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Community Preservation Committee roundup: Project extensions approved; ‘War on Japanese knotweed’ discussed

by | Jul 16, 2023 | Featured: News, News

The Community Preservation Committee at its meeting Thursday approved several extensions until next July 1 for projects that previously were awarded funding.

Trail Coordination and Management Committee chair Peter LaGoy requested that the three projects he requested extensions for be approved. The Pond Street parking project is nearly completed but needs to be extended to complete additional drainage work on the roadway. The middle school cross country course work also “is mostly done.”

LaGoy explained that the engineering for the trail to the Chamberlain-Whalen development is nearly complete. He also is in the process of applying for a notice of intent for bridge work there, which then will be reviewed by the Conservation Commission. There is an easement on the land.

Later in the meeting, CPC chair Ken Weismantel told LaGoy that he needed to present easement requests or written permission for his proposal for CPC funding for engineering work for the proposed western alternative trail before money is spent on the project. He said concerns were raised by three people who attended a TCMC meeting last month that money should not be spent until landowner approval was received.

Said Weismantel: “I assured all those three people that that is our understanding, and I want to make sure it’s your understanding, Peter.”

Replied LaGoy: “It’s absolutely my understanding, and we do have written permission.”

Weismantel also said that concerns were raised to him that the $40,000 trail route is now “significantly different from what was proposed at Town Meeting.”

“And I’m hoping that’s not the case,” said Weismantel, “because we sold [Town Meeting members] a route that doesn’t go on streets.”

LaGoy responded that the proposal was for it to begin on town-owned land west of the Hughes property. It would continue to land west of the Charlesview property and then connect to the Mastroianni property. He noted that an agreement has not yet been reached on the Gorman property, which generated discussion. The Gorman property was not included in the funding request, he added.

“You’ve got to get Gorman, or we’re not spending any money,” stressed Weismantel. “We don’t want to spend money on a segment of a trail that doesn’t go anywhere without all the pieces potentially in place.”

LaGoy said he would reach out to the Gormans for clarity. A second option would be to go through Daniel Road, and the engineering work would facilitate either option. Weismantel said he didn’t think the residents of the Daniel Road neighborhood “would be too pleased.”

An update will be given at the next meeting.

In a phone interview on Friday, Weismantel said that he didn’t believe that the Gorman property would be accessible for the western route.

“The Upper Charles Trail Committee looked at having a trail go through that property four or five years ago,” he explained. “Mr. Gorman said, ‘No way, no how.’ ”

Weismantel also said he didn’t believe an alternative route proposed through Daniel Road would fly with the neighborhood.

“People didn’t want that as a connection point,” he noted. “It’s a tight-knit community, and they will organize against it.”

He added that there was an issue in the 1990s at the end of Daniel Road where a pump station had to be installed.

“He’s getting everyone excited about the western route,” Weismantel said. “But he hasn’t talked to the Gormans. We have conditions in place that if you want to put something on somebody else’s land, you have to talk to them first and have to have a statement that they are willing to discuss the land purchase or an easement.”

Parks & Recreation Department requests discussed

The Parks & Recreation Department submitted the bulk of the extension requests for projects that are in process. Parks & Rec Commission chair Dan Terry spoke of the progress made on the seasonal boat dock for Lake Maspenock. The application for the project had been held up while it was awaiting a file number from the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection, which it received in late June. The Conservation Commission approved the project once the number was received.

Terry explained that he would like to keep the request open for the $25,000 irrigation project at Pyne Field, which will include the proposed cricket pitch there. There also will be security cameras installed.

Engineering work for the bathrooms at EMC Park has been stalled, he added, because a contractor has not yet taken on the project. Terry said he hoped that by the end of the summer, a permanent Parks & Rec director would be hired and the effort can resume to hire a contractor.

Terry also announced that a bid was received on the skate park project at EMC Park

Work has been completed on the turf at the lacrosse field wall, with free labor provided by the Massachusetts Laborer’s Training Union. Terry asked to extend the project in case there are any outstanding bills. All the requests were approved unanimously.

