Selectman Kelly Ross on May 27, 2014

Drew Gardens Cease and Desist Order Approved

The following is Part Two of an overview from the May 27, 2014 Board of Selectmen meeting. For Part One, click here.

Video of the meeting will be available on the Westford CAT website.

 

8:13 p.m. – The meeting moved to action on Drew Gardens, beginning with a cease and desist letter regarding recent composting piles that were posted on the property.

Jodi Ross said that Tom Goddard, the owner of the property, was informed about the meeting and that Goddard believed that the composting on the property was allowed.

A question was asked whether or not the property could be stopped from being leased out until compliance with the letter was made. It was unclear, although Peraner-Sweet said they would ask town counsel.

Nancy Morton, the person leasing the property, then came to the microphone saying the lease was executed last week.

Morton said that local residents have been dumping there and that the residents said that Westford allowed dumping there. Morton had been tracking car plates and put up chains to prevent further residents from dumping, although Morton and the Selectmen were in agreement that the larger piles were unacceptable.

Morton then said she went to the Planning Board and added that she was going to do an organic garden, leaving a similar footprint on the property, only bringing back apple trees and greenhouses.

Peraner-Sweet then asked if it was a lease with an option to buy, which it was not.

Morton complained about negative feedback from a recent newspaper article and hoped this would help clarify.

Bill Harmon then came to the microphone talking about confusion regarding an easement on town owned land near the farm between Goddard and the farm, specifically regarding dumping on that town owned land.

Jodi Ross then said that when Eric’s was on the property, the operators during that time frame told residents they could dump then.

Going back to the letter, Sullivan made a motion to send the letter to Goddard and then Hazelton seconded. The motion was unanimously approved.

Selectman Kelly Ross on May 27, 2014

Selectman Kelly Ross on May 27, 2014

8:23 p.m. – Staying with the issue of Drew Gardens, Peraner-Sweet went to the pending Drew Garden Task Force applications, saying that not all members could join the subcommittee, although she said that everyone was welcome to attend the meetings.

The first issue was determining the charge of the committee, which was determined the potential purchase of the property and whether or not a public/private partnership may be worthwhile.

The property is still for sale.

Morton said that the lease term is indefinite and Jodi Ross said a copy of the lease would be needed.

While the charge of the committee was put off to next week, discussion ensued on the makeup of the board.

Peraner-Sweet recommended seven members, five voting members and two alternates. However, no appointments were made.

Dave Carl then came to the microphone urging the appointment of committee to help remove the piles currently on the property and Emily Teller added that action on the property would be presented to Fall Town Meeting, necessitating immediate action to make it onto the Town Meeting warrant.

Morton said she wants to work with the committee, but said it may be too soon for the committee, but said she would comply with everything, including bringing the lease.

The Selectmen then agreed to wait until next week to decide on appointing a committee.

8:32 p.m. – The Farmers’ Market item was continued until June 10.

The board then went to the consent agenda, approving a tree lighting for the Girl Scouts of Westford in November.

8:35 p.m. – Jim Sullivan was appointed as the BOS liaison to the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments.

8:37 p.m. – Jodi Ross gave an update on the Strategic Planning Retreat agenda, saying the event’s presentations would be pared down to obtain more feedback.

She also provided more information on exhibits coming to the event this year.

Support to fund FY15 mosquito control funding was unanimously approved.

8:41 p.m. – The Special Town Meeting calendar was given a look. The warrant will be opened in June, and it will be closed in September.

8:43 p.m. – Jodi Ross then provided updates on two grants, an update with the Planning Board and the agreement with Robert Walker over funding the Fire Department as part of the Cornerstone Square site plan agreement.

8:44 p.m. – Several contracts were approved. The reading of correspondence was waived. The meeting was adjourned.