A picture of the debris that suddenly appeared at Drew Gardens in mid-May, 2014

Voters Turn Down Drew Gardens Purchase, But Keep Its Task Force Going

The following is part of a transcript from the Oct. 20, 2014 Westford Special Town Meeting. For other parts of the meeting, click here.

8:37 p.m. – Some people began to leave as the warrant went to Article 7, which addresses the purchase of the former Drew Gardens property.

A picture of the debris that suddenly appeared at Drew Gardens in mid-May, 2014

A picture of the debris that suddenly appeared at Drew Gardens in mid-May, 2014

The Selectmen have recommended not to purchase the property.

Selectman Scott Hazelton explained this as several more people left the auditorium.

Hazelton gave several reasons the town shouldn’t purchase the land ranging from difficulties retaining the agricultural restriction to maintenance issues to monetary issues.

Hazelton also said that enforcement of the removal of the compost piles on the property could be enforced without buying it.

Denali Delmar of Dunstable Road spoke in opposition, citing the former apple orchards at the property and requested that the task force take whatever measures possible to restore the orchard.

Harde said that would have to be a resolution since the motion is to dismiss.

More people began to leave.

Harde advised that resolutions are not binding.

Hazelton had a point of order, citing that the Drew Gardens Task Force is limited period committee, so the amendment was placed under the care of the Selectmen.

Emily Teller asked if the task force could be continued.

Hazelton said that the task force’s reason for existing was to look at purchase of the land, which would be moot after today, but it could be revisited.

An unspecified person went to the supporting microphone asking a question whether there was a buyer for the property, Harde said there was.

Town Manager Jodi Ross said that the current business wanting to buy the property is a composting operation, but the courts would have to go before the town for permitting to permit there.

The business may decide it doesn’t want to buy the property if it can’t place compost there, but the town cannot force an apple orchard there as it does not own the property.

Kate Hollister reiterated Ross’ point.

The resolution given by Delmar failed after a non-unanimous voice vote.

Teller asked if the task force could keep on going and made a resolution to that affect.

Jim Geraghty of Preservation Way, also the vice chairman of the task force, said that the group unanimously agreed to keep the committee going if the Selectmen wanted to keep it going.

The resolution passed, not unanimously. Some members of the task force voted nay, to some laughter.

Then the motion was moved and passed, with one person in opposition.

The meeting was adjourned at 8:49 p.m.