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Concord to revisit ban on water bottles

For the fifth time in four years, Concord residents will vote on the sale of plastic water bottles in town.

Resident Michael Benn has submitted a citizen’s petition for the Dec. 4 Special Town Meeting that seeks to repeal the bylaw that bans the sale of single-serving plastic water bottles in town. Benn needed 100 signatures to get the article on the warrant; Town Clerk Anita Tekle certified 149.

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Residents approved the bylaw at Town Meeting in April 2012. It was approved by the attorney general’s office later that year and went into effect on Jan. 1. Since then, restaurants, stores, and other retail establishments have not been allowed to sell single-serving plastic bottles of water.

A proposal to repeal the ban was considered at the annual Town Meeting in April, but was narrowly defeated, 621 to 687.

The proposal first came up in April 2010, when resident Jean Hill submitted a petition to ban the plastic bottles. It was approved at Town Meeting, but the article’s wording did not meet the legal standards for a bylaw, and was rejected by the state attorney general’s office.

The revised proposal was turned down in April 2011, 265 to 272, and then passed a year later by a vote of 403 to 364.

“All the votes have been close and that’s what’s driving this divisive issue,’’ Tekle said.

Supporters see the ban as a way to reduce waste and improve the environment, while opponents say it takes away the freedom of choice and encourages the consumption of less healthy options, such as soda.

There are three articles on the Special Town Meeting warrant. The others are related to a land purchase for a school bus transportation facility, and an easement for the regional Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.

The meeting will convene at 7 p.m. on Wednesday,Dec. 4 at Concord-Carlisle Regional High School.

J. Fenn Lefferts

Jennifer Fenn Lefferts can be reached at jflefferts@yahoo.com.
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