Conservation Commission Okay With Taking Vose Parcel
The matter now goes back to the Tax Possession Sales Committee, which meets on May 17, and appears that it will eventually go before Town Meeting.
In the latest chapter of the ongoing Bruce Freeman Rail Trail parking issue, the Conservation Commission agreed to help place a conservation restriction upon the controversial Vose Parcel.
After a recent discussion by the Tax Possession Sale Committee (TPSC) on how to dispose of the property drew a lengthy debate, a delay was made to see if the parcel could be transferred from its current status as a TPSC property to the ownership of the Conservation Commission.
The idea was brought forth as a way to ensure that the town could keep the property in a natural state while ensuring that people would not congregate near the property per the neighbors’ desires.
“This is a happy solution for all sides, but we’d need to get a legal opinion,” said Conservation Commission member Marilyn Frank. “(Conservation restrictions) are very hard to undo.”
While the transfer would still have to go to Town Meeting, drawing a potential amendment that would defeat the purpose of limiting parking in the area, there was some concern initially over whether the Conservation Commission actually wanted to take the property.
“I just want to make sure that we’re taking this parcel because it has conservation value,” said Conservation Commission member John Cunningham. “I understand that it would have benefit to the neighbors, but I want to make sure that if we take it, conservation value is the reason.”
Westford Conservation and Resource Planner Bill Turner said that there may be difficulty getting a conservation restriction with the Massachusetts Department of Conservation and Recreation due to the small area of the parcel, which is only an acre in size.
Eventually, the Committee unanimously approved to provide a letter indicating that they would be interested in obtaining the property with a conservation restriction from the TPSC, which has indicated it will discuss the Vose Parcel again on the agenda for its next meeting on May 17.