Brief thoughts on some of the events making news from around Franklin County and the North Quabbin area:
Dateline Sunderland: The legal fight over an apartment project known as Sugarbush Meadows may not have been the kind of win the town wanted, since it was trying to block the building of 150 apartments on 67 acres off Route 116. But as reported in The Recorder last week, it’s not as if the ruling was giving the developer carte blanche. The project still has plenty of state permits it would have to acquire, including ones that have to do with wetlands, water supply and wastewater disposal. One way to look at this is to see this as adding significant protection when it comes to the town’s interests in the property and what happens there.
Dateline Deerfield: It will be quite interesting to see if someone steps forward to buy the former Oxford pickle factory property. Given the land’s location, so close to downtown, one would think it would be an attractive development purchase filled with possibilities. And the town has set it up with an expedited permitting process, so that a buyer could get going on building something. Perhaps it has been a potential asking price for the 16.3-acre property that has scared off would-be developers. When the town bought it in 2007, it took out a $1.7 million loan for the purchase. We would have to think that the asking price now, though not determined, would be one that would leave the town poorer. This will be worth watching.
Dateline Gill: The argument put forth by the members of the Police Department against buying a hybrid vehicle and going with a traditional vehicle makes sense, even if you want to reduce emissions and other environmental considerations. Police Chief David Hastings and Sgt. Christopher Redmond argued against buying a particular hybrid because it’s untested in Massachusetts. As Hastings said, “It shouldn’t be up to us to be the guinea pig, we’re too small to be the guinea pig.” We agree. Let bigger departments experiment. We suspect that it will happen soon and Gill will be able to go with a hybrid for its next vehicle if it make sense.