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SHIRLEY — Town moderator George Knittel facilitated the Devens disposition information night held Tuesday.

The June 27 meeting was only one of a series of information nights intended to provide residents of the three stakeholder towns and Devens the opportunity to ask questions in an open forum.

Representatives for five of the six stakeholders — Ayer, Harvard, Shirley, the Devens Enterprise Commission, MassDevelopment and Devens residents — sat on a panel. The missing representative was from Ayer, but Ayer Board of Selectmen Chairman Frank Maxant was in the audience.

Approximately 22 area residents appeared at the forum, which lasted only an hour-and-a-half with very few asked questions.

Shirley Selectman and stakeholder representative Leonardo “Chip” Guercio gave a 10-minute overview of the history of Devens.

Guercio referred to a four-page information sheet outlining the disposition process and various factors that have led up to the recently finalized and approved memorandum of understanding (MOU).

The MOU, Guercio said, is the framework to create a disposition package to be voted upon by town meetings in September and by a ballot vote in November.

In Shirley, Planning Board member John Rounds said there are approximately 692 acres of out-parcel land. To clarify, he said the land can be divided into a number of parcels including the Oxbow refuge and the Environmental Business Zone east of Walker Road.

“We’re asking what will happen to that parcel,” he said.

With this process, Rounds said the current reuse plan, voted in approximately 10 years ago, “is being thrown out the window.”

The Zoning Bylaw Review Committee, which Rounds is on, has been working to develop language to protect Shirley in regard to all of the acreage where jurisdiction may be returned.

“Once we establish the densities and agree on (them),” bylaw review committee Chairman Armand “Andy” Deveau said, “it’s going to become part of MassDevelopment’s language.”

“I’m just wondering how much input the people in the town of Shirley will have,” resident Henry Miller said.

Committee members are hopeful, said Rounds, and feel they have come up with an acceptable plan. The board’s meetings are held every Tuesday and are open to the public.

The ownership of the land will remain with MassDevelopment, said Guercio. Only the jurisdiction will return to the surrounding towns. If Devens does not become its own town, the responsibility remains to determine the disposition of the land.

“I think that Devens as a town is wonderful,” former town clerk Sylvia Shipton said. “I also think that the town of Shirley is wonderful.”

The town needs assurance that it will have some say in the outcome, she said.

“The five groups have been very involved in this so-called memorandum of understanding,” Guercio said.

“We’re not trying to establish new zoning,” Deveau said.

The bylaw review committee is trying to use the language the town already has in place, he said.

“In order for this to be accepted by the Legislature, we needed to have a large endorsement from the stakeholders,” said Harvard stakeholder representative William Marinelli.

Now that the MOU has been signed, said Marinelli, the stakeholders have been producing four corresponding documents.

“That’s one check and balance we have,” he said.

Devens representative Phillip Crosby said the stakeholders are at a point where they need to make a decision to collectively reach a disposition.

“We are community-building as we are going through this process,” he said.

Crosby pointed out that the population of Devens is low because residential development has been put on hold during the disposition process.

Additional public forums will be hosted in:

* Shirley on July 8, at 7 p.m., at the town offices.

* Harvard on July 11, at 8 p.m., hosted by the Board of Selectmen at Harvard Elementary School.

* Ayer on July 12, at 7 p.m., hosted by the Board of Selectmen at Town Hall.

* Devens on July 24, at 7 p.m., in the first Floor Conference Room, 33 Andrews Parkway.

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