|By Courtney Llewellyn|
Reminder Assistant Editor
EAST LONGMEADOW "Green" continues to be an important topic in the town of East Longmeadow. At the June 3 meeting of the Board of Selectmen, Ron Cutler spoke about the town's open space and the board discussed the formation of a Green Committee.
Cutler came before the board to voice his concerns about the plot of land located between Westwood, Alpine and Cedar Hill, off of Arch Street, which is open space as decided by the Community Preservation Committee by a vote of 9 -- 0.
He had previously met with the selectmen during their meeting on April 30, discussing his concerns that developed property costs the town three times more than open space. Cutler said he was concerned about the development of the aforementioned land because of the Annual Town Meeting's Article 26, which would allow the Board of Selectmen to solicit bids on the property.
Jim Driscoll, chair of the Board of Selectmen, moved no action on the article during the meeting.
"It was disingenuous for you to tell us to bring our concerns to Town Meeting and then pull the article," Cutler told Driscoll. "What do you plan to do with the property?"
"We're still working on that," Driscoll replied. "We're looking townwide at open space. We didn't want to make any decisions until it was the right decision to make."
Cutler asked if selling the property to a builder would be the right thing to do.
"We're looking for better, longer term plans," Driscoll said. "It's not necessarily going to a builder." He added that the land in question is not the abutters' property, it's the town's property.
The board agreed that gathering abutters opinions was important, however. Selectman Joe Townshend was chosen as the liaison for the abutters of open space in town.
"If we plan on bringing this back on a warrant in the future, it would be wise to contact residents who abut the property," Townshend stated.
The Board of Selectmen also approved unanimously of the creation of a Green Committee for East Longmeadow during this meeting.
The mission of the Green Committee is to explore all alternative energy sources and resources available to the community that could positively impact our economic and environmental status and continue to be a regional and statewide leader for environmental responsibility. The committee will consist of two at-large citizens, one representative or designee from the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Board of Public Works, School Committee, Capital Planning Committee, the Building Commissioner and the Town Accountant.
The selectmen noted the recent recognition as the town with the third highest rate in the state for recycling. East Longmeadow posted a 63 percent recycling rate, according to the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection.
Residents that wish to be considered for an appointment to this committee can submit a letter of interest and resume to the Board of Selectmen, 60 Center Square, East Longmeadow, MA 01028 or via e-mail to email@example.com.
Residents with knowledge and experience with energy and environmental matters are especially encouraged to apply.
Applications will be accepted until June 15.
"This is an important issue," Driscoll stated. "There are a lot more things we can be doing."