Town Manager Sarah Stanton and the Select Board were surprised when Historic Preservation Commission member Don Corey passed on a letter received from the US Navy regarding its property on Hartwell Hill. The letter presented amendments to a memorandum of agreement with the Town of Bedford, requesting that any questions or concerns which the Town may have about the proposed changes to the agreement be raised by July 10.
The Historic Preservation Commission (HPC), which has been unable to meet since March due to the Covid-19 pandemic, only recently discovered the letter and immediately turned it over to the Town.
Stanton informed the Board that Town Counsel Nina Pickering Cook is likely to ask for an extension to review the amendments. The Town Manager explained that while she is comfortable having the Historic Preservation Commission co-sign the final response, she feels it essential that it first be approved by the Select Board.
It is unclear why the Navy’s letter was sent to the HPC rather than the Select Board, as they could easily have missed the letter completely. Board member Margot Fleischman expressed her support for an extension for the Town to review the proposed amendments, saying, “It looks on its face so innocuous that you could easily mistake this for being something that is routine, but the fact that the Navy is taking any action of this sort is just very perplexing and I think it warrants our close scrutiny and attention, and so I think absolutely this is the right path we’re on in terms of insisting on our opportunity to get satisfaction on these issues we’ve raised.”
The issue will be further discussed at Friday morning’s meeting of the ad hoc Hartwell Road Committee. Click this link to read the ad hoc Hartwell Road Committee’s July 10 agenda
About Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting
The Board also reviewed the finalized plans for Saturday’s Annual Town Meeting. They expressed concerns regarding the weather and stated a final announcement will be made by 3 pm on Friday, July 10 as to whether or not the meeting will be held on Saturday. The current plan for a weather delay is to hold the meeting on Sunday, July 12 instead.