Recruiting for committees on Golf Course CR and disposition of Fayville Hall

by beth on September 21, 2017

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Above: Committees are being put together to move forward with voter-authorized sale of one property and purchase of another. (image left by Susan Fitzgerald, right posted to Facebook by Neil A. Theriault)

At the same time, as the clock is ticking for the Town to decide whether or not to match an offer on a 27.8 acre parcel of land, the Town is seeking three volunteers to deal with the purchase and sale of two other parcels.

I’ll be posting about the potential of the new parcel tomorrow.* Today, the focus is on the new ad hoc committees that the Town is recruiting members for. (The deadline to volunteer is September 27th. So that’s more pressing.)

The bulk of membership for the two committees will be representatives from other Town committees. But selectmen are also seeking one at large member per group. Plus, for one group, they will also appoint a representative of a land trust.

Golf Course Conservation Restriction Committee

To finalize the Town’s purchase of the Golf Course from St. Mark’s, a Conservation Restriction needs to be put in place. That was a condition of the Article approved by Town Meeting voters. Based on discussion at this week’s Board of Selectmen meeting, it appears getting consensus on the CR has proven complicated.

It seems there has been some back and forth and communication issues among committees, abutters, and attorneys. In an effort to expedite, the BOS approved forming a committee to work through the details.

Initially, Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf pushed for a joint committee meeting with the public to air out all issues and move ahead. But Open Space Preservation Commission Chair Freddie Gillespie argued that not much work gets done in joint meetings. She maintained that sitting around a table as a working group is necessary to work through the nitty, gritty details.

In the end, the board voted to appoint an ad hoc committee which, in addition to reps of relevant committees, includes one at-large resident (with preference given to an abutter) and one representative of a land trust.

The delegates from other town boards will be one member each from OSPC, Conservation Commission, Recreation Commission, and the Golf Course Committee.

Fayville Hall Disposition Committee

In April, voters gave the Board of Selectmen authority to sell 40 and 42 Central Street – Fayville Hall and the adjacent parking lot. The Town has yet to act on that. Now selectmen are looking to move ahead with plans.

At the Annual Town Meeting, preservationists pushed for selectmen to commit to making an effort to preserving the historic building.** A bylaw passed earlier that evening expanded property owners’ use options if they preserve the facade. Selectmen said that preservation would be taken into consideration. But the only commitment they would make is that the process would be public.

They are keeping that promise. The board is putting together a committee to review an Request for Proposals before it is issued. An RFP could allow the Town the chance to look at options and potentially choose one that suits the Town’s needs best rather than the highest offer.

It is worth noting that Southborough Youth and Family Services are still based out of the building. But the Town is working on plans to relocate the small department. And with Southborough Access Media relocated to Trottier, the Town has been solely responsible for the utility and upkeep costs alone.

The RFP that will be reviewed for selling the property must be “within the parameters of the article as approved by Town Meeting”. The committee is also charged with “the necessary steps to achieve this purpose.”

In addition to reps of relevant committees, the group will include one at-large resident. The delegates from other town boards will be one member each from: Recreation Commission, Economic Development Commission, Southborough Housing Opportunity Partnership Committee (SHOPC), and the Historical Commission.

Apply by September 27th

The Town is asking volunteers for each committee to submit applications by Wednesday, September 27th. Applicants are encouraged to use the online application. (Click here.)

*There’s no school today – which means my kids are home and starting to climb the walls. So, I just can’t find the time to do justice to a post on 135 Deerfoot Road today.

What I can preview is that no board had yet voted (as of Tuesday night) to support the Town buying the land. But multiple committees were pushing to take a better look at the opportunity and what should be done. And many were recommending that Town voters make the call. A Special Town Meeting may be called for the end of November.

But given the comment from the only abutter who spoke on Tuesday (and believed she was speaking for many), any attempt for the Town to buy the land may get pushback from the neighborhood.

**Wondering how “historic” Fayville Village Hall is? You can read The Massachusetts Historical Commission record here, courtesy of the Historical Society’s website. (Spoiler, the almost 100 year old building was the community center for the village, hosted WWI war relief efforts, and served as a health center with tent hospital to handle the 1918 influenza epidemic.) 

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