The following is part of the transcript from the Aug. 26, 2014 Board of Selectmen meeting. For other parts of the transcript, click here.
7:00 PM – The board commenced and immediately went into executive session to discuss the former Drew Gardens property.
7:30 PM – The meeting readjourned and began with the Pledge of Allegiance and announcements. Bob Price of the League of Women Voters asked if his group could put signs advertising Town Meeting on town land, the Selectmen unanimously approved.
There was also an announcement about a facilities meeting on Sept. 11.
7:33 PM – Attorney Joseph Devlin presented Dinish Patel, who has entered an agreement to take over Towne Convenience on Groton Road.
There was a request to transfer the Wine and Malt, Section 15 Retail Package Store License to Patel from Michael Marcotte of Towne Convenience.
Selectman Don Siriani asked a procedural question and the request was unanimously approved.
7:40 P.M. – The board heard a request from Joe Gleason of Verizon to move a pole near the corner of Bradford Street and Canal Street that was near a driveway.
Selectman Kelly Ross asked Gleason who called Gleason, because the town had been constantly asking about double poles and would like to know who to call about double poles.
Gleason said there is a 900 number to a man named Robert Coulter in Andover. Gleason recommended calling Coulter. Ross asked if this could be done to at least for one call.
Gleason said much work is being done in Forge Village, and other areas should be focused upon, specifically poles where Verizon is the last company off the pole.
The request was unanimously approved.
7:42 p.m. – Town Manager Jodi Ross reopened a discussion item about an old fire station in Graniteville as surplus property. It was initially going to be declared as surplus in July, but it was requested that notice to abutters was given before that declaration be made.
Siriani appreciated that notice was given to abutters, and hoped more input could be obtained from neighbors, particularly if something of use could be made at the site.
Board of Selectmen chairwoman Andrea Peraner-Sweet asked for public input.
Terry Stader, acting as a resident and not as Westford’s Veterans’ Agent, asked if the town would donate the building to the American Legion Post adjacent to the property.
He said the building would be used as a function hall and used as a rental unit and use it for functions that cannot be made at their current location.
Proceeds from the Post from earlier events are reinvested into the community.
Selectman Scott Hazelton asked what the appraised value was, with Jodi Ross saying it was approximately $360,000.
Price asked if the septic system was functioning, Jodi Ross said she was unsure if it was functioning well enough to be a function hall, as it had not been used for many years.
Hazelton said that parking may be an issue as well.
Stader said that the Healey Oil Company has offered extra parking at their building nearby for afterhours.
Mike Perron of 55 Broadway Street, a neighbor, came to the microphone asking to preserve the property since much has been lost in the neighborhood such as Parent’s Market and the mills down the street.
He hoped that the character of the property could be preserved and said that even now it’s too noisy in the area.
Jane Calvin of 64 Broadway Street echoed Perron’s concerns and requested a more thoughtful process in the sale, indicating there was no rush to the sale and that there were some people who would have been here if they knew the meeting was occurring tonight.
Peraner-Sweet clarified that the only decision being made tonight was classifying the property as surplus property so a decision could eventually be made with the property.
Jodi Ross said she thought the Selectmen requested her to sell the property, although a Request for Proposals could be offered rather than a sealed auction for the property.
She confirmed that no action would be made tonight and a donation would require Town Meeting action, and the warrant closes next week.
Hazelton asked the neighbors if they had gotten together and if they was an opportunity they’d like to have.
Some neighbors in the audience said yes, Hazelton said if the neighbors wanted more input, they could wait.
Siriani looked at a map projected and said that image showed the density of the area and how significant each building in the area was.
He said it was a good idea to have the neighbors and others to investigate other uses for this building and that a decision to declare the building as surplus be delayed.
Selectman Jim Sullivan said it was okay to declare the building as surplus, but that a sale should be delayed until neighbors provide their input.
Peraner-Sweet said that no matter what is chosen by neighbors, the property would need to be declared as surplus if anything could happen with the property. She agreed that the neighbors should provide their input before any action beyond a surplus declaration was made.
Stacy Perron of 55 Broadway Street, formerly of the Westford Historical Commission, mentioned that the building is in the Graniteville Historical District and that would need to be taken into account.
Sullivan made a motion to declare the property as surplus property, but that no further action be made right away.
Siriani asked what the change in status would be. Jodi Ross said that the building could not be sold without it being classified as surplus.
Selectman Kelly Ross asked if the building could be taken out of surplus and Jodi Ross said it could be.
Kelly Ross said that what helped in a similar process on Main Street was a deadline and asked if three weeks was enough time.
Peraner-Sweet said that this could be decided upon by Sept. 16 and the Selectmen are meeting then.
Siriani thought three weeks might not be enough, and Peraner-Sweet said it could be delayed beyond that, although deadlines might help the process.
Sullivan’s motion was unanimously approved.
Peraner-Sweet asked the neighbors to meet and let the Selectmen know what their ideas are and said that the town could provide any information that is needed.
Calvin asked if a formal town committee was needed. Jodi Ross said that it would be up the Selectmen whether residents would be included.