Five articles heard for spring town meeting; public hearing postponed

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

GROTON — The town’s selectmen took positions on five articles listed on a warrant for a special town meeting to be held within the April 24 annual meeting.

Among the articles selectmen chose to recommend was a request that residents support spending $5,650,000 in Community Preservation Act funding to purchase 360 acres of land belonging to the Marion Danielson Strachan Family Trust and the Marion D. Campbell Trust.

The money is for the town’s share of the total $19.4 million purchase price with the balance provided through a combination of public and private contributions. Already, a national conservation group called the Trust for Public Lands has invested a nonrefundable $5 million to hold the land until a decision can be reached by residents at town meeting.

Known as the former Surrenden Farms property, the land is off Farmers Row and Shirley Road.

Present were board Chairman George “Fran” Dillon, Peter Cunningham, John “Jack” Saball and Mihran Keoseian. Fellow member Win Nordblom was absent.

At Monday’s meeting, the board also voted to establish a Community Center/Land Research Committee charged with planning for an intergenerational community center. The group would study town-owned land to see if there is a suitable site for the new complex, research how other towns have addressed similar issues, and determine the risks and rewards of the project.

Appointed to the committee were Karen Riggert and Steven Webber, of the Groton Community Foundation; Valerie Spencer, of the Groton Country Club Authority; and Julie Alnwick, Robin Kane, Karen Tuomi, Michelle Collette, George Moore and Chris Wood, as members-at-large.

Each member was appointed for a term to expire on June 30 with a June 12 date set to report their findings to selectmen.

In addition, the board voted to declare equipment belonging to the Recreation Department that used in its play group program as surplus, allowing it to be transferred to the Early Childhood Center at the Boutwell Elementary School.

With the discontinuance of the Recreation Department, many of its programs have been transferred to other town departments. The Groton-Dunstable Regional School District has agreed to absorb the play group program into its own early childhood program.

Finally Monday, the board voted unanimously to allow town counsel to advise the Groton Housing Authority in closing a deal to purchase nine affordable housing units from David Moulton, the developer of the Rocky Hill subdivision.

Monday’s vote would allow Housing Authority funding not to exceed $2,500.

Scheduled for Monday night, but postponed until the board’s April 10 meeting was a public hearing on a proposal by Beaudane Properties to build a housing complex on a lot at 14 Station Ave.

Located immediately adjacent to Town Hall, the lot had been included in a larger development plan for Station Avenue submitted by Beaudane earlier in the year that failed to win approval.

As submitted, Beaudane’s latest proposal is to construct a building under one of three scenarios, each of which would include at least one affordable component.