HARVARD — Selectmen on Tuesday night questioned whether the Super Town Meeting slated to commence on June 8 at 7:15 p.m. in the Devens stakeholder towns of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley would be held as anticipated.
Shirley selectmen at their meeting Monday night set the date the three towns had previously said would work for all of them: June 8.
Chairman David Swain said that in Shirley, there would be two Town Meetings that night, coupling the Super TM with a Special TM.
Shirley selectmen opened the Special TM warrant Monday night and will sign it next week, Shirley Town Administrator Patrice Garvin said.
As for the other warrant, MassDevelopment must provide language for its zoning articles but now claims legal issues have tied up the process. In short, no language, no warrant.
In Harvard, Selectman Leo Blair raised doubts that the tri-town meetings would take place at all.
“It was mistakenly reported that we’d decided on a June 8 date, but we had not,” Blair said. “There is not a Super Town Meeting scheduled as it stands now.”
But the board’s lead-in discussion Tuesday night suggested otherwise.
With MassDevelopment on the agenda to update the board on how the proposed zoning changes would be presented on the nascent Super TM warrant, the state agency pulled out, pleading legal issues under review.
In the board’s view, there’s been plenty of time for that and very little time now for them to review and discuss the articles and get the word out to the public, given a June 8 date.
Chairman Ron Ricci cited a “long process” to get to this point, with outreach and input from the public and the board that MassDevelopment had said would be considered when framing the zoning articles.
Now, the board needs time to assess the outcome, but time is running out.
“Now we’re asked to go into this” with last-minute information,” Ricci said.
That would be unacceptable, the board agreed.
“It’s going to be hard to pull this off,” in an organized, meaningful way, Blair said.
Ricci suggested going for a later date, but that would present new problems, such as the coming of summer, when political issues tend to take a back seat as many town residents head off for vacation. The seasonal migration results in low voter turnout.
All things considered, most board members wanted to wait and see.
If MassDevelopment comes through with the warrant language, say by next week, that would offer a wide enough window, Selectman Lucy Wallace said.
Board member Ken Swanton agreed. As long as they have it by the next meeting in two weeks, he said.