Residents interested in saving more of Abington’s land as open space are expected to make their presence known at tonight’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting.
Friends of Abington Conservation are planning to appear at the meeting to urge selectmen to pull additional additional lots off the auction scheduled for tomorrow. They say a number of these properties, particularly those off Rockland Street and Dale Street are more valuable to the town as protected open space than as privately owned property.
The lots off Dale Street are listed as 0 Oakland Street in reference to a sub development that was planned years ago but never built.
“Our message is to put a hold on the auction until an evaluation of the parcels can be done to figure out which parcels should be put into conservation,” said group co-founder Dan Brielmann. “[The Rockland and Oakland Street parcels] are valuable forests and woodlands that would be perfect for conservation.
There’s no guarantee that if the properties are auctioned off they will be developed; permitting is not attached to the deeds. Selectmen and the town manager expect a number of the parcels to be purchased by abutters and tacked on to existing backyards or sideyards. But some will be bid on by speculators.
The Rockland Street property, for example, consists of more than 20 acres, however many of those acres may be classified as wetlands or other environmentally sensitive areas, so it’s unclear how much if any could be developed.
The Friends group tried to speak at the board’s last meeting but were told they couldn’t because the auction wasn’t on the agenda. This time the selectmen’s agenda does include the auction.
The town-owned lots up for auction are a combination of land taken for failure to pay taxes and parcels the town has owned for generations.
The town has already removed one parcel: an 11-acre lot located off Chestnut Street that abuts a commercial condo complex being built.
Friends of Abington Conservation highlighted that piece of land in particular as something Abington should preserve. Selectmen said they pulled it after realizing the ecological uniqueness of the land.
Considering real estate values in the region are sky-high, the auction might be an opportunity for Abington to raise a few hundred thousands of dollars in one-time revenue that could support existing town services and programs. Plus it would put these parcels back on the tax rolls. However the town’s master plan also encourages Abington officials to look for ways to preserve the town’s green space.
Could be an interesting discussion…
FATE OF ISLAND GROVE GAZEBO UP FOR DISCUSSION
The gazebo at Island Grove has been blocked off by orange safety fencing for a couple months now after the former building commissioner determined it was no longer structurally safe for use. But because the gazebo is more than 100 years old and is situated in a property listed as a national historic site, a path forward to either repair or replace has been complicated. Selectmen will meet with parks officials and representatives from the town’s Historic Commission to discuss next steps.
POLICE CHIEF SEARCH CONTINUES
If you didn’t read our article Sunday night, the person chosen to become Abington’s next Police Chief had a change of heart and backed out.
Personally, we’re OK with that; we’re not sure we want a police chief from a small coastal New England town with an unresolved shark problem.
FINAL WEEK AT ISLAND GROVE POOL
Yes, it’s that time of summer already. It’s the final week of operation at the Island Grove Pool. Floats will be pulled out Saturday as the lifeguards start to head off college. So if you are a member, be sure to head down this week for a final swim or too.
Griffin Dairy Committee, 5:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a discussion on CPA funds for a well and fence near Bellows Circle., as well as the community gardens and field haying/mowing
Board of Selectmen, 6:30 p.m., Town Hall. Agenda includes a common victualer license request for Mal’s Kitchen, 171 Brockton Ave., a limousine license for 96 Central St., a request by the Lion’s Club for a one-day liquor license on Aug. 31, permission by Abington Celebrates to hold an event on Memorial Field on Sept. 18, a discussion on the make-up and role of the Open Space Committee, and a request by Timber Lanes to extend its outdoor entertainment license through September.
Board of Library Trustees, 7 p.m., Public Library. Agenda includes a discussion with new Library Assistant Jill Monti, a summer reading program update, and discussions about building repairs.