DEVENS — The Joint Boards of Selectmen (JBOS) is working toward a timeline of having all the success criteria for the disposition of Devens submitted to Montachusett Regional Planning Commission (MRPC) by the end of the month.
“Ayer’s is complete,” Harvard Chairman Leo Blair said. “They did their homework and got theirs in early. The (Harvard Board of Selectmen) need to tweak ours slightly.”
Harvard presented their final document to the JBOS at their Dec. 4 meeting.
Shirley Selectman Leonardo “Chip” Guercio said he doesn’t have a document to submit to the JBOS as of yet, but fellow Selectman Armand “Andy” Deveau was working on their town’s list with other land-use groups.
Chairman Tom Kinch said the Devens Committee has also provided MRPC with a final draft of their criteria.
MRPC Executive Director Glenn Eaton presented a “menu” of choices for comparison, contrasting and reporting on the four documents to the JBOS.
The choices included everything from simply copying and pasting to in-depth analysis ranging from $1,000 to $7,500 for a total of $29,500.
“I know it’s a sticker shock at the moment,” Eaton said. “But think of it this way; you’re at a restaurant and I’m asking you to choose what you want.”
Blair said that through the process, there has been a “temptation” of wanting to know too much and feels the JBOS should only select the items that will give them the information they need.
“There’s been a feeling developing among this board that by looking at (Devens) like real estate and cutting it up like a porterhouse could be a mistake,” he said.
Ayer Selectman Gary Luca said he thought it would be worth it to have the whole kit-and-kaboodle done by MRPC, so the JBOS has everything including one-on-one interviews with interested parties and a list of recommendations or options regarding the outcomes of the areas of conflict and successive meetings among the partners.
“We’ve all framed our criteria with a lot of the same areas such as schools and economics,” Harvard Selectman Lucy Wallace said. “I think it would be helpful to know what our similarities really are. We may think Ayer said something different and MRPC may say, ‘You’re actually saying the same thing.’ I see this as helping us continue moving forward.”
Along with speeding up the process of disposition, Devens Committee member Philip Crosby said it will be easier to develop an overarching list of success criteria with the help of MRPC’s analysis.
“We need to find a way that we all benefit from this,” he said. “We need to start thinking of this as a region and how we can create a document that we all can say, ‘Yes, we all benefit by that.’ We need to step out of our own town box and look at this.”
Harvard Selectman Tim Clark added the four entities need to be careful that they understand each other’s criteria implicitly, not suggestively.
The JBOS unanimously approved MRPC to conduct the following analysis: Create a matrix that will contain the Devens Disposition Success Criteria promulgated by the leadership of Ayer, Devens, Harvard and Shirley; identify areas of agreement among the four entities; identify the areas of concern or conflict among the four entities; and provide the JBOS with a list of recommendations or options to smooth out areas of conflict and successive meetings among the partners for $4,500.