Ashland Open Space Committee
Over 600 acres in Ashland and Hopkinton have been offered for sale, portions of which are close to Ashland's source of drinking water. The Open Space Committee urges residents to become familiar with this situation, consider its implications for quality of life, talk with others about it, ask questions, and be alert for possible Town Meeting warrant articles related to this land.
"Hopkinton Reservoir is a water supply source that is fed by several tributaries and runoff from the surrounding area called the watershed, this is an extremely vulnerable area. The Ashland Water Department uses groundwater supplies from (5) wells located adjacent to the Hopkinton Reservoir. This source accounts for 100% of our total supply. Whatever activities are allowed in the watershed could adversely affect our water supply. We, as concerned citizens, should work together to preserve land within the watershed, and continue to protect our water source and the surrounding area from all types of pollution."
-From Ashland Water Dept. Consumer Confidence Report [emphasis added]
On May 7, 2007, Ashland Town Meeting voted to acquire the Ashland part of the Weston Nurseries land. Stay tuned for the process by which the community will decide how to use this land!
Ashland Spring Town Meeting voted to acquire the Ashland part of the Weston Nurseries land using money currently available in the CPA Fund.
Comment: Stay tuned for the process by which the community will decide how to use this land!
The Ashland Open Space Committee is in favor of using this land for
We would like to eventually see an explicit commitment to protecting the land near the wells rather than reselling or developing it. The Open Space Committee believes that protecting the quality and quantity of drinking water is critical. Some of the Weston Nurseries land is in the watershed of Ashland’s only public drinking water source. Although land within Hopkinton is also in the watershed, only the land within Ashland is part of this acquisition. Protecting the land within Ashland near the wells would be an important start.
The Ashland Board of Selectmen submitted a proposal to the 3/28 public forum of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee to buy the Ashland part of the Weston Nurseries land for $1.6 million. The CPA Committee voted to put this proposal on the Spring Town Meeting warrant. However, the Board left specific uses of the land as an open question to be determined after Town Meeting votes on the purchase. By law, a CPA purchase would permit the Town to use the land only for open space, affordable housing, historic preservation, recreation, or any combination of these purposes.
Comment: The Ashland Open Space Committee encourages you to support this proposal at Spring Town Meeting.
The Ashland Board of Selectmen voted to bring a proposal to the 3/28 public forum of the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Committee to buy the Ashland part of the Weston Nurseries land for $1.6 million. The Board did not vote on specific uses of the land. Also, there are some unanswered questions about whether the Town could resell some or all of the land for another purpose and return the proceeds to the CPA Fund (without additional resident input).
As reported in the MetroWest Daily News, the Ashland Board of Selectmen directed the Town Manager and Town Counsel to explore using $1.6 million from the Community Preservation Act (CPA) Fund to exercise Ashland's option to purchase the part of the Weston Nurseries land that is within Ashland.
The 2/7/2007 meeting of the Ashland Board of Selectmen had an agenda item about the Town's option to purchase the Ashland part of the Weston Nurseries land.
For more information, see this article: Weston Nurseries land buyer chosen in bankruptcy court
This forum presented three development alternatives, reviewed their impacts, and solicited public feedback. Details...
Billed as an open public forum for comments, questions, concerns, and visions for the future of this important site, this meeting also discussed master planning. See the The Hopkinton News article for details.
Outcome: Selectman Paul Monaco will convene the ad hoc committee devoted to Weston Nurseries issues after the remaining 2 out of 5 seats have been filled. Town Manager John Petrin gave an impression (though not a formal statement) of the committee's charge, which will include studying the uses of the land in both Hopkinton and Ashland.
Comment: We expect the committee to be operational in September or October 2005. The inclusion of Hopkinton portions of the land in the committee's area of study is significant because the watershed of the Ashland public water supply crosses the town boundary.
Item: The ad hoc committee devoted to Weston Nurseries issues was listed on the agenda, and several people in the audience attended because they believed that the Board would determine the charge of the committee. However, the Board deferred this task because they had sought and were expecting input from the Planning Board. A Selectman characterized this as a "communication snafu" between the Board and the members of the audience.
Outcome: No progress made during this meeting.
Comment: The committee is not fully formed and is unable to start its important work. The Board's extra step of seeking input from the Planning Board was neither mentioned in the discussion during the 7/27 meeting nor communicated to the ad hoc committee's stated constituencies, hence the surprise at this meeting.
Item: The Ashland Comprehensive Plan Committee (CPC) requested that the Board of Selectmen appoint a new ad hoc committee to address the Weston Nurseries issues. The CPC recommended that the new committee include members from the Open Space Committee, Ashland Revelopment Authority, CPC, Conservation Commission, Community Preservation Act Committee, Planning Board, Board of Selectmen and abutters; and that the mission of the committee be to study alternate uses of the land, the impacts of the uses and their relationship to Hopkinton proposals.
Outcome: The Board voted to establish a 5-member committee including members from the Open Space Committee, CPC, Conservation Commission, Planning Board, and Board of Selectmen. The charge of the new committee was deferred until the 8/17 meeting.
Comment: The discussion on 7/27 did not make clear whether the committee would study only the land within Ashland, or whether it would also work with Hopkinton to minimize risk to the Ashland town wells stemming from possible development on portions of the Weston Nurseries land within Hopkinton. The Ashland Open Space Committee strongly advocates the broader approach because the watershed of our drinking water supply crosses the town boundary.
Presentation and Q&A session.
Land, Water, and Weston Nurseries -- a brochure about the Weston Nurseries land being offered for sale (PDF, 188 KB)
More background information about the Weston Nurseries land being offered for sale (PDF, 224 KB)
Ashland Open Space Committee's response to the Legacy Farms Environmental Notification Form
Hopkinton Land Use Study Committee Web site
Hopkintonians Organized to Preserve and Enhance (HOPE) Web site