If you were 15 minutes late to the Oak Bluffs special town meeting, you missed it.
The 149 voters at the meeting (of 3,857 registered) blew through the eight-article warrant in 15 minutes. Town clerk Laura Johnston said the brief duration ties a June 2005 special town meeting for the quickest town meeting of this century.
The article that empowers the planning board to permit top-of-the-shop housing in the business district was passed unanimously and enthusiastically.
Somewhat surprisingly, there was no discussion and a unanimous vote on the article to establish the marijuana overlay district for nonmedical cannabis sales, which demarcates three sites on the outskirts of town. The same sites were approved for the medical marijuana overlay district at special town meeting two years ago, albeit with a long and spirited discussion.
The only article that did not pass unanimously was the final article on the warrant, which amends the town’s animal control bylaw to address nuisance complaints about farm animals, in particular roosters, in residential areas. Currently, the bylaw only covers dogs and cats. Objections came from concerned citizens who didn’t want the rural character of their neighborhood changed by the complaints of seasonal residents. David Schwoch said the complaint was directed at his roosters, which were pets of his late wife, who passed away in July. He said the roosters were there well before the complaining neighbors arrived. Animal control officer Patty Grant sought to assuage concerns, stating she would work with neighbors to mediate a solution before taking any action. First offense for a nuisance pet is a written warning. The newly passed bylaw ups the fines for a third offense from $35 to $100 and a fourth offense from $50 to $150.
The 149 attendees represent just under 4 percent of the town’s registered voters.