AYER — After being told their petitions were out of order at the Harvard Annual Town Meeting, a group of Devens citizens have submitted the same petitions for inclusion as warrant articles at the Annual Town Meeting.
Both articles ask residents to direct the Board of Selectmen to petition the Great and General Court. The first asks to create a town of Devens. The second is to acquire municipal jurisdiction and a permanent government structure for operation and administration within the portion of the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone established by Chapter 498 of the Acts of 1993.
Both articles take a simple majority vote to pass.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Gary Luca said the petitions are not out of order, but the board will not support them.
Luca suggested the board not take an official position, but comments from the other selectmen led to an unofficial vote opposing the petitions.
Selectman Richard Gilles said the articles aren’t meaningful or worth voting on.
Selectman Carolyn McCreary didn’t like the fact the articles were even presented on the warrant.
“Both articles have no research with them,” she said. “Personally, I resent that both of them are there.”
Selectman Cornelius “Connie” Sullivan said his sense for many years has been whatever Harvard wants to do, Harvard does. Ayer should be smarter than that.
“Harvard has an elitist attitude,” Sullivan said. “It’s always what’s best for Harvard.”
More research needs to be conducted on the projected revenues of Devens before the board makes a formal decision, said Luca.
If Harvard’s only interested in commercial tax revenues Devens would create instead of residential, Gilles said Ayer should give them what they want.
“Why don’t we (give Harvard revenues)?” asked Gilles. “And we make (Devens) a village of Ayer.”
By making Devens a village, the residents would have some sort of local convergence, said Gilles.
“The town as a whole would benefit because we would become a whole community,” he said. “And the residents of Ayer would still have their own identity.”
In an unofficial vote, the Selectmen unanimously decided they would say “no” to both the articles at the town meeting.