OXFORD — The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously Thursday night to accept a $5,000 portable speed indicator from the Department of Transportation for Route 26 near the Oxford Casino.

The sign is the first step in the eventual redesign of the area where two pedestrians were killed in one accident and a second serious accident occurred involving a motorist and an casino shuttle bus this past summer.

The MDOT, local and state officials and public safety officials met in late summer to discuss their concerns about the safety of the area where the casino and Hampton Inn entrances and exits are across the highway from each other.

As a result, the DOT recently detailed a plan that will reduce the speed in the area, change the flashing yellow traffic signal to a timed green-yellow-red sequence, and install a push-button pedestrian crossing with an island.

Speed limits are expected to be reduced to 40 miles per hour some 400 to 500 feet north and south of the casino and hotel entrances this year, followed by other improvements beginning next spring, Town Manager Butch Asselin said.

The cost of the improvements will be borne by the town, the casino and the state.

Asselin said he hopes to meet with the MDOT commissioner after Jan. 1 to discuss a waiver of some or all of the town’s cost, which has been estimated at $150,000.

Retail pot survey

Asselin told selectmen that residents will be surveyed about their desire to prohibit or regulate retail marijuana in Oxford.

He said members of a committee established to look at the issue have asked that residents be surveyed. Surveys will be available at the election polls Nov. 7, the Municipal Center and the Public Safety Building.

Selectmen unanimously agreed on Oct. 5 to appoint a committee to develop an ordinance prohibiting recreational marijuana retail establishments and social clubs.

The committee voted 4-0 to approve a committee of about 10 people, including residents, representatives of the Police Department, Economic Development Committee and Board of Selectmen, the town manager and code enforcement officer.

Asselin said at that time, the first step will be to impose a six-month moratorium on such establishments while the work to develop and write the ordinance continues.

The next Board of Selectmen meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Nov. 1 at the Municipal Center. Minutes of all meetings will be posted on the town website, Asselin said.

In other business, the selectmen:

• Voted 3-0 to increase the cost of dumping shingles at the transfer station from $87 per ton to $95 per ton. Selectman Ed Knightly abstaining because of his previous employment at the facility;

• Voted unanimously to accept the agreement between the town and the Teamsters Union Local No. 340 for the Police Sergeant Unit and the Teamsters Union Local No. 340 for the Police Patrol Unit, following an executive session earlier in the evening; and

• Voted unanimously to waive a public hearing and award liquor licenses for Oxford Casino and Ocean Pearl Restaurant. Both establishments were able to waive the public hearing under state statute because each has held a liquor license for more than five years without any violations.

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Selectman Floyd Thayer, right, presents Roger and Gayle Smedberg, left, with a plaque for their 50 years in business at Smedberg’s Crystal Spring Farm on Route 26.

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