1. Authorized the Board of Selectmen to ask the Commonwealth to transfer approximately 29 acres of the former Medfield State Hospital "tubular well-field" to the town. This five-minute discussion ended in a unanimous vote.
2. Appropriated $150,000 to conduct preliminary design and cost estimates for construction of a new water tower on the 29 acres of the former Medfield State Hospital property. This five-minute discussion ended in a unanimous vote. The current water tower is more than 80 years old and needs to be replaced.
3. Authorized the Board of Selectmen to purchase 30.8 acres of land known as "Red Gate Farm" on Foundry and Philip Streets for $1.4 million, plus interest, to be preserved as town land. The vote required a two-thirds vote which it received as a voice vote and hand vote. In order to purchase the property, the town will hold a special election on Oct. 21 for voters to approve a Proposition 2 1/2 debt exclusion to fund the purchase.
The majority of the fall town meeting, nearly 90 minutes, centered around the Red Gate Farm purchase which the Board of Selectmen unanimously supported and the Warrant Committee had an even split (three in favor, three opposed).
Proponents said the town should exercise its right of first refusal to purchase the land for $1.4 million (approximately $45,000 an acre) so the land can be preserved to create better access to the adjoining 23 acres of town-owned land known as the "Scout Land."
Those in favor of the purchase also said:
- Such a large parcel, especially combined with the adjoining Scout Land, is a unique opportunity in Medfield.
- The developer's estimate that the four- and five-bedroom houses will add just 1.5 school children (at $12,548 per student) to the town's budget seemed low)
- The purchase price of $1.4 million works out to be about $45,000 per acre when the average cost for an acre of land on which to build a house in Medfield is about $350,000, making it a good value for the town
- Selectmen estimate the purchase will add $20 to $25 to the average homeowner's annual tax bill.
Those opposed to the purchase also said:
- The developer also said he would create a walking path, and create a parking area, for the public to access the adjoining Scout Land.
- The town needs the $150,000 in annual tax revenue the homes would generate.
- Medfield already has approximately 40 percent of the town's acreage as town-owned land and questioned if residents need more.
Selectmen say the cost will be approximately $1.9 million -- $1.4 million of the land plus interest -- and would result in an annual tax increase of approximately $5 per $100,000 valuation so a home valued at $100,000 would pay an additional $5 per year, a home valued at $300,000 would pay $15, and a home valued at $500,000 would pay $25.
The special town election will be held on Monday, Oct. 21, from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m. at The Center at Medfield on Ice House Road. Click HERE to see the special election ballot.