approved grandfathers them under the old zoning bylaw, because they didn’t get an approval,” said Jeffries.

The applicant was not present and the approval for the LED sign was denied 4-1, with only Jim Sullivan voting in favor of the sign.

New Voting Precincts

Following the 2010 Census, Westford town clerk Kaari Mai Tari introduced proposed new voting precincts to the Board of Selectmen, noting that 782 residents would find themselves in new voting precincts in the next election to ensure that all six precincts in town continued to have roughly equivalent populations and geographical continuity, with letters being sent to the affected voters 60 days before the next presidential primary in March 2012.

The boundary changes included three parcels near the John Robinson School going from the southeastern Precinct 4 to Precinct 2, which votes at Blanchard Middle School; three blocks in Nabnasset previously in Precinct 6 heading to Precinct 3 to create a straight line down Williams Avenue ending at the corner of Edwards, the inclusion of the Abbot School from Precinct 5 into Precinct 3, and the removal of several parcels south of Buckboard Drive from Precinct 3 into Precinct 1.

Following the Board of Selectmen’s 5-0 approval of the preliminary new boundaries, the proposed lines now go to the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s office for their approval before coming back to the Board on June 14 for final approval of any changes the state may have added.

Special Town Meeting Date Set

Following last year’s timeline, voters looking to put a date on their calendar for this fall’s Special Meeting need look no further: the 2011 fall Special Town Meeting will be held on Monday, October 17, 2011.

The date for the acceptance of warrants for the for the town meeting will be allowed beginning on June 14.


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