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What you need to know: South Park Conservation Easement Town Meeting discussion and Dec. 13 vote

We're entering one of the busiest times of the year for many people. Between holiday events, shopping and decorating, we all could use a few more hours in most days. However, there's an important town vote coming up that I hope you will take the time to learn about and participate in.

One of the items on the agenda for the Special Town Meeting scheduled for Monday, December 5th is the following:

Should the Town of Easton restrict the use of a town-owned, 10.9-acre parcel of property located at 18-22 South Park Ave., as set forth in the proposed "Conservation Restriction" on file in the Town Clerk's office and published on the town website?

The question will not be decided at the Special Town Meeting but will be adjourned to a machine vote on Tuesday, December 13th. It's a referendum at SSES with voting open from 6am to 8pm.

The proposed Conservation Restriction, or easement, is the result of the Special Town Meeting held on May 31st. That meeting directed the Board of Selectmen to place a conservation restriction on the town-owned portion of the South Park Avenue property. The resolution from that meeting instructs the Board of Selectmen to draft the restriction and that the final form "shall be brought back expeditiously to another Special Town Meeting upon completion."

We are now at that point. This is the language of the conservation restriction we will vote upon.

This issue has been discussed at length at recent Board of Selectmen meetings and I want to be clear on my position: the concept of the conservation easement has already been decided. The Special Town Meeting on May 31st instructed the Board of Selectmen to place the restriction. The only decision that remains is the detailed language of the restriction. A "no" vote on December 13th doesn't remove the obligation of the Board of Selectmen to place the restriction on the property. A "no" vote means you don't like the content or language of the restriction. Should the December 13th vote fail, the Board of Selectmen must then work to modify the content and present a new draft.

Despite frustration and disapproval expressed as to how we got to this point, we can't deny, ignore or change the resolution of the Special Town Meeting in May. It's Easton’s form of government and it must be respected.

I ask you to please take a few minutes during this busy time, especially on December 5th and 13th, to consider this proposed language. Should you have any questions, please feel free to reach out.

Respectfully Yours,

Kristi Sogofsky Easton Board of Selectmen


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