WATERFORD — Voters at the annual Town Meeting Saturday approved a $2,350,508 municipal budget and voted for all articles discussed, according to Randy Lessard, chairman of the town’s Board of Selectmen.

The 2022-23 budget is about $450,000 more than the current budget. The mill rate to support that portion of the town’s expenses will increase to $16, a 20-cent increase per $1,000 of valuation over the 2021-22 town budget, said Lessard. The school’s portion of the budget hasn’t been determined yet.

Part of the budget growth is a doubling of the recommended Stoneham Rescue Service budget to $69,890, which will allow ambulance coverage to increase from 12 to 24 hours a day.

Prior to their passage, warrant articles concerning the implementation of proposed site-plan review ordinances for commercial solar facilities, self-storage facilities and large-scale water extraction prompted some deliberation by board members and town residents in attendance.

The proposed language for the ordinances creates restrictions for the Planning Board to apply during the permitting process, said Lessard.

According to the town warrant, a “self-storage facility” designates any property designed and used for the purpose of renting or leasing individual space to occupants who are to have access to such facility for the purpose of storing personal property.


Another section of the ordinance limits commercial solar facilities to 5 megawatts or smaller, and defines them as occupying more than 20,000 square feet within the town of Waterford on areas including landfills, roadway medians, parking lots, and rooftops, and generates electricity to be used offsite. Under the ordinance, new commercial solar projects in Waterford must be sited on land that is at least 20% disturbed, developed, or degraded, the warrant said.

The ordinance also defines “large-scale water extraction” as extraction of water from ground or surface water sources, aquifers, springs, wells. And it restricts large-scale extraction of water to no more than 50,000 gallons a day.

“There was a very large amount of discussion (about the ordinances),” said Lessard, a 30-year resident of Waterford.

“It really came down to people not wanting to give up their rights as landowners versus people who thought that the proposed site plan review ordinance amendment provided protection for the town,” he said.

Selectman Todd Sawyer was elected unopposed for another three-year term, with 26 votes. Additionally, two school board members representing Waterford were elected: Judith Green for a three-year term and Catherine Winship for a one-year term that was vacated. Both ran unopposed.

“I think our meetings generally go very well. We have a community of people that are very respectful of one another, and they’re very friendly, and so we don’t have ugly discussions,” said Lessard.

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