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Dublin

No drive-throughs in sight for town

Voters say OK to more gas pumps

  • Dublin voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 6 allowing drive-throughs, and cast a record number of absentee ballots, March 11.
  • Dublin voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 6 allowing drive-throughs, and cast a record number of absentee ballots, March 11.
  • Dublin voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 6 allowing drive-throughs, and cast a record number of absentee ballots, March 11.
  • Dublin voters turned out to vote for important issues, including Article 6 allowing drive-throughs, and cast a record number of absentee ballots, March 11.

Voters who turned out at the polls in Dublin on Tuesday denied the controversial zoning amendment that would have allowed drive-throughs in town, by a vote of 339 opposed to 222 in favor.

In the weeks leading up to the vote, residents on both sides of the issue took part in a fiery exchange, some in support of economic growth and others concerned with conservation of the Town’s Master Plan.

A group of residents formed a committee opposing the article, meeting weekly to discuss strategies to sway other voters in their direction. A member of the committee and owner of the Dublin General Store, Andy Freeman, posted a “Coming Soon – Taco Bell” sign in town which became a symbol of the opposition. After the legality of the sign was challenged for not conveying a political message, and Freeman was issued a cease-and-desist order from the town’s code enforcement officer, he altered the sign to reflect the candidacy of John Morris for the Planning Board and Suzan Macy for Planning Board. Both candidates won their races.

Morris, a member of the resident committee, said the drive-through issue prompted him to run for a seat on the Planning Board. On Wednesday, Morris said he ran for the open seat because he felt the board hadn’t completely done its job in notifying voters of big issues, specifically the drive-through article, which he opposed.

They weren’t talking to enough people, he said, or telling the town what the drive-through issue really meant.

“I’m very happy,” said Morris. “It seems like the voters in Dublin came out in droves and people voted for what they felt was right.”

Morris said he hopes that while he’s on the Planning Board, his work will make information about issues available to residents sooner. People want to be informed about issues to they can act on that information, added Morris.

He attributed his campaign’s success and the rejection of Article 6 to the efforts of Freeman and the resident committee. Morris was encouraged that a high number of residents, approximately 50 percent, turned out to vote at the polls.

Representatives of Cheshire Oil, which owns the gas station at the Bond’s Corner intersection where the drive-through would have been located, said now that residents have come out and voted on the issue, the company has a better idea of what residents are looking for.

“It was a town decision,” said Joji Roberts, vice president of Cheshire Oil. “The Planning Board was looking for public input and the town spoke.”

Residents approved a second warrant article that could affect the Cheshire Oil property. Article 7, which passed 291 to 255, asked voters to allow the gas station to have three gas pumps, instead of two, enabling six cars to refuel at the station at any time, instead of four.

Residents approved the other zoning articles on the ballot, most by a significant majority.

Article 2 adds a definition to Article II, Section 10 in the Zoning Ordinance, defining commercial use as any business exceeding a home business and “...involving retail or wholesale marketing of goods or services.” It passed 342 to 192.

Article 3 asked voters for approval to change the wording of Article II, Section 2 in the Zoning Ordinance to increase the total size of accessory living units on a property, up to half the size of the primary residence by special exception. Previously, that article prevented property owners from having another unit on their property larger than 20 percent of the primary residence’s size. It passed 309 to 223.

Article 4 asked voters for permission to add to the preexisting definition of structures, to include language defining membrane buildings, like framed storage tents or enclosures. It also stipulates that those enclosures must meet town setback requirements for structures.

The article also asked to add language to Article XI, Section C, of the same ordinance document, and Article XIII, Section H.7. The new language would prevent membrane enclosures in wetland areas or their buffer zones. The article passed 311 to 224.

Article 5 asked voters to amend an article restricting the size of fences, meaning fences can be built an additional foot, up to 6-feet and now there will be no requirement for a special exception and building permit to construct fences up to that height. It passed 397 to 148. At Dublin’s pre-town meeting voters had discussed plans to alter a fence near the library entrance.

Paul Delphia won the open selectman seat, with 270 votes, against the write-in incumbent Charles Champagne, 137 votes, and write- in candidate Allan Pinney, with 74 votes.

Jeannine Dunne the incumbent candidate for the open town clerk/tax collector position, won her race with 368 votes, against Gretchen Ann Noe, who had 185 votes.

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