Historical Commission extensions granted

Three requests were made by the Historical Commission for extensions. Regarding the McFarland Sanger House, member Eric Sonnett said that “at least another year” would be needed because the property currently is being negotiated for sale.

Sonnett noted that funding had been taken away from the project, so there is only enough left to cover the closing costs. Member Jim Ciriello said the commission took money back previously because it was not being used and so it could be allocated to other projects.

Weismantel agreed with Ciriello about this project, which was first allocated funding in 2015.

Said Weismantel: “If you ain’t got it done now, you ain’t gonna get it done.”

Despite this comment, Sonnett made a motion to approve the extension for this project and two others that was unanimously approved. The other two projects — the Route 85 stone bridge rehabilitation project and the work on the Aikens Park Trail to Stone Bridge — are “in process” and would require another year to complete, according to Sonnett.

Cemetery Commission’s headstone project request approved

The commission unanimously approved a request from the Cemetery Commission to extend the date by which it must expend its funding for the fifth phase of the headstone restoration project until July 1, 2024. There had been trouble in finding someone to perform the work, which caused a delay.

HALT requests approved

Also approved was an extension for three conservation restrictions requested by the Hopkinton Area Land Trust for the Wycoff and Echo, Welzel and East Main Street properties, respectively. Weismantel said the extension was appropriate because “they take forever and a day” to be approved.

‘War on Japanese knotweed’ proposed by resident

During the public comment period, resident Mike Boelsen said he was “interested in starting a war on Japanese knotweed.” He asked how to go about getting funding for it.

“It’s an incredibly invasive plant,” added Ciriello, noting that it is discussed in many Conservation Commission and Open Space Preservation Commission hearings.

Terry said it is “a great idea” but requested that a proposal be drafted by “an appropriate committee or department in town” for consideration. This would ensure that approved chemicals are used and applied correctly.

Boelsen said there is Japanese knotweed at the Fruit Street land and on the ball fields, among other areas.

Larson-Marlowe thanked for her service

Former Planning Board vice chair Mary Larson-Marlowe, who served as the board’s liaison to the committee, was thanked by board members for her dedication to the CPC’s work during her tenure. Her successor will be named at an upcoming Planning Board meeting.

Weismantel thanked Larson-Marlowe for her “quick motions and great discussions.” She noted that she had hoped to continue her service, but she didn’t file papers for an at-large position in time to make the ballot for the May election.

Kelleigh property to be discussed at July 20 meeting

One item that was not considered was a request for a project extension for a grant agreement regarding the Kelleigh property. This request had been made by the Town Manager’s office, but an oversight kept it from making the agenda.

Weismantel offered a public apology to Town Manager Norman Khumalo and to committee members. A brief meeting will be held on Thursday, July 20, to review this request along with a couple of other issues.

2 Comments

  1. Peter LaGoy

    To clarify, with regards to a route crossing Daniel Road, I have met with the neighbors and told them I would not push that route, and that I didn’t think it was a particularly good option. I was making the point that there is an option, even without the Gorman property. The Gorman property is Chapter 61 land, and as such, at some point, the town will have right of first refusal.

  2. Robert Snyder

    I don’t follow Mr. LaGoy’s statement above. Crossing Daniel Road seems to be THE option that avoids using the Gorman property. It seems that both Mr. LaGoy AND the Daniel Road residents are skeptical of that option. Meanwhile, the Chapter 61 status of the Gorman land means that the town of Hopkinton MIGHT have the right of first refusal of that land should the Gormans decide to sell it at some time in the future. Not only is that time frame unknown, but the Gormans could, at that time, opt to buy out of the Chapter 61 agreement and sell the land for the bid and to the bidder of their choice.
    Thus it seems to me that we either have an indefinite waiting period (including never) for the Gorman property, or we need to cross Danial Road with that segment of the UCT.
    Please correct anything I’ve missed about this matter.

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