Future of Vose Parcel Remains in Doubt
The Tax Possession Sales Committee has delayed a decision on how to dispose of the property for the time being.
The debate over the future of the Vose Parcel will continue following the decision to delay any decision on the property from the Tax Possession Sales Committee on Thursday.
Located just north of the intersection of Acton and Carlisle Road on the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, the property has become a source of controversy over the past several months, with a vote on allowing an Eagle Scout to put an information kiosk on the property losing by three votes in a roll call that ended almost an hour of discussion at this year’s Town Meeting.
The property, which is appraised at $2,000 and is approximately the size of the small park adjacent to the Town Common and Parish Center for the Arts at the end of Hildreth Street.
It’s likely too small for any housing or commercial development, although there were still concerns about any development at all from neighbors of the property in attendance.
Brian and Diane Skedd of Landmark Road live a few hundred feet away from the property, and they told the committee and others in attendance that the trail had greatly diminished their privacy, and that allowing anything on the parcel, whether it be a kiosk or a park bench built under the supervision of the Conservation Commission, would create additional stress.
“Nobody in this room has a problem with this going to the Conservation Commission or anyone else as long as it’s left in a pristine state,” said Brian. “We don’t want Disneyland on our doorstep.”
Since the property is valued at under $25,000, the committee can engage in a request for proposal to sell the property outright rather than transfer it to a town department, which would require a Town Meeting vote that could possibly be amended to allow or remove stipulations.
While most observers were from neighborhoods near the property, others such as trail enthusiast Rose O’Donnell, are eager to find a way for the Conservation Commission to obtain final title for the property.
“People who abut the Rail Trail aren’t the only residents in town, and all residents need to be considered,” said O’Donnell. “I hear loud and clear from the neighbors is ‘no parking’, and we’ve come there, but in the end you have to take into account more than that.”
The potential remains that the neighbors could combine into a trust to purchase the property and create a covenant prohibiting any development or that other individuals or groups could purchase the property and develop the property in a way they see fit that means town zoning bylaws.
However, questions surrounding the bidding process, particularly regarding the legality of whether a bid with a lower bid with a stipulation of the property’s subsequent donation to the town would be accepted over a higher bid.
One person in attendance, Sheila Clapp, did say she would bid on the property under the stipulation of donating it back to the town, due to her involvement with area Eagle Scouts and what she saw with the kiosk incident.
“I’ve personally seen the agony through the process, when my son was going to get his Eagle Scout badge, everything went well, but I feel very sorry for that Boy Scout trying to build that kiosk, “said Clapp. “For me, this has nothing to do with parking, and everything to do with Eagle Scouts.”
The matter was tabled at least until after the Conservation Commission has a chance to provide their views on obtaining the property, with the next meeting of that board occurring on May 9.