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Special Town Meeting passes all Articles

Oct. 30, 2021

By Ann Needle

The Oct. 30 Special Town Meeting (STM) passed all 10 Warrant Articles, promising substantial changes to some of the largest properties in Stow.

Two major Articles took center stage during STM debate.

Passed by a vote of 243-7, Article 5 authorizes the Town to purchase about 115 acres of the North Course of Stow Acres Country Club, at a price of $4 million, with a combination of Community Preservation Act funds, grants, and fundraising. May’s Annual Town Meeting approved $1.5 million for a conservation restriction on the 151-acre South Course, which was contingent on the purchase of the North Course property.

Article 8, at a vote of 260-10, will amend the Zoning bylaw, allowing for a private, for-profit school on the former Bose property. The change was triggered when The Masters Academy approached Bose to purchase the 81-acre land. Plans are to build a grade 6-12 for-profit boarding and day school centered on sports training.

Town Planner Jesse Steadman launched discussion on Article 8 by announcing that, in the past week, Masters confirmed it would go ahead and locate at Bose as a non-profit if Article 8 did not pass. He explained that state law allows for non-profit schools to locate anywhere. If Article 8 failed, the town would lose any right to impose conditions on the school via a development agreement, and lose any potential tax revenue, he contended.

With another heavily discussed proposal, a “yes” vote on Article 6 (204-61) allows each business in the industrial/business Zoning district to display one, 3 ft. sq., interior-illuminated window sign. The Article came about after the Town began enforcing a 1985 ban on the signs this summer. The Planning Board stated this is a stopgap measure while it works on a more permanent bylaw update.

Objectors argued that the change would not respect Stow’s small-town character and was not needed in these days of internet information on whether a business is open.

Saturday’s indoor Town Meeting at Hale Auditorium featured a bigger turnout than May’s outdoor Annual Town Meeting, despite the rain, mask mandates and little outdoor seating.

More meeting details will be available in the Nov. 3 edition.