Thursday April 11, 2013

A group of Williamstown citizens has successfully petitioned for a Special Town Meeting on April 24 to vote to put two parcels of town-owned land (the Lowry and Burbank properties) into conservation in perpetuity. Both are centrally located and are off Stratton Road.

Do we really want to remove all other options for future use of this town land? Why tie our own hands -- and the hands of our children -- forever? The land is currently in town conservation. Why the sudden rush? Why put the town to the expense of a Special Town meeting when the Annual Town Meeting is scheduled for less than a month later? Both the proposal and the timing appear to be motivated by self-interest.

The Affordable Housing Committee has been discussing the feasibility of using a portion of the Lowry property to relocate some of our fellow citizens whose homes were destroyed or made unsafe by Tropical Storm Irene. Many of those who petitioned for this unnecessary and costly town meeting are residents of the Stratton and Luce Road area, where both the Lowry and Burbank parcels are located. Passage of this article would permanently protect their backyards.

This special meeting appears to be an attempt to make an end-run around the large number of open-minded citizens who regularly attend the Annual Town Meeting. Often, turnout for single-issue Special Town Meetings is generally sparser, with many of those attending having already decided on their positions.

Don’t let these tactics succeed; please come to the Special Town Meeting at Mount Greylock Regional High School on April 24! Town resources belong to all of us. Please protect our rights to their future use by voting NO on Article 3!

JANE NICHOLLS

Williamstown