Select Board meeting roundup: Legacy Farms HCA amendment passes

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During its Zoom meeting Tuesday night, the Hopkinton Select Board approved a renegotiated host community agreement with Legacy Farms developer Roy MacDowell, which will provide an immediate boost to the School Department’s stabilization fund.

Town Manager Norman Khumalo said there were three key reasons why it made sense for the town to renegotiate.

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“Number one, the school enrollment impacts were upon us,” Khumalo said. “They became an immediate and present need that we needed to address. So having this conversation with the developer in terms of agreeing on the schedule that could support our budget processes was the right thing to do.

“The second issue why I felt it was necessary for the town to get into these negotiations was tied to the legal side of host community agreements. There were new developments legally in terms of case law as well as the [Department of Revenue] requirements that we felt we needed to adjust to better protect the community of Hopkinton.

“Last but not least we had also identified the need to address the public safety issues that are coming up sooner rather than later.”

The new plan, officially Amendment No. 7 to the Legacy Farms Host Community Agreement, includes payments totaling approximately $4.7 million from Legacy Farms.

There will be four payments to the town totaling just over $4 million, with the first payment of $831,300 due within three days of the full execution of the amendment. The remaining payments are due on or before July 30, 2020 (approximately $1.2 million), on or before June 30, 2021 ($1.2 million), and on or before Dec. 31, 2021 ($753,050).

Added Khumalo: “The developer will also pay the sum of $13,190 to the town for the use in the town’s discretion as further mitigation for the project. The idea here is to provide funding that will allow the town to continue to document the impact of Legacy Farms.

“The developer will also make a payment in the amount of $500,000 for the purpose of defraying the design cost of a new public safety facility. This payment will be made by June 30, 2021. In our negotiations with the developer we were looking for an accelerated schedule of making this funding available following Town Meeting’s approval of the design funds for the public safety facility.

“The developer also has committed to making the final payment of $120,000 as mitigation for the costs incurred by the town in dealing with increased demands on its public safety agencies and infrastructure. And this payment will be made on the date of issuance of the certificate of occupancy for the 90th building unit located within a senior housing development.

“Finally, the amendments affirm the payments that have already been made by the developer towards the development Main Street Corridor Project in the amount of $3 million.

“In summary, those are the provisions that I believe are advantageous to the community.”

Select Board member Brian Herr supported the new plan but said residents should be made to feel comfortable the payments will be made on time.

“It’s important that they know that this $4.7 million, which is a serious chunk of cash, is going to be paid and we can rely on it and count on it as we do our budgets and do other things going forward,” he said. “How do we get some assurance that those dates will be good?”

MacDowell jumped in to ensure that he would deliver.

“We would not have made this agreement with you and Norman if we could not perform on it,” he said. “We’d actually be making the first payment within three days of you signing the agreement. We’ve already signed the agreement. So if you sign it tomorrow we’ll probably make the payment by Friday.

“The next payment is due by July 30th. I will tell you, we’re going to make that. I wouldn’t make the agreement if we couldn’t follow through.

“So, to be clear, the [$]500,000 that Norman mentioned, we’re probably paying that a few years in advance of when it possibly could have been due. So we’ve agreed to some things.

“I think we’ve performed in most things if not all things we’ve agreed to. As many of you have noticed, we’re completing the sidewalk on East Main Street, the footings are going in for the traffic lights as we speak on East Main Street, the North Road at Legacy has been paved, the lines have been put in — a few minor touch-ups to get that done. So we’re completing all our obligations, and I can assure you that the payments will be made in a timely fashion.”

Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone said he was in with a number of meetings with town officials as well as MacDowell and he was pleased with the results.

“I know that this is for the best for the town, and it’s nice to see that the town and the developer can come to such a nice agreement,” he said before the motion passed unanimously.

In other news from Tuesday’s meeting:

— Town Meeting, already postponed twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic, was set for Sept. 21.

The Town Election on June 29 remains on as scheduled. Residents are encouraged to vote by mail (click here for details).

— Tim Kilduff, executive director of the 26.2 Foundation, received the support of the Select Board to continue developing plans for a substitute Boston Marathon to be run within Hopkinton in September. The race would be limited to registered runners who are running to raise money for Hopkinton organizations.

Kilduff said he expected there would be 100-125 participants, and he requested the go-ahead to work with town safety and health departments to ensure the race could be held safely.

“We as a board stand behind [Kilduff] and hope that this gets taken care of quickly,” Select Board chair Brendan Tedstone said.

— Hopkinton Health Department director Shaun McAuliffe, in his COVID-19 update, said the town currently has only one active case out of the 120 that have been identified during the pandemic. He said there are no active cases at Golden Pond and Fairview, where leadership has been “responsive and cooperative.”

“As a community we’ve done an exceptional job of working through this pandemic,” he said.

McAuliffe said more than 200 residents have registered for the town’s COVID-19 mobile testing event, which will be held Thursday outside Hopkinton Middle School, and there are openings for additional participants (click here for more information).

— State Senate President Karen Spilka and state Rep. Carolyn Dykema joined the meeting to provide updates on financial and community issues. Tedstone lauded both politicians for their efforts and accessibility.

— The board voted to approve an application for temporary outdoor dining for The Spoon, which joins five other dining establishments that were approved last week. An application for Bittersweet was on the meeting agenda but was put on hold.

— The board voted to accept a gift of $250 to Hopkinton Public Library from the SCORE Worcester chapter to assist with the challenges created by the restrictions of the COVID-19 pandemic. The gift was in recognition of the support the library provides to SCORE, a nonprofit association dedicated to educating entrepreneurs and helping small businesses, by providing a place where volunteers and their clients can meet.

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