By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Select Board did not set a date for the a Special Town Meeting at its meeting on Monday, 9/27/21, due to complications with timing, the budget process, and a 61A land parcel.
The property at 372 Sconticut Neck Road, owned by David Hebert, has a purchase and sale agreement. The town has the Right of First Refusal to buy the land because it has been receiving a tax break for agricultural use. Town Meeting will have to vote on the acquisition, and the town must adhere to a timetable to comply with the statute.
However, Town Counsel Thomas Crotty said there were problems with the P&S. He said the purchase price is not clear due to a discount being offered if the property is cleaned up. In another spot, Mr. Crotty said he thought there was a typo. He also said he believed the pages got “mixed up.”
He went through several possibilities on how to handle the problems.
He said the town’s Conservation Agent has already expressed an interest in having the town buy the parcel.
Finance Director/Treasurer/ Collector and Interim Town Admnistrator Wendy Graves advocated for a January or February STM, but that pushes the timeline out too far to acquire the parcel.
Mr. Crotty said, however, that the P&S is not correct, so it could reset the timeline to when the new P&S is completed.
The board decided to have Mr. Crotty send a letter to Mr. Hebert and his representatives explaining the P&S is not acceptable.
The board tabled a decision on buying the land and on setting a date for the STM until the next meeting.
The board also gave the nod to Veterans Agent Brad Fish, who asked permission to start planning for a Veterans Day parade. Mr. Fish said he would understand if the COVID situation changed and it had to be canceled, but it would be harder to try to plan the parade at the last minute, than possibly cancel it.
Because it is largely an outdoor event, the board voted to go ahead with the planning.
Selectboard chairperson Bob Espindola referred to Memorial Day when it was clear that it was not easy to “turn it on that quickly.”
The board also had a lengthy discussion with Rogers Re-use Committee members Sue Loo, chairperson, and Doug Brady.
The two advocated for the board to re-engage in talks with SMEC for use of the 1950s addition to the building. Mr. Brady said that Town Counsel had advised that SMEC is not subject to the RFP process because it is a public entity.
Mr. Espindola, however, said the decision was “murkier” than it seemed at first.
“It’s less murky than what you’re making it out to be,” said Mr. Brady to Mr. Espindola.
Mr. Espindola insisted that SMEC speak with Paul Foley, Director of Planning and Economic Development, who is “point of contact.”
Mr. Brady advocated hard for a meeting between the Select Board and SMEC but then pivoted and suggested the board send a letter to SMEC suggesting they meet with Mr. Foley.
“I think I just said that,” said Mr. Espindola.
In the end the board voted to send a letter to SMEC inviting them to speak with Mr. Foley, and outlining the town’s concerns about a pending legal action involving the property, and also informing them of grants Mr. Foley is pursuing for the property.
Click here to download the entire 9/30/21 issue: 09-30-21 CannonFire
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