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Canton Town Meeting to decide senior issues tonight

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  May 13, 2013 12:49 PM

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Canton’s selectmen chairman sees two major issues facing voters at tonight's Annual Town Meeting, both affecting senior citizens.

Voters will decide whether to approve $1.3 million in year-end free cash to renovate the former Knights of Columbus building on Pleasant Street into a new senior center.

“The board of selectmen supports the free cash for the senior center,” said chairman Robert Burr Friday.

Canton’s current senior center is in the basement of the Canton Housing Authority senior housing at 660 Washington Street and has been there for the past 25 years.

Council on Aging Director Diane Tynan said in January that the space was too small for the council’s needs.

Canton purchased the former Knights of Columbus building at 500 Pleasant St. for $450,000 in 2012.

The other major issue voters face will be the possibility of nearly 200 units of senior housing on Route 138, which would require a zoning change, Burr said.

Selectmen are still undecided about whether they support the measure because it is unclear how the development will affect Canton’s percentage of affordable housing. Canton’s is teetering at 10 percent, the threshold that would allow the town to avoid developments under the state’s 40B affordable-housing law, allowing developers to bypass local zoning ordinances.

The development would contain assisted-living units and independent units, and would open as early as January 2015, according to Burr.

Burr said he doubted whether articles related to the former Plymouth Rubber site near downtown would be voted on during this Town Meeting, as more work needs to be done by the developer and town consultants.

Site owner Canton Development Properties, owned by the Napleton Group in Illinois, hopes to construct a 348-unit development in exchange for cleaning up the long-contaminated site.

Canton’s Town Meeting begins at 7 p.m. at the Canton High School Auditorium.

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