Last Thursday, the Board of Selectmen dealt with multiple issues related to the Town’s new property, St. Mark’s Golf Course. One of those items is the topic of another joint meeting this Thursday.
The Conservation Commission has yet to decide if it will agree to co-hold the Conservation Restriction for the Golf Course. Co-holding the CR is something that Town Counsel and 4 out of 5 selectmen have advised the committee to do.
But it goes against the position of the ad hoc committee that was created to work on the CR. And several residents submitted letters to ConCom asking them to allow Sudbury Valley Trustees be the sole holder of the CR.
BOS Chair Dan Kolenda told ConCom that he has a high bar for not following advice of Town Counsel on the best actions to protect the Town. Selectman Brian Shea raised the possibility of a future conflict between what golf course management sees necessary to run the course and SVT’s interpretation of the CR. In that case, he posited that having a Town entity as co-holder could mitigate the need for lawyers.
Selectwoman Lisa Braccio advised ConCom on why she took the minority position against co-holding the CR. She envisioned a scenario down the road where the public safety building was in potential conflict with the CR. In that case, she described the conflict of interest if ConCom was in an enforcement role. Town Counsel would be advising selectmen who are responsible for the public safety departments. If ConCom disagreed with Town Counsel, it would need to ask selectmen for permission to hire another attorney.*
A continued discussion is scheduled for February 25th at 8:05 pm.
Prior to last week’s joint meeting, selectmen held their own meeting at the Town house. There, the board approved pursuing funding for Golf Course design and construction through an Article at Annual Town Meeting.
The decision was based on a presentation by the Golf Course Committee. The committee presented plans for keeping the course open and running through construction of the Public Safety Building.
There was no draft article presented and the dollar amount wasn’t specified. But the presentation outlined the need for more than $640,000. It includes construction costs, temporary facilities, and for the redesign and construction of two fairways impeded on by the new safety facility.
For more detail on their presentation, you can read Southborough Wicked Local’s coverage.
Selectmen also approved the management contract for the golf club. The company selected is the same one that has been running the club for St. Mark’s.
As, I previously posted, management recommended changing the golf course name. Selectmen indicated they would like to do that. But, they tabled more discussion on forming a Naming Committee until the full board could be present. (Selectwoman Bonnie Phaneuf was absent.) Expect more discussion on that at their next regular meeting. That is planned for February 6th.
*If that scenario sounds familiar, it’s because the Town struggled over conflicts between the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals in 2016. At the time, Planning maintained that Town Counsel’s advice was constrained by its responsibility advising the ZBA. Selectmen refused to allow Planning to hire outside counsel to advise them on their rights to appeal a ZBA decision.
That led to more problems when Planning filed an appeal against the ZBA and a developer without assistance from any counsel. That led to a counter suit for sanctions by the developer.