Let the game begin, and let it have a good outcome. Will the purchase by the town of 48 Norfield Road be the first of many dominos to fall, and will it and they fall in the right direction? Will its purchase by the town stimulate further municipal planning processes? What are the possible alternative scenarios on the game board that is the town-school super-block in central Weston?
The clock is ticking. Temporary buildings are outliving their usefulness. School safety plans, dropping enrollments, and a worn out communications headquarters all loom as future costs that will be coming home to roost.
Mark Tuesday, June 25, at 7:30 p.m. on your calendar. It is scheduled to be held in the Weston Public Library Community Room.
Be a participant as plans for the central part of town evolve. At Tuesday’s Town Meeting, the case for whether the town of Weston should buy the property at the northeast corner of its most central intersection will be debated.
Who will be the moderator at this Town Meeting? The Board of Selectmen should make its recommendation at its meeting Thursday night.
What is going to be in the “call” of the special Town Meeting? I suspect it won’t be just a simple “Do you want the town to buy 48 Norfield Road — yes or no?” No, this will be a Town Meeting that is truly special.
Thanks to an excellent public hearing that was recently held on a very wet evening, we know that someone will want an answer to the question, “Is this purchase going to be revenue neutral?”
Others asked how a private home, albeit one that had been used for dental offices and subsequently by attorneys, could be made suitable for town offices. Would OSHA requirements drive up the costs of reconfiguring the space? Has the Building Committee looked over what would be involved?
The Global Facilities Committee has only just begun considering how the town’s space needs should be met in the future. School security approaches would seem to be one significant factor that will have to be addressed in its planning.
At the June 10 joint meeting of the boards of selectmen and finance, discussion and debate went on far into the evening, past 11 p.m. in fact. How will the question for the Town Meeting be posed? Will the voters be able to choose how to pay for the purchase? Will there be a way to spread the cost over several years?
And what changes must be made to the exterior, if any? Exterior changes would of course require Historic District Commission review.
Earlier in the evening, at the public hearing, one speaker having real estate experience remarked that the value of the corner property would drop if town offices were put into it.
On the other hand, though, could this location ever be considered friendly for residential use, it being at the busiest corner in town, with the town’s main cellular tower close by, not to mention the occasional blasts of sound from emergency vehicles departing from the nearby fire station?
NOTE: “About Town” is also a television program. It appears on Fridays and Saturdays from 5:30 to 6 p.m. on Cablevision Channel 88 (Public Access). Or see it at aboutweston.com.