- South Lincoln revitalization ideas gathering steam
- Architects ask for reactions to school and community center possibilities
Proposed plastic bag/bottle ban
The Lincoln-Sudbury Environmental Club is continuing discussions with Lincoln committees and businesses in an effort to build support for a ban on retail sales and distribution of single-use plastic grocery bags and plain water bottles holding less than one liter. The students’ presentation outlined the environmental hazards of unrecycled plastic bags and bottles, as well as retail alternatives such as water sold in disposable aluminum bottle or milk-carton-type containers. They will also explore creating a town “tap map” such as the one in Concord (which enacted its own bottle ban in 2012) showing businesses and public facilities where reusable water bottles can be refilled.
The students plan to submit a citizens’ petition for a vote at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting. A similar petition vote was withdrawn in 2017 after local business opposition. At the November 4 State of the Town meeting, Lincoln resident Jim White, co-owner of Lincoln Kitchen and Trails’ End as well as their sister restaurant in Concord, lauded the students’ effort to raise awareness, “but the difficulty I have with them is the solution, especially in Lincoln. It imposes a financial burden on two businesses [Trail’s End and Donelan’s], and I think that’s not fair.” White suggested more “broadly based solutions” such as public education and publicly available water refill sites.
The Board of Selectmen is appointing a committee to study and make recommendations on regulations for recreational marijuana businesses that might be interested in operating in Lincoln. The state’s Cannabis Control COmmission expects to establish license regulations by March 2018, tough Lincoln has approved a moratorium until November 2018. The issue first came up for discussion at the 2015 State of the Town meeting.
Expanding the Lincoln Historic District
Historic District Commission (HDC) chair Andrew Glass outlined a proposal to expand the Lincoln Historic District by about one-third to include Modern houses on a voluntary basis. The proposal is a joint project of the HDC and Friends of Modern Architecture. There will be a public forum on Jan. 9, 2018 in preparation for a Town Meeting vote in March.
The town has hundreds of homes in the Modern style dating from 1937 to the 1970s, including the Gropius House and numerous Deck houses. There are at least 21 Modern homeowners who are interested in joining the district, according to Glass’ handout. Owners of Historic District houses have some restrictions on exterior renovations that are visible to the public. Assessor’s Office data indicates that there is “very little impact one way or another” in terms of sales prices for Historic District homes, he said.
Mothers Out Front and gas leaks
The Lincoln chapter of Mothers Out Front presented information about the negative climate effects from leaks from natural gas lines. The group called attention to the issue last spring by installing hand-knitted scarves and posters at the sites of some of the 40 known leaks in town.
Mothers Out Front plans to introduce a resolution at the 2018 Annual Town Meeting calling for the “rapid repair and elimination of all gas leaks in Lincoln.” Public utilities are not currently required to pay for repairs of gas leaks on public streets, but the group is working with them to identify and fix “super-emitters,” or the 7 percent of gas leaks that emit 50 percent of the lost gas into the atmosphere.
“Let’s Make Lincoln a Welcoming, Safe Town”
A group that started as a movement to make Lincoln a “sanctuary town” in response to Trump administration threats to undocumented immigrants has will propose a resolution based on the one passed in Newton earlier this year. The measure would prohibit town law officials including police form assisting federal authorities in detaining people on the basis of their immigration status.
“A lot of people without proper papers are absolutely terrified but not willing to ask for help from local authorities” because they fear deportation, said resident Peter Pease. “We think we need to make some kind of statement to help people relax and have the town act lawfully and respect each person’s dignity.”