LYNNFIELD — Fall Town Meeting will take place on Monday, Oct. 18 at 7 p.m. in the Lynnfield Middle School auditorium.
This will be the first Town Meeting that will be held in the LMS auditorium since the October 2019 session. The COVID-19 pandemic forced last year’s three Town Meetings to be held outside at Lynnfield High School’s Pioneer Stadium. While Spring Town Meeting was supposed to be held on the high school football field, it was moved into the gym due to the threat of inclement weather.
A quorum of 175 voters is needed in order for Fall Town Meeting to take place. Residents attending Fall Town Meeting will be required to wear masks as required by an order approved by the Board of Health, School Committee and Select Board in August.
Fall Town Meeting consists of a four-article warrant. The Planning Board submitted Article 3, which pertains to the revised Tree Preservation Bylaw (see separate story).
Mirabeau Lane resident Richard Ripley submitted Article 4 on behalf of developer Angus Bruce for Fall Town Meeting. The citizens’ petition will request the town’s legislative body to approve rezoning the Richardson Green property, 1425 Main St., from Single Residence D to Elderly Housing.
While Bruce and the Richardson family have come to terms on a $2.7 million purchase and sale agreement for the 20-acre parcel, the Select Board has expressed its support for buying Richardson Green by exercising its right of first refusal that is allowed under Massachusetts General Law Chapter 61.
Bruce’s latest 55-and-older project is similar to the Woods of Lynnfield elderly housing development that the 2019 Spring Town Meeting overwhelmingly rejected. The project entails constructing 54 units on the Richardson Green property, which includes an affordable unit for a veteran. The proposed development would have two points of egress.
Additionally, Bruce has created a developer’s agreement that includes a variety of different components. Bruce told the Select Board last week that the pact entails having him bringing in water from the Lynnfield Center Water District at the Main and Lowell Streets intersection into the project. Bruce has agreed to install fire hydrants not only at the development, but also along upper Main Street due to abutters’ concerns about having adequate fire protection in the area.
“I have offered to give the town a conservation easement of 10 acres,” said Bruce at last week’s Select Board meeting. “The property consists of 20 acres. I am looking to give half of that back. I would give access to parking so people could access the trails in the back. I have offered five spaces, but that could be negotiated up.”
Bruce told the Select Board that the new 55-and-older development would generate over $800,000 in property tax revenue annually. He also agreed to give the town an “impact fee” of $20,000 per unit with the exception of the affordable one.
“That is $1,060,000 in revenue,” said Bruce. “There is also revenue that will be generated from building permits and excise taxes.”
The Select Board unanimously voted not to recommend Article 4 last week because the board prefers using a $1,638,750 Municipal Vulnerability Preparedness (MVP) state grant in order to buy Richardson Green. In addition to the $1,638,750 grant, the Conservation Commission voted late last year to allocate $200,000 from its Conservation Fund for the Richardson Green land purchase. The Essex County Greenbelt Association has also committed to raising $300,000 for the land purchase.
Town Administrator Rob Dolan recently informed the Villager that the remaining $571,250 that has to be appropriated for the Richardson Green purchase would come from federal stimulus money. The town has received $3,885,490 from the American Rescue Plan Act that President Joe Biden signed into law earlier this year.
The Planning Board will be holding a public hearing about Article 4 on Wednesday, Oct. 13, beginning at 7 p.m. in the H. Joseph Maney Meeting Room at Town Hall.
In addition to Articles 3 and 4, the Select Board submitted Articles 1 and 2 for Fall Town Meeting.
Article 1 seeks to pay overdue bills from a prior fiscal year. Article 2 will ask Fall Town Meeting to approve transferring funds in order to supplement certain accounts in the current fiscal year 2022 budget.