CHINA: Chadwick, Belanger win selectboard seats

by Mary Grow

In Nov. 5 voting, China voters elected Irene Belanger and Wayne Chadwick to the selectboard and approved medical marijuana facilities in town as long as they are at least 1,000 feet from the property line of any pre-existing school.

In a three-person contest for two seats on the selectboard, Chadwick got 494 votes, incumbent Belanger 329 votes and Todd Tolhurst 307 votes.

There were no names on the ballot for three planning board positions. Town Clerk Becky Hapgood said there were write-in votes for all three positions. She will ask the people whose names were added if they are willing to serve.

There were three unopposed incumbents; Budget Committee Chairman Robert Batteese got 564 votes, Budget Committee District 1 representative Kevin Maroon got 533 votes and Regional School Unit #18 Director Dawn Castner got 535 votes.

Vote tallies on the four questions about allowing different medical marijuana operations were as follows:

  • Caregiver retail stores, yes 415, no 272.
  • Registered dispensaries, yes 419, no 268.
  • Testing facilities, yes 390, no 295.
  • Manufacturing facilities, yes 380, no 308.

Each question added “provided they operate in compliance with all state and local requirements.”

Furthermore, on the next question voters required a 1,000-foot setback between the property lines of any of the above facilities and any pre-existing public or private school, by a vote of 580 yes to 101 no.

The final local question, identified as advisory only, asked if voters preferred extended town office hours Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. (the current schedule) or Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. Hapgood said 490 votes were cast for Saturday morning and 180 for Thursday afternoon/evening.

A total of 699 votes were cast, Hapgood said. China had 2,947 registered voters when the polls opened and gained a few more during the day.

Those coming to the town office during polling hours were not allowed to enter the driveway off Lakeview Drive, but were rerouted via Alder Park Road to the back entrance. The change was explained as a way to prevent traffic accidents as drivers made left turns off the highway. Hapgood said there were no accidents this year.


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