The owner of the much-loved Burnett Estate issued a public warning Friday.
In a statement, Jon Delli Priscoli said he is still interested in preserving “the house and maintain the setting as single residence or a boutique bed and breakfast.” But he appears to be reaching the end of his rope.
Priscoli warned that if an agreement isn’t “immediately” reached to address preserving the estate in front of Annual Town Meeting, he “will be forced to entertain the other available options for the property.”
I believe the immediacy of that demand is based on the Town Meeting timeline.
On Tuesday night, the Board of Selectmen officially closed the ATM Warrant. Only they have power to re-open it. If they don’t, new articles, even citizen’s petitions, can’t be added. But there may be an opening for that soon.
At this week’s meeting, the board indicated they would consider reopening the Warrant at their January 19th meeting. (That discussion focused on their possible withdrawal of an article to change Transfer Station fine bylaws.*)
Town Administrator Mark Purple warned the board:
Just be cognizant that if you open up the warrant again and there’s something else waiting, you may be adding more than just one article.
No mention was made of the Burnett House, at least in the public session. I’m not yet privy to what was covered in their closed Executive Sessions that night. (I can tell you that the sessions were closed “to consider the purchase of real property.” But I can’t say what property. And there are other ongoing town projects I could imagine selectmen discussing under that exemption.)
As for the board’s recent actions regarding preservation, estate owner Jon Delli Priscoli, writes:
While there have been several versions of that plan discussed and drafted during over the last year, the most recent version was provided to the Board of Selectmen in mid-November with comments from Mass Historical Commission being provided in late December.
For more background on the property and preservation efforts, click here.
Here is Priscoli’s full statement:
“Seventeen months have passed since I terminated a sale and saved the Burnett House from being demolished and started what I had hoped would be a successful plan to preserve the house and maintain the setting as single residence or a boutique bed and breakfast. I have worked with and negotiated in good faith with the Town of Southborough and am still very interested in arriving at a mutually agreeable framework to enact plan which compliments these goals.”
“While there have been several versions of that plan discussed and drafted during over the last year, the most recent version was provided to the Board of Selectmen in mid-November with comments from Mass Historical Commission being provided in late December. Giving up development rights to this extremely valuable property has financial ramifications associated with it, and the clock continues to tick.”
“I cannot carry this property forever and take the chance that there will be negative financial ramifications to my family and time is becoming a critical issue. There needs to be an agreement in place immediately in order to make it to the floor of the Spring Town Meeting for consideration or I will be forced to entertain the other available options for the property. I sincerely hope we can come to some agreement in time to save this historic landmark.”
*Note: The Transfer Station Warrant Article to be addressed was submitted to the board in the fall by the Green Technology & Recycling Committee. Selectmen were surprised to see the draft warrant marked the article as sponsored by the BOS. It was revised to list the sponsor as the Green Committee. But Selectmen also asked to hear from that committee on the 19th.