CHINA — China residents have chosen 20-year member of the Select Board Irene Belanger to serve another two-year term on the board alongside Budget Committee member Wayne Chadwick, who has twice vied for the role. Voters also expressed support for allowing medical marijuana facilities to operate within town lines through a series of referendums.

Irene Belanger Morning Sentinel photo by  Rich Abrahamson

Wayne Chadwick File photo by Meg Robbins

The results for the three-way race for two positions on the Select Board were 494 for Chadwick, 329 for Belanger and 307 for newcomer Todd Tolhurst. Left blank were 254 ballots, and 14 people chose to write in a candidate for the select board, according to Town Clerk Becky Hapgood.

“It was definitely a close race — closer than I’ve ever had,” Belanger said Wednesday. “But I’m very pleased and ready to go to work. There are still a lot of things to do.”

Chadwick, 53, is the owner of W.D. Chadwick Construction company, which has submitted competitive bids to work on town projects in the past. Belanger, 79, served on China’s planning board for 11 years, including as chairwoman, and currently represents China on more than 10 local and regional committees.

Chadwick did not respond to calls seeking comment Wednesday.

“I think he is gonna be a good match,” Belanger said of her new colleague. “I do feel that we’ll be able to work well with Wayne and I’m excited to get into the next two years.”

Chadwick will replace outgoing Select Board Chairman Bob MacFarland, who decided not to pursue reelection this year due to ongoing health issues and wanting to catch up on work with the insulation company he owns. There will be one vacancy on the board, resulting from Selectman Jeff LaVerdiere’s sudden resignation at the beginning of last week. That spot will be filled during the presidential primary in March, or potentially sooner in a single-race ballot.

Selectmen terms in China start immediately. The first meeting with the new board will be on Tuesday, Nov. 12. Meetings are typically on Mondays, but this week’s was moved because Nov. 11 is Veterans’ Day.

 

REFERENDUMS

Voters approved allowing four types of medical marijuana facilities — caregiver retail stores, registered dispensaries, testing facilities and manufacturing facilities — to operate in China, in accordance with state and local requirements. The property lines of those facilities will be required to be set back 1,000 feet from those of preexisting public and private schools after voters approved the suggestion in a 580 yes to 101 no vote.

Residents showed strong support for extended town office hours on Saturdays from 8 to 11 a.m. over Thursdays from 4 to 7 p.m. in a nonbinding advisory question, voting 490 in support of the former and 180 for the latter. The select board will make the final determination at a future meeting about which option will stick, but will take residents’ vote into consideration. Regular town office hours are Monday-Friday 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m.

 

OTHER RACES 

Incumbent Regional School Unit 18 school board member Dawn Castner was formally reelected to a three-year term after receiving no opposition.

Incumbents Kevin Maroon and Robert Batteese Jr. were also reelected in unopposed races to two-year terms on the budget committee. Maroon will represent District 1 and Batteese will be the committee’s chairman. A District 3 seat, vacated by Chadwick, did receive 11 write-in votes, though Hapgood did not release the names of the nominated individuals Tuesday night.

Three open seats on the planning board did not have any candidates this year. Those seats are for District 1, District 3 and alternate at-large. There were 40 write-in votes tallied for the District 1 seat, 14 for the District 3 seat and 35 for alternate at-large. Hapgood also did not release the names of those individuals.

Heath said that write-in candidates with the most votes in each of the races with no declared candidates will be asked if they are willing to serve. If not, the budget committee and planning board can each recommend candidates to the select board, which would then decide whether to appoint those individuals.

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