The Winthrop Town Council met on Feb. 16, where it provided updates about the upcoming election, zoning, and the town wide cyber attack.
The Town will be hosting elections for Mass. State Rep. on March 2. Postcards will be mailed out to registered voters. Precincts 1, 2 and 5 will be voting at the former middle school. Precinct 4 will vote on Golden Dr. and Precincts 3 and 6 will vote at the Senior Center.
Caller Wendy Millar-Page urged her fellow residents to vote in the upcoming election.
“A local vote affects us directly and affects our day-to-day life,” she said. “These are the things we have to pay attention to. People really need to get out and vote on the second.”
The town recently fell victim to a cyber attack, which impacted all municipal buildings and schools. No data was breached and no equipment was damaged, but the internet was suspended.
The School Committee met on Feb. 8 to discuss the attack. Supt. Lisa Howard has been working closely with Comcast and the Dept. of Homeland Security in order to investigate causes and build a more robust system moving forward.
Police Chief Terrence Delahanty reported that his department will continue monitoring activity.
Asst. Town Manager Anna Freedman added that costs related to the attack were still being tabulated, but that the town’s insurance provider will likely cover some of them.
The Rules & Ordinance Committee and the Economic Development Committee met for a joint meeting on Feb. 11, where they made the recommendation to extend the Center Business District (CBD) across Pauline St. to the middle school site. However, the committees want to ensure that the Waldemar Ave. side of the parcel remain residential.
“Thank you to the committees for their work on the middle school zoning and for listening to Waldemar Ave. neighbors,” said resident Peter Gil during the public comment portion of the evening.
Caller Kathleen Capuccio was less enthusiastic, noting that the site was originally voted on seven years ago.
“It’s embarrassing that councilors are patting themselves on the back for making decisions with no weight over the past couple of months,” she said. “No one should be proud of what’s going on right now. Shame on the town council and shame on anyone that thinks that you’ve done great work.”
In response to public input around commercial vacancies, the committees also recommended changing the mixed-use policy in the town’s Zoning Code. This means there would be no areas with only commercial frontage.
In addition, the committees decided to eliminate the Payment In Lieu of Parking provision in the CBD. The argument is that property owners can simply pay the town in order to get out of providing parking.
The Dept. of Public Works will enter Phase 2 of the CBD project in March.
There are immediate openings on the Airport Hazards Committee; the Commission for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Relations; and the Winthrop Planning Board.
The library is offering take-and-make craft bags for children on a first-come first-served basis. It is also providing federal and state tax forms.
The Senior Center continues to provide food and prescription delivery to homebound seniors. Call 617-846-8538.
Motor vehicle excise bills will be issued by the Treasurer in the mail. Payment will be due by March 29. Boat excise bills can now be paid online.