At a 10-minute meeting Tuesday night, the Select Board voted 4-0 to set the date for the Special Town Meeting for Monday, Nov. 13, and the Special Town Election for Tuesday, Nov. 28. The primary goal of this Special Town Meeting (STM) is to vote on the proposal for a new building to replace Elmwood School.
Assistant Town Manager Elaine Lazarus noted that warrant articles are due by the end of the business day on Monday, Oct. 16. The Select Board will set the ballot questions at its meeting the following day. After the warrant is prepared, the Select Board will vote to sign the warrant at a meeting on Oct. 26.
While the STM location has not yet been set, Select Board chair Muriel Kramer noted that the middle school would be the best location given accessibility concerns. Member Amy Ritterbusch, who also serves on the Commission on Disability, noted that the issue of accessibility for the STM was reviewed at its meeting Monday night as members analyzed ways to make it more inclusive.
Ritterbusch said there should be a disclaimer on the warrant stating what accessibility options are available to the public. She noted that documents need to be made available in large print for those with visual impairments. Captioning and a sign language interpreter, which were utilized at May’s Annual Town Meeting, proved effective for those with hearing impairments, she added.
While the building has some accessible seating, Ritterbusch said the front rows should be reserved for those with hearing and vision challenges. In addition, she said the Commission on Disability discussed the need for an evacuation plan and additional accessible parking spaces to be made available, which would be helpful for van users. A greeter should be there to open the door for those who need assistance because, while there is a ramp, there is no push button. Accessible bathrooms also should be identified, and an accessibility coordinator should be available for questions.
Said Kramer: “Accessibility is an important thing.”
Kramer, Ritterbusch, vice chair Shahidul Mannan and member Mary Jo LaFreniere voted in favor. Member Irfan Nasrullah was not present at the meeting.