MWDN: Southborough lacks a process to protect Open Space

by beth on August 12, 2013

Tomorrow night’s joint meeting between the Board of Selectmen, the Advisory Committee, and the Planning Board contains an agenda item to discuss Open Space Management and Barn Hollow.

The Metrowest Daily News ran an in-depth article about the issue behind the item.

It appears that lack of process has allowed spaces originally set aside for the town’s Open Space to fall through the cracks. Residents sometimes abuse the space or unknowingly encroach upon it.

The land parcel designated as Open Space as part of the town’s deal for the Killam Farm Lane development was never voted into acceptance at a Town Meeting. Before the vote, a town commission discovered “rusted-out 50-gallon drums, old car parts, building debris, gas cans, tires and other junk” littering the area near the wetlands. That situation that still exists seven years later.

“Open space always seems to fall through the cracks,” said Meme Luttrell, chairwoman of the Open Space Preservation Commission. “(Promises) aren’t followed up on, because we have no process.”

The commission has been pushing for the town to create a process for years, and it was the commission that told the Planning Board in 2006 about problems with the Killam Farm site.

Now Barn Hollow’s open space allotment is under review after the Open Space Preservation Commission discovered that at least eight home owners are encroaching on the seven acre plot. Encroachments include fences and swingsets. MWDN reports:

“Eight homeowners at the upscale neighborhood received letters in April from the developer, Brendon Homes, informing them they would need to correct the encroachments.”

The report went on to explain that lack of process results in extra expenses to the town.

Read MWDN’s full article by clicking here.

If this is an issue you care about, you may want to show up to Tuesday’s Advisory Committee meeting. Their 6:45 pm meeting in the front hall of the Town House at 6:45 pm includes discussing their position on this issue. At 7:00 pm they will join the Board of Selectmen to discuss the item further with Selectmen and the Planning Board. Click here for the agenda.

1 Just Curious August 12, 2013 at 10:47 PM

It appears there are many individually owned properties in town where homeowners have encroached on open space. Some of this is due to the really silly idea to let the developer designate a narrow strip of land (10 ft wide) between the back yards of homes and to call that strip “open space.” Don;t believe me? Just ask any homeowner on Wildwood Lane! You’d have a hard time just counting all the sheds that are on open pace, let alone all of the fences, compost piles, etc. Personally, I don;t have a problem with any of it, and no, I do not live on Wildwood.

So let’s assume the town starts forcing some people to get their property, structures, etc off of the open space. IS the town required to order ALL people with ANY thing on open space to move it? Can you compel one person and not another?

I don;t know the answer and I do not have open space near me.

Interesting issues ahead.

2 Al Hamilton August 14, 2013 at 7:42 AM

Some times it is better to let sleeping dogs lie. If you think the Gulbankian debacle is expensive for us and the property owners just wait.

3 Joe August 12, 2013 at 11:09 PM

We have enough open space. Open space does not create tax revenue.

4 SB Resident August 13, 2013 at 12:06 PM

It may not create tax revenue, but it doesn’t require much either. It also does have an effect on property values. Not saying it couldn’t be developed better than as open space, but be careful what you wish for.

5 Resident August 13, 2013 at 11:37 PM

Is there any way the town could rent the open space property to the people who don’t want to move their fences/ sheds/ etc?

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