Sandwich Town Meeting, June 15, 2020

Firefighter Andrew Mandel cleans the microphone and lectern after a voter used them to speak on an article during June’s annual Town Meeting. Firefighter Mandel wiped down the area after every use.

If predictions about the November 14 Special Town Meeting hold true, it will be short and sweet.

“It’s mostly housekeeping items,” Town Clerk Taylor D. White said.

Town Manager George H. (Bud) Dunham agreed.

“There’s nothing really controversial on the warrant,” Mr. Dunham said. “There might be some discussion on the citizens petition articles.”

The meeting, which will be held in the Sandwich High School gymnasium, will begin at 1 PM.

As was the case for the Annual Town Meeting held in June, special precautions will be taken to keep everyone in attendance as safe from coronavirus infection as possible.

Town Meeting volunteers will be masked and seated behind Plexiglas to check people in, hand out voting cards and distribute warrants on long tables that will flank the entryway.

Firefighters and other public safety personnel will shepherd people up the stairs and into elevators to attend the second-floor event.

Chairs will be placed singly and in twos at six-foot distances, and the public's microphone will be cleaned after each person speaks.

“Everyone should wear a mask and follow social distancing protocols,” Town Moderator Garry Blank said during a pre-Town Meeting conference on Thursday afternoon.

“If there are people waiting in line to speak, they, too should practice social distancing,” Mr. Blank added.

The town officials on the Zoom conference meeting Thursday ran through the 10-item warrant quickly.

As Mr. White pointed out, many of the warrant articles are budgetary and housekeeping items, such as transferring money from various accounts to cover expenses.

The transfers include about $574,000 in capital funds to repair buildings, replace equipment and provide related services.

Another requested transfer would allow the school district to spend about $46,500 on maintenance and improvement of its athletic fields. The money would come from proceeds gathered from leasing the cellular antenna at the high school.

Other transfers include about $71,000 to the beach renourishment account and about $120,000 to the Sandwich promotions fund.

The nonbudgetary items include asking taxpayers to approve a change in zoning laws that would allow municipal buildings to exceed the 35-foot height limit.

This change in bylaws would enable the proposed new senior center’s gymnasium to accommodate a second-floor walking track inside a Cape Cod-like pitched roof.

There are three citizens petitions at the end of the warrant.

One of those citizens petitions asks that security be increased at the closed Pilgrim Nuclear Power Station.

The article asks that the Town of Sandwich communicate to the governor and state Legislature that spent nuclear fuel is secured in better-quality casks and that those casks are protected by heightened security measures.

Contamination from the plant, which is on Cape Cod Bay, could hurt Sandwich and adjoining towns, the petition says.

The second petition, Article 10, asks that Sandwich ban all commercial sales of plastic, single-use bottles.

“It shall be unlawful to sell non-carbonated, unflavored drinking water in single-use plastic bottles of less than one gallon in the Town of Sandwich,” the wording in the petition says.

The sponsor of the petition, Sustainable Practices, is the Brewster-based environmental group that began a successful quest across the Cape last year to ban the use and sale of single-use plastic bottles on municipal property.

The third petition, Article 11, seeks to have the town adopt a policy of net-zero greenhouse emissions, meaning that all departments adopt stringent energy-conscious policies to cut “energy consumption and land use practices leading to global warming, rising seas, deadly storms, dangerous heat waves, acidifying oceans and melting ice sheets.”

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