The Plympton Board of Selectmen met Monday, Feb. 12 to continue the discussion regarding the parcel of land off Prospect Road known as the Atwood Property. Ryan Vlaco of BRV I, Inc. in Middleborough, has signed a purchase and sale agreement in the amount of $1 million for the 75.3 or perhaps 113-acre parcel – acreage differs from the earth removal permit application and the plan of land submitted with the application.
Selectman Russo reminded the crowd that the meeting was not an official hearing and no official proceedings were to take place. The public will be notified when, in fact, legal measures will begin to take place on the purchase of the parcel.
After hearing concerns of many Prospect Road and Soule Street residents regarding issues such as unreasonable wear and tear on roads by the estimated 100 gravel trucks per day each hauling a full load of gravel, effect on nearby wells, the tearing up of pristine woodland and damage to the ecosystems of several protected species of birds, reptiles and plants, Beverly Atwood, longtime owner of the property now protected by the Atwood Family Irrevocable Trust, stood to be heard, citing the hypocricy of the group.
“When your children were throwing rocks into our canals, that didn’t bother you and I think the person’s here whose sons were doing that. When somebody else’s sons burned down our bog shed, that didn’t bother you. When some other people put up signs for their horse trails – that didn’t bother you. That’s our property. Nobody ever has come to me and asked permission … And we have never been confrontational about any of it. And now all of you are here, all of a sudden – something’s going to happen to your property … And you people all now are nature lovers! You didn’t give a darn about my bogs when you people trail rode through. Geese – I give them a free ride because they belong there – but you people don’t! None of the rest of you beautiful land people who love the land but have no respect for mine until I want to sell it because my husband is sick … and I have to get this property sold … where were you last year asking me to buy it? Where was anybody three years ago? Nobody! … All of a sudden your playground’s going – the place where you go and don’t ask permission. And now it’s a nature preserve!”
Jennifer MacDonald, 44 Prospect St., spoke to the right of way which her property abuts, saying that it is no way capable of handling 100 trucks per day, and that the deeded right of way is for timber removal, and perhaps the occasional cranberry truck, but to make any changes to the right of way would require consent from the abutters. She also noted that the gravel trucks cannot negotiate the sharp curve onto Prospect Road in either direction and would need to go forward onto Marie Elaine Drive and Tobey Lane, through thickly settled residential areas, to make the turn. MacDonald continued to say that if she’d known the land was for sale, “I would have bought it!”
Gail Knight of Winnetuxet Road empathized with Mrs. Atwood, saying that she would feel the same if people were abusing her property.
Russo told Mrs. Atwood that the process (of coming out of Chapter 61) would take time. “One of the consequences of putting land into Chapter is that you save on taxes, and you complicate the sale in the end,” Russo said.
According to state law, land that has been protected and held under any of various “Chapter” titles, such as 60, 61, 61A must be offered back to the town before it can be sold. The town may then exercise its option of first refusal.
This 75.3 to 113-acre parcel of has raised many questions for the residents of Prospect Road and surrounding areas in last week’s meeting. Selectman Mark Russo attempted to address citizen concerns.
A list of priorities regarding the project were announced beginning with contacting town council to address a letter to the current owner of the land to establish communication. Next, the board discussed clarifying the boundaries of the project and verifying that the land for sale is entirely owned by the seller.
Plympton assessors are working to determine the boundaries of the project Linda Leddy and Ami Dion of the Open Space Committee will begin volunteer research on agricultural bylaws and legal measures taken in similar towns when dealing with earth removal applications. Following this research, the town may go forth with creating procedures for handling the sale of Chapterland and future applications regarding earth removal operations in the town.
Selectmen plan to “represent all the citizens involved in the project and remain fair,” as stated by Russo, all other board members agreeing.
Selectmen agreed to have Town Administrator Elizabeth Dennehy research a surveillance system to address concerns that water trucks are going onto the Brook Street property earlier than their agreement with the town allows. One abutter noted violations Feb. 6, 7, and 12. Selectman John Traynor suggested a camera system be set up to document these incidents. Russo said he would call Mr. Rose again to let him know. Traynor said that the town should have firm legal documentation of these violations.
Old Town House
The lease between the town and the Plympton Historical Society has been updated and signed by both parties, according to Selectman John Traynor, who asked that copies of the lease be emailed to Society President Jessica Kinsman and the members of her board.
One of the terms of the lease is to have a sign. The current sign was damaged by snow removal equipment. Town maintenance superintendent Sarro has said he will repair the sign and have it re-installed in the spring, after the ground thaws.
Selectmen are seeking volunteers to serve on the Recreation Commission. Anyone interested should contact the selectmen’s office at 781-585-2700.
In other busines
• The board ended the meeting by approving a Best Buddies Bike-A-Thon in June, pending approval by the fire and police departments.
• Selectmen will not meet next week because of the President’s Day holiday on Monday, but will resume their meeting schedule the following week, Monday, Feb. 26, at 6 p.m.
• MRI Consultants, who are working on a review of the Plympton Fire Department, will have a draft of their report by the end of this week.
contributed to this article.