PLYMPTON – Things are moving quickly on the Atwood property file, as they should be.
Town Officials are scrambling to “do things right” and meet state-imposed deadlines as the Board of Selectmen, on the recommendation of the Open Space Committee and the Prospect Road working group, work to acquire this 113-acre agricultural property on Prospect Street for open space, preservation and recreation.
The land, which is now a Chapter 61A property that provides a significant tax-break for agricultural use, is being sold and its use is slated to change, triggering the ability of the Town to exercise its right of first refusal to buy the property, under the law.
At a July 16 Selectmen’s meeting and hearing on the topic, the board voted to exercise that right.
On Monday, July 23, Selectmen voted to sign a purchase and sales agreement, and formally notified the seller that the Town was exercising its option to purchase, according to Elizabeth Dennehy, the Plympton Town Administrator.
Tara Shaw, the town clerk notarized the documents.
Next, Dennehy says the Town has either 90 days from the July 16 meeting or 90 days from the July 23 signing to call a Special Town Meeting to approve the final sale. Town Counsel is researching the exact timing.
Linda Leddy, co-chair of the Open Space Committee, indicated the STM would likely be held in September, while Dennehy suggested that it could be much sooner.
In the meantime, the Community Preservation Committee will meet to accept the project that Open Space will sponsor, and approve approximately $300,000 in CPC funds to help buy the 113 acres. Once the purchase is complete, the town plans to sell three house lots totaling 4.5 acres fronting Prospect Street, raising approximately $435,000 toward the purchase price and private donations covering the rest of the $800,000 sale price will be raised.
According to Selectman Mark Russo, who is also chairman of the Community Preservation Committee, $25,000 has been raised in private donations, as of mid-July.
The hearing on July 16 saw unanimous support for the project from those in the audience. The Plympton population will have an opportunity to vote on the purchase at the special town meeting to be scheduled for that purpose.