PLYMPTON– On Monday, May 9, Plympton selectmen met briefly.
Jeff Randall of Ring Road appeared before the board with his attorney, Stephen McLaughlin, this time stating he will turn his bogs into a Chapter 40(b) low-income development if the board does not approve his stalled request for a municipal letter of non-opposition or approval for a medical marijuana grow facility, which he says he wants to locate on his farm.
Randall said, “I don’t want to do this,” but then he and his lawyer went on to describe his intentions to build low-income housing on the site of his current cranberry bogs, which he claims are gravel bogs and therefore buildable if filled in, not wetlands. Randall’s attorney claims that Plympton is short of its state-mandated affordable housing units, and therefore, “there is nothing the town can do to stop this [project].”
Chapter 40(b) waives most town local zoning requirements and permitting processes for affordable housing, including, as Randall’s attorney noted, density. He stated there would likely be both duplexes and single-family units, should the project move ahead.
Attorney McLaughlin went on to say, “This can be devastating to towns with a small tax base.”
Randall stated that other towns are competing for his grow-facility and that he is pursuing other options.
“The first town gets it,” he said.
Sharon Housley, of Ring Road, complained that she was seeing four to five trucks an hour of dirt being moved on to Randall’s property. While Randall stated that it was for composting, Housley apparently believed it was for a different purpose.
“The landscape has already changed!” she exclaimed.
This prompted a verbal spat between Housley and Randall’s wife, Lisa Randall, who asked how Housley would be able to see any changes to the landscape if she wasn’t trespassing, even mentioning that they’ve had to report her to the police.
Mark Russo, Selectmen Chairman, quickly brought the meeting back under control, but not before Dawn Hastings of Ring Road stated that she wanted to be on the record supporting a 40(b) development. “It’s better than the alternative,” she said. “Maybe we’ll get some diversity in town.”
• The Plympton Board of Selectmen will not meet on Monday, May 16, but will meet on Monday, May 23.
• The Plympton Annual Town Meeting and a Special Town Meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 18, at 7 p.m. at the Dennet Elementary School, 80 Crescent Street.
• The annual Town Election will be held on Saturday, May 21, from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Town House, 5 Palmer Road.