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DeBartolomeis Shifts Position on Conservation Restriction

Selectmen Chairman Dino DeBartolomeis has shifted his position from being in favor of putting a conservation restriction on eight town-owned properties that run from Louisa Lake toward Interstate Route 495 to being against it. His change of mind, he said, was prompted by discussions with Town Meeting Members who opposed having an outside non-profit agency manage the conservation restriction.

DeBartolomeis and Selectman William Buckley – with Selectman Brian Murray being absent from the meeting – voted together on May 12 to change the wording of the motion for Article 17 on the May 19 Annual Town Meeting warrant to only one of the article's three components. Their wording calls for adding five of the eight properties not already under the Conservation Commission's jurisdiction to move under the commission's care, and eliminates any mention of using an outside agency to hold a permanent conservation restriction on the roughly 200 acres.

"I was in favor of the [conservation] restriction with The Trustees [of Reservations]," DeBartolomeis said, but changed his mind after "having heard all the comments and the feelings." While some boards and town officials are in favor, others feel there are too many unanswered questions, the chairman said.

"The benefit of this discussion is we got in front of everybody," Buckley commented. The only way that Town Meeting Members would have approved a conservation restriction for the acreage would be "to show that it was under threat," he added. "There are additional high hurdles we could put to protect that land," such as zoning overlay districts, Buckley said.

DeBartolomeis said having the acreage all fall under the Conservation Commission's jurisdiction would be "a good compromise going forward."




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