Terra Friedrichs

& her local work in
Acton, Massachusetts

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KMart Land Petition

Terra Friedrichs has petitioned Town Meeting to see if voters would like the Board of Selectmen to figure out how much it would cost for the Town of Acton to buy the KMart parcels [SEE DRAWING BELOW] . While this petition is ONLY about getting INFORMATION, the topic of "what would we DO with the parcels" is becoming an interesting and exciting exercise! TAKE THE SURVEY HERE!

Summary (by Petitioner)

This article is intended to help put the Town in a better negotiating position, relative to the future of the KMart parcels (owned by Stop&Shop/Ahold), even if we never purchase the parcels. If approved by Town Meeting, this article would request the Board of Selectmen to estimate what it would cost the Town to purchase the KMart parcels. A positive vote for this article is NOT to indicate that the Town Meeting recommends actually buying the parcels. A positive vote is to indicate that Town Meeting ONLY wants the information in a timely enough fashion so as to not overlook a scenario that could be helpful to the Town. This is a non-binding action. The Board of Selectmen can ignore the results of this vote. The vote on this article is "informative" to the Board of Selectmen, relative to how Town Meeting members "feel" about the importance of getting the information in a timely manner. This summary was written after the original petition was signed. Once signed, the language (below) of the petition can not be changed. But after feedback from people on committees and officials, that the language, if passed, could potentially be taken to, mistakenly indicate that Town Meeting has directed the Board of Selectmen to purchase the parcels. So it's been suggested that in the summary, that we inform Town Meeting that the intent of the petition article is about getting information, not about directing the Board of Selectmen to purchase. [[see exact language of the petition below, this here is just the summary]]

The OFFICIAL Warrant Article:

Article 28 # (Majority vote)

Non - Binding Resolution – Investigate the Cost of buying the KMart parcels (Currently Owned by Stop & Shop/Ahold)

Action Requested

Be it resolved that Town Meeting requests the Board of Selectmen (BoS) to take the following action:  Prior to the BoS bringing any vote for the re-zoning of Kelley’s Corner to Town Meeting, the BoS shall estimate the cost for the Town to purchase the KMart parcels (Parcel Numbers: F3-l16, F2-129-l, F3-139) examining all purchase options including those referred to as eminent domain, taking, or conventional land purchase, or any other purchase method. Or take any other action relative thereto.

Reporting Requirements and Reasoning

Town Meeting requests that the BoS prepare and release a report with the information. The information should include the cost to purchase the KMart parcels using the purchase methods referenced above.  These estimates shall include legal fees, staff time, and the cost of borrowing the money. The report shall include an estimate of the rent that KMart is currently paying. The work to prepare this report should include contacting KMart to determine whether KMart is officially interested in continuing their Acton operation beyond the end of its Stop & Shop lease. The goal of the analysis is to help the Town Meeting members decide whether they want to purchase the subject properties before rezoning. The goal is to understand the cost of the Town purchasing the properties so that it can be in control of what happens to the parcel, as an alternative to the result of what a private owner/developer would do with the parcels. The
cost of purchase analysis shall be completed and released by 45 days before the Town Meeting vote to rezone the property, so that Town Meeting is aware of a potentially valuable option. The reason that the analysis must be done in such a timely fashion is that the value of the property could be greatly impacted by zoning that is in place when such a purchase is made. The reason that controlling what happens to the parcels matters is that the parcels are critical to the Acton 2020 goals to create a town center in Kelley’s Corner, which in large part includes the subject parcels. In sum, this action is needed because the potential benefits to our community that might result from town purchase should not be disregarded so early in the process. Let us not close off our options.

Direct inquiries to:
Terra Friedrichs: terraf@compuserve.com / (978) 808-7173

Selectman assigned: Peter J. Berry:  bos@acton-ma.gov / (978) 929-6611


Board of Selectmen: No Recommendation
Finance Committee: Deferred
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