We would like to provide an update to the community regarding the lawsuit filed by a group of residents in an attempt to block Town Meeting’s vote, by a greater than two-to-one margin, to purchase property at 139 The Great Road for a new fire station. It is concerning to the Select Board that a small group of residents, led by abutters to the property, are taking extraordinary measures to subvert the will of Town Meeting, potentially costing taxpayers far more for this important project and resulting in significant delays, simply because they disagree with the result.
On Tuesday, May 17, 2022, the Board of Trustees of the owner of the property, Utah State University (USU), took the first of two votes required to proceed with the sale early this week. In response, the plaintiffs filed a request for an emergency hearing today, Monday, May 23, 2022, seeking a preliminary injunction to prevent the Town from closing on the property. The plaintiffs’ allegations of procurement violations have no merit. The Town looks forward to refuting them in court.
Town Meeting voted overwhelmingly on March 29, 2022, to proceed with purchasing the property at 139 The Great Road for the Town’s new fire headquarters. After rigorous and lengthy discussions, Town Meeting chose this as the best option to keep the people, property, and community safe going forward.
Following the Town Meeting vote, Attorney Raymond Miyares, representing the primary plaintiffs, Carol Amick and Bill Moonan (who live adjacent to this property), contacted USU to question the procurement process used by the Town and USU. This was an attempt to seed doubt around the Town’s actions, with the goal of interfering with the Town’s acquisition. The outreach by Amick and Moonan to USU followed an offer from Ms. Amick on February 14, 2022, to sell the Town her property at 277 The Great Road as an alternative location for the new fire station. Ms. Amick’s husband, Mr. Moonan, was a member of the Select Board at that time. In addition, the Select Board last week became aware that Ms. Amick and Mr. Moonan tried to outbid the town and purchase 139 The Great Road from USU. This action, coming after the Town Meeting vote, was a clear attempt to subvert the will of Town Meeting voters and prevent a decades-long effort to build a new fire station.
Legitimate differences of opinion exist around this proposal, and we respect everyone’s opinