Editor’s note: Annual Town Meeting takes place on Saturday, March 25 at 10 a.m. at the Abbot School, 23 Depot. St., Westford.
Regarding the annual Town Meeting article to amend the Agricultural Preservation Restriction for one parcel of the Drew Gardens property, voters should consider the following:
The attorney for the applicant asserts that they are not seeking to overturn the Agricultural Restriction on one of the parcels, just to “amend” it. This is a legal trick to get around what the town thought it was spending over half a million dollars for – preserving the entire property for agricultural uses only. If Town Meeting votes to allow this, it sets a precedent that these paper restrictions on land have little or no meaning to Westford “town government” and can be “amended” for whatever purpose “town government” chooses. How does an asphalt plant on formerly “protected” land sound? If the town is not willing to stand by its commitments for land it has protected, then the town should stop wasting tax dollars to purchase these pieces of paper.
Voters at Town Meeting would be well advised not to approve this “amendment” to the APR. The article seeks to circumvent the intent of the APR and approval of the “amendment” places all other properties with restrictions on them in jeopardy. The town paid $525 K for those pieces of paper to keep the land as is. The town should not throw away those funds by approving the “amendment” to the APR. Force the applicant to follow the accepted legal procedures to overturn the APR – two thirds vote at Town Meeting and in the state Legislature, etc. — Paul Cully, Patriot Lane