Conservation Commission Tentatively Supports EBC Name Change
Westford voters will decide on Saturday.
"East Boston Camps" or "Westford Woods?" Voters will make their decision at the Abbot School on Saturday, and the Conservation Commission has provided them with a recommendation, albeit, one with some reservations and extensive debate.
At their meeting last week, the board voted 5-2 to recommend the petitioned warrant article asking voters to merge the East Boston Camps parcel with the nearby Stepinski Parcel and rename the new property as the Westford Woods.
Still, opinions on the vote were more nuanced than its final tally.
Only Jim Gozzo seemed to truly support the measure outright during the discussion on the issue, with Anne Jefferies and Robert Boonstra opposing it altogether and the other four members of the board supported the concept while holding concerns over the "Westford Woods" name and the use of a bylaw amendment to change the name.
"I agree with folks that is needs to be clearer that it's Westford property, and I appreciate them retaining the name East Boston Camps," said Boonstra. "(However), I can't support the name Westford Woods (because it) sounds like one of those McMansion developments that would have gone there if the Hyams had not bought the property and then the town bought it after that."
Petitioner Robin Connell voiced frustration with the board for what she saw as a lack of appreciation for the attempts from her group to compromise with the board to find a mutually beneficial solution.
"There are people (in this town) who cannot change in any way; this is the way it's going to be, and it's never going to be any other way," said Connell. "(Still,) there are a lot of people who feel they don't know what this parcel is and that they don't know that (taxpayers have) paid for it."
Earlier this week, the Friends of the East Boston Camps sent an e-mail recommending a "no" vote on the article, citing the history of the property over the past 70 years, and that combining the East Boston Camps with the Stepinski Parcel would encourage trespassing through the railroad land that separates the two pieces of land.
CORRECTION: Petitioner Dini Healy-Coffin went before the board, not Robin Connell. It was also Peter Mahler who opposed, not Anne Jefferies.
We apologize for the error, the board did not introduce Coffin to the public as is common with most committee meetings and there was no roll call on the vote, which came in the middle of someone else talking during the meeting, so it was initially unclear.
UPDATE 12:15 p.m. - We've been told the vote was not an official motion, but rather a consensus among the members of the board on how they feel about the issue.
We apologize, this was not made clear during the meeting.