click to enlarge Seven Days pored over each and every Town Meeting Day warning to preview a sampling of seven noteworthy ballot items in our February 22 issue. So how did those measures fare on Tuesday? Here's a recap that includes news about a dam, private airstrips and just-cause evictions.
- Matthew Roy ©️ Seven Days
- A sign in Burlington promoting noncitizen voting in several languages
In North Hero, residents apparently still peeved over a 2018 proposal to build a private airstrip opted to prohibit them altogether in a 232-123 vote. (Helipads too.) Not cleared for takeoff.
In South Burlington, F-35 activist Jimmy Leas came up short in his quest for a three-year city council term. Leas, who researches and writes about the noisy jets, had promised to “cancel the F-35.” Andrew Chalnick, who won a decisive victory over Leas, said he doesn't think the city can cancel the Vermont National Guard jets, but he has promised to advocate for those who are most affected.
Lincoln School District has officially cut ties with Mount Abraham Unified School District, thanks to votes across four towns — Bristol, Monkton, New Haven and Starksboro — that approved the financial details of Lincoln's withdrawal. The vote was closest in New Haven, where 151 residents voted yes and 135 voted no. Lincoln plans to run its own district rather than close its beloved local school.
In Colchester, residents will get a new $16 million recreation center after a majority approved a $6.9 million bond by a vote of 1,763 to 1,316.
“Just cause” eviction protections ran into mixed results around the state. In Winooski, where a landlord announced plans last spring to evict 24 low-income, mostly refugee families from a downtown apartment complex only to later reverse course, the tenant protection was approved by a nearly 3-1 margin. In Essex, the measure passed 570 to 383. But in Brattleboro, the ballot item was defeated 1,221 votes to 656.
Newbury residents were loud and clear about their opposition to the state's plan to convert a former bed-and-breakfast in the town into a juvenile detention facility. A question on its ballot to tell the state that the facility is “not appropriate” for Newbury was approved by a margin of more than 9-1.
In Calais, residents will finally get their damn dam. Voters approved a $350,000 bond to help fund repairs of a failing dam at Curtis Pond. And the selectboard has agreed to provide an additional $100,000 in federal funds. That means "dockstock," the floating pontoon boat concert, is still on.
Lastly, we'd be remiss not to note that history was made in Winooski. Voters elected an entirely LGBTQ+ slate of city councilors, becoming only the second city in the country to do so.
Voters reelected incumbent councilor Bryn Oakleaf, who identifies as queer, with 649 votes. They also elected Charles Judge, who is transgender and was seeking an open council seat, with 578 votes.
Oakleaf and Judge join Thomas Renner, who is gay, and Aurora Hurd, who is bisexual, nonbinary and transgender, as Winooski's city councilors.