Friday, February 27, 2004
Selectmen accept broad wording for Parcel A use
The deadline for publishing the Warrant for the Special Town Meeting on March 23 was one week away, but there was still little agreement on how to word the Article for purchase of the 45-acre Parcel A on South Street.
The Selectmen and other town boards generally supported the land purchase, using Community Preser-vation Act (CPA) funds, but opinions diverged on how specifically the uses of the land should be defined. The same issue was also holding up the Purchase and Sale (P&S) agreement between the town and the Carlisle Conservation Foundation (CCF), which holds the option to purchase the land.
The P&S agreement had gone through several iterations, as various town boards and the Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAcom) suggested more specific uses for the land, including details on the acreage and the number of units of affordable housing. Selectmen Doug Stevenson and Tony Allison had expressed concern that the usage was defined too narrowly before any substantial planning process could take place. In response, the Board of Selectmen had proposed an alternate Warrant Article, providing to finance the land purchase without CPA funds.
On Tuesday the Selectmen reviewed a new version of the purchase and sale agreement. The document defines an Open Space Parcel of 26 acres and a Remainder Parcel (19 acres) that "may be held, used, and managed by Buyer only for one or more of community housing, open space, and/or recreational use." This broader "and/or" language satisfied the Selectmen. "This gives the town a bona fide opportunity to have a planning process," said Stevenson.
26 units, 1 ballfield
Stevenson then proposed adding two restrictions on usage: a maximum of one ballfield and a maximum of 26 units of housing. David Freedman of the Planning Board objected, "It seems very wrong to put restrictions on the planning process in advance." Noting that any proposed plan will have to be voted at Town Meeting a year from now, Freedman suggested the Selectmen "trust the town to do the right thing."
In spite of this objection, the Selectmen passed a motion to approve the wording of the P&S agreement, with the addition of the two restrictions proposed by Stevenson. They agreed they will sign the purchase and sale, assuming the CPAcom accepts their changes, once they have reviewed the motion to be presented at the Special Town Meeting.
Since CPA funds are involved in the proposed purchase, the Warrant Articles and the motion at Town Meeting must be written by the CPA Committee. The Selectmen can only give guidance as to preferred wording.
Special Town Election cancelled
As the new language satisfied the desire to avoid over-restricting the planning process, the Selectmen agreed to eliminate the proposed second Article for the Special Town Meeting Warrant (land purchase without CPA funds) and to cancel the Special Town Election that would have been required if a debt exclusion vote were needed. In addition, Article 1 was amended to define the acquisition as "for the purpose of open space, open space recreation, and/or (previously it was "and") community housing.
© 2004 The