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Any Lawful Use in the Town of Walpole:
There was a Special Town Meeting on Monday, March 10th,
2008 to approve a set of changes to the Town of Walpole's
zoning bylaws.

Article 1 passed easily by voice vote, formalizing a set
of changes to the structure of the zoning bylaws. But
despite 9-0-0 support from the Finance Committee, 4-0-0
support from the Planning Board, and 2-1-1 support from the
Board of Selectmen, Article 2 did not prevail. You can
see how the RTMs in your precinct voted here.

Most speakers agreed that the language should be stricken
eventually, but some were reluctant to do so tonight.

Any lawful use undermines the intent and force of the
Table of Uses with a loophole through which practically
any land use can be approved.

Town officials and zoning consultants agree that this
kind of language is unheard of in other towns. It is
an open invitation that attracts a steady stream of
undesirable development proposals to our door.

Walpole has endured a number of costly, time-consuming,
and divisive battles to keep these unwanted developments
out of our community as a direct result of this clause.

The Town Planner highlighted the language for removal
early in the zoning bylaw rewrite process. The Planning
Board and the Finance Committee have both voted to
endorse adoption of the complete rewrite, including the
removal of "any lawful use."

Special interests, including CPV, union electricians, the
WTRA, and land developers are lobbying our Selectmen
and Town Meeting Representatives to convince them to
leave "any lawful use" on the books.

In the past 20 years, Walpole has fended off:

  • a Boston Edison power plant
  • an MWRA sludge landfill
  • a million gallon propane farm
  • a regional trash transfer station
  • a cogenerator facility

  • and several other noxious industrial proposals.

    In most of those instances, Town Meeting appropriated
    funds to defeat the proposals, or approved zoning changes
    filed by citizen petition to prohibit the uses.

    With adoption of the bylaw rewrite, certain undesirable
    land uses will be eliminated from our zoning bylaws,
    and the table of allowed land uses will become more
    consistent with the town's Master Plan for Development.

    Removing the "any lawful use" loophole will ensure that
    Walpole remains in control of its own zoning process.

    Town Meeting retains the authority to amend the Zoning
    Bylaws and the Table of Uses at any time, so we can
    continue to welcome new businesses that are consistent
    with our common vision for the future of Walpole.

    Selectmen's Special Session
    Johnson Middle School, Room G6
    Monday March 10th, 6:30p.m.

    Special Town Meeting
    Johnson Middle School Auditorium
    Monday March 10th, 7:30p.m.

    With any lawful use, anything goes!

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