At Special Town Meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd, Hopkinton voters rejected a proposal to purchase 12 acres of a 43 acre parcel of land at 203 Pond Street for 2 million dollars. The article needed a 2/3 majority vote and failed with 152 residents in favor and 113 against. Several town committees spoke against the purchase of this land including the Appropriation Committee, Community Preservation Committee, Planning Board and Capital Improvements Committee. The town had the right of first refusal to buy the land but needed to make a decision by a March 14 deadline to match the $2 million offer made by developer Diamond Builders. Diamond Builders plans to develop 12 lots on approximately 12 acres.
The remaining 32.4 parcel of land will be conveyed to the Sudbury Valley Trustees. The land will be permanently protected and will result in a new public amenity and improved access to the Upton State Forest.
Special Town Election – Tuesday, March 10 – The Special Town Election was still held on March 10, because once an election has been scheduled, it cannot be canceled. However, the results were moot because the land purchase already failed at Town Meeting on March 3. In order for the land purchase to go forward it needed to pass at BOTH a town meeting and a town election before the March 14 deadline.
Educate Hopkinton will be live tweeting from the event as usual, follow us @educate01748.
A 2/3rds majority vote is required for the town to purchase 203 Pond Street. All registered voters are invited to participate, but you must attend the meeting IN PERSON to vote.
The town has the right of first refusal to purchase land at 203 Pond Street for $2,000,000 and must make a decision by March 14. In order to go through, it must pass both at Town Meeting 3/3 and Town Election 3/10.
A Yes Vote on Question 1 means:
The town will acquire 32 acres of land at 203 Pond St designated as “Lot 13 – Open Space Parcel” in the subdivision plan.
A Yes Vote on Question 2 means:
The town will acquire 8 acres of land at 22 School St. This gift is contingent on the town purchasing all of the 203 Pond St land.
A Yes Vote on Question 3 means:
The town will purchase for $2,000,000 the remaining 12 acres of land at 203 Pond St designated as “Lots 1-12” in the subdivision plan. A 2/3rd’s majority vote is required. This purchase would be a debt exclusion override and would also require a vote at the polls on 3/10.
A No Vote means:
The sale to developer Diamond Builders will go forward. The developer’s plan, already approved by the Planning Board, is to build a 12-lot subdivision with a maximum of 12 buildings to be built on the site, with the remaining 32 acres designated as open space.
Special Town Election – Tuesday, March 10 – A simple majority vote is required for the town to purchase 203 Pond Street via a Debt Exclusion override. This is a regular ballot vote at the polls.
Watch town moderator Bruce Karlin and guests on HCAM-TV explain 203 Pond Street ahead of the upcoming special town meeting on Tuesday, March 3 at 7:00pm in the Hopkinton Middle School Auditorium: Video Link
At a Special Town Meeting coming up on Tuesday, March 3 voters will have the chance to decide whether to exercise the town’s right of first refusal on the purchase of land at 203 Pond Street for $2 million. The town has the right of first refusal to buy the land because of the 42.3 acre property’s designation as forest under Mass General Law Chapter 61A. The town has only 120 days to make a decision, so a Special Town Meeting will have to be held in March, rather than waiting for Annual Town Meeting in May. According to the 12-lot subdivision plan for the land approved by the Planning Board, 32 of the acres will be designated as open space, with a maximum of 12 buildings to be built on the site. The land sits between Whitehall State Park and the Upton State Forest. A group called “Whitehall Woods Alliance,” which supports the purchase of the land by the town, has recently been formed. Several alliance members are raising funds and seeking grants to fund part of the purchase price, however, Hopkinton’s Community Preservation Committee (CPC) recently rejected a $600,000 request to fund part of the land purchase. In a recent development, the Ora Cheney Estate has offered to give the town eight acres on School Street for open space contingent on the town buying the Pond Street land. Two selectmen (Cestari and Coutinho) have had to recuse themselves from votes on the the Pond Street land because they are abutters to the School Street land.