Selectmen Move on Vose Parcel Conservation Without Mention of Parking
The board discussed the controversial Vose Parcel as well as new sidewalks in the area.
The Board of Selectmen addressed several issues surrounding the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail on Tuesday night, including two issues impacting the long standing debate on parking in the area of Carlisle and Acton roads.
With Westford Conservation Resource Planner Bill Turner fully recovered from illness that prevented him from attending the board’s last meeting, the Selectmen gathered his counsel on how to proceed with a conservation restriction agreed to by the Conservation Commission.
Although the small size of the property (8,500 square feet) made it an unusual choice for a conservation restriction, the Conservation Commission recommended pursuing a restriction approved by the state due to a certified vernal pool near the property, the primary political reason for the move stems from the long standing issue of possible parking in the area for the adjacent Bruce Freeman Rail Trail.
Selectman Kelly Ross, and eventually the other two members of the board in attendance, attempted to balance the needs of neighbors in attendance at the meeting who have long struggled against any parking along the trail in Westford, and the somewhat ambiguous desires of last year’s Spring Town Meeting, which asked for a conservation restriction and removed a prohibition on parking for the lot.
“I want to try and adhere to what Town Meeting said as best as I can,” said Ross.
The motion to pursue the restriction ultimately took no stance on parking at all, without mention of prohibiting or allowing it.
The matter may soon be a moot point due to continued progress on Phase 2A of the trail, and in particular a parking lot just over the border in Acton that would hold 14 parking spaces and has met the support of neighbors near the Vose Parcel and rail trail enthusiasts alike.
Unanimous approval was also gained for work on sidewalks near the intersection of Carlisle and Acton roads, just a few dozen feet away from the Vose Parcel.
The money for the improvements were allocated from $10,000 obtained from the Xavier Lane gift fund and $3,300 from the townwide sidewalk gift fund.