Members Updated, Officers Sworn in at April BBA Meeting
Apr 27, 2018 06:00AM
By Pamela Johnson
2018-19 slate of officers sworn in by Town Clerk Ann Odabashian (L-R): Pamela Johnson, Bellingham Bulletin; Julie St. Pierre, Middlesex Bank; Michael Tuite, Charles River Bank; Kerry Pickering, Dean Bank; President John Orthman, Moody Street Group; Secretary/Treasurer Sue Grady, myFM; Josh Forget, Frank Webb Home (behind Grady); Ro Kilduff, Costello Realty; Vice President Sue Ranieri (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage)
At the April meeting of the Bellingham Business Association (BBA), members listened to an update from long-time Town Administrator Denis Fraine on what has been happening and what is going to happen in Bellingham. Town Clerk Ann L. Odabashian was also present to swear in the slate of officers resulting from the organization’s bi-annual election.
Fraine reviewed the marijuana prohibition that was recently successful as a result of a two-part process: a ballot/special-election vote and a town meeting rezoning vote. Town officials had lobbied vigorously—and, as it turns out, successfully—for passage of the proposed rezoning, which prohibits marijuana dispensaries and medical marijuana treatment facilities.
“We felt like we really weren’t prepared to monitor or enforce regulations on dispensaries. For one thing,” he said, “we’re a border town and dispensaries would draw people seeking marijuana from neighboring communities [like Woonsocket, RI].”
He noted that, at Town Meeting, Zoning Board member Jim Dunlea had pointed out that zoning could always be changed later if it became obvious that dispensaries would be beneficial to the town.
According to Fraine, marijuana cultivation may take place within the town, if a special permit is granted by the Planning Board. There is in fact already a growth facility that will generate approximately a quarter-million dollars in tax revenue for the town.
Next, Fraine cautioned those present not to panic at recent notices regarding TTHM in our drinking water. “Don’t ask me to define that acronym—it’s chlorine residue,” he joked. “The DEP found that if you drink 2-3 liters of water a day containing traces of chlorine residue for 70 years, it could have an adverse effect on those with compromised immune systems. We’ve made adjustments and the problem is going away, but it takes about a year to fully comply with DEP guidelines. He emphasized, “You do not have to boil your water; it is safe to drink.”
Other projects he discussed included the following:
- Bonvie Homes (the over-55 community slated for Paine Street): Basic agreements have been hammered out between N.E. Country Club owner Rod Walkey, on whose property the development will be built, and Ron Bonvie. “They should be before the Planning Board this summer,” he predicted.
- Former Macy School subdivision: Lobisser Building Corp. purchased the property from the town for $575,000 and will build a 12-lot subdivision, incorporating the existing playground and ball field into the plan.
- The intersection at Maple Street & Rte. 140: This whole corner will be reconfigured. The town paid for the design, and received a grant of $1.6 million and a donation of $1million from Campanelli Corp., which will cover the actual construction cost.
- Lake St./Pulaski Blvd.Ttraffic Light: A request for bids on the traffic light for the intersection of Lake St. and Pulaski Blvd. has been issued, and the light should be installed this summer. “It’s a dangerous intersection,” Fraine noted. “We wanted a light there when Center Street was done, but the state refused to pay for it.”
Attn., Local Business Owners: We Want You!The Bellingham Business Association (BBA) is conducting its annual membership drive. Local business owners are encouraged to attend a meeting and learn more about the organization. The only requirement for membership is that the business be located in Bellingham or that the individual representing the business live in Bellingham.
The BBA holds monthly dinner meetings, Sept. through June, which include guest speakers, updates from town and state officials, networking, and more. It provides a chance for business owners/managers to share their concerns, questions and experiences with colleagues. The Association gives out two $1500 scholarships annually to Bellingham seniors bound for college, as well as an Unsung Hero award to someone who goes above and beyond for the community. It also supports many local fundraising efforts, such as the Bellingham Women of Today’s Santa’s Elves drive, the Wrentham Developmental Center’s Christmas party and others.
The upcoming May meeting will focus on news from the state level and be held at Coachmen’s Lodge restaurant. BBA members are encouraged to invite potential members to attend. The cost is $20/pp. Annual dues is $75; however, the cost of the dinner will be deducted from the annual dues for any businessperson who joins the BBA at the May meeting, thereby reducing the dues to $55 membership through June 2019. For more information, visit www.BellinghamBusinessAssociation.org.