By Jon Bishop
HARVARD — Many residents near the 166 Littleton Road property, which the Harvard Municipal Affordable Housing Trust is now selling, came to the trust’s meeting on Monday and expressed their displeasure with the now-discontinued Metro West Collaborative Development proposal, which would turn the property into affordable housing units.
Resident Karen Brandvold said that the problem is twofold: a lack of transparency on the part of the trust and that the Metro West proposal wouldn’t be right for Harvard.
She said the residents would be willing to work with the trust, though.
“You have support here. We want to work together,” she said.
“We’re not opposed to 40B,” added Susan Mitchell.
Susan Hansen said that the trust shouldn’t have proceeded with a project that would have “changed the character of the town.”
“You can understand our concern about transparency,” she said.
Barbara Brady, vice chairman of the trust, said that they “would always like to work with the neighborhood,” but she cautioned that since the Metro West proposal was preliminary, no one really could say where it would have gone.
“We generally do want to work (with the town) to develop something that’s … in the best interest of the community,” she said.
Steve Hierman agreed that the people near 166 Littleton Road would like to help.
“We’re an aging community,” he said. “There’s a lot of us” who would be willing to help the trust.
He suggested that the trust form a subcommittee.
“There is a wealth of manpower available that would certainly be willing to work and help in this endeavor,” he said.
But Hansen said, “The fact that you considered moving forward” with a purchase and sale agreement is “concerning to me. It says to me that you’re not really considering the town.”
“Nobody signed anything with Metro West,” Brady countered. “At this point, it’s a moot point.”
The trust allotted 10 minutes for public comment. When that ended and the trust said it would be moving onto the other items on the agenda, some of the residents in attendance walked out.
Michelle Catalina of the Planning Board came to the meeting because there was a slot on the agenda for a planning board representative. Brady said that this wouldn’t be an official position, as there is no planning board representative in the trust’s charter. There is already a slot for a representative from the Board of Selectmen.
Brady said the trust would discuss this further when Greg Schmidt, the chair, was present.
Also, the trust introduced Manny Lindo, who is interested in volunteering with the trust. He said that he has been a resident of Harvard for 20 years and is a licensed architect in Connecticut.
“If the (trust) thinks I’m a good candidate, then I’d be more than happy to work with you,” he said.
“Thank you for your interest,” said trust member Dave Hopper.
Members would also discuss this further at the next meeting.
The trust went into executive session at about 8:10 p.m. to consider the purchase, exchange, lease or value of real property.