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Posted on: September 16, 2022

Statement from Community Facilities Building Committee Chairwoman on Site Selection Process

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Community Facilities Building Committee Chairwoman Lori Hayes-O’Brien issued the following statement on Friday regarding the vote Wednesday night by the Community Facilities Building Committee to proceed with the traffic study, environmental, architectural, and engineering analysis of the site on Hardy Lane to determine if it could be a feasible location for a senior center.

“The building committee’s vote does not mean a senior center will definitely be built on Hardy Lane,” Hayes-O’Brien stated. “It’s important to say that as emphatically as we can. There is a multi-step process before any site can even be recommended to the Town Council for consideration.  This vote gives the committee the opportunity to conduct the in-depth studies needed to clarify whether this particular site should continue along that process.”

“To be clear, this committee’s role is to develop and review site alternatives and building plans and make a recommendation to the Town Council.  We can only propose the “what” and the “where” based on our research.   The final decision on whether to move the project forward will be up to the elected leaders of the Town Council.”

Building Committee Rules state that, in addition to results of the testing, written approval from the Planning and Zoning Commission and the Health Director must be submitted to the Town Council.  Approval from other town boards and departments, such as the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Commissions, may also be necessary. Preliminary plans and specifications for the proposed building must be submitted to the Town Council for approval as well.

“The building committee has been working since 2018 to identify sites around town that may be suitable for a senior center,” Hayes-O’Brien continued. “This particular parcel is only the latest where the committee has opted to take an in-depth look.  Should further investigation show us that the site at Hardy Lane is not a good fit for this project then we will continue to explore other options.”

The Hardy Lane property was acquired by the town in November 2020. At the time, no particular use was contemplated for this 25-acre property.

“Once the building committee proceeded with its work after a hiatus during the pandemic, the need to replace the current senior center building on Priscilla Place became even more acute.   Other needs of the community that could potentially be addressed by this project also became more apparent.  The Hardy Lane site came up as a possibility that hadn’t existed previously,” Hayes-O’Brien stated. “Now, the committee is merely seeking more information, which is absolutely necessary for its due diligence.”

The next regular meeting of the Community Facilities Building Committee is Wednesday, October 12, 2022, at 7 PM at Town Hall. The public is welcome to attend.

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