Article 10 Post Mortem

WhiteBarnFarmTown Meeting voted to Indefinitely Postpone Article 10 on Monday. The Citizen’s Petition’s sponsor Leo Immonen, a long time Wrentham government official and tireless booster of the community, proposed to help our commercial farmers, particularly the White Barn Farm, build financially sustainable farming operations by adding a new definition to the bylaws that allowed them to operate, at their discretion, “food service(s), programs and revenue-generating events such as tours, dinners, weddings, and musical performances.”

Both Mr. and Mrs. Immonen and White Barn Farm owners Chris Kantlehner and Christy Raymond gave impassioned and moving speeches in support of the measure.

I believe very few people at Town Meeting were untouched by their pathos and vision. The majority of the people in town support the spirit of the proposition and very much want for White Barn Farm to succeed.

Unfortunately, bylaws are not written for good people like Chris Kantlehner and Christy Raymond, whose character and intentions are impeccable, they’re written because we can’t trust everyone else to be like them.

Town Meeting recognized that the bylaw was flawed because it offered neither regulatory guidelines nor a transparent mechanism for including abutters in the decision to add new uses.

With that in mind, I hope sincerely that the White Barn Farm, owners sharpen their pencil and work with the Planning Board to write a bylaw or a set of regulations that permits those accessory uses while including checks and balances to protect the neighbors’ rights and concerns.

My municipal law is a bit rusty but I’m pretty sure the Planning Board can sponsor a more meticulously worded bylaw for the very next Special Town Meeting.

In the meanwhile, perhaps the farm’s principals, the abutters, and the town can work out a temporary arrangement to allow them to pilot test the proposed accessory uses?

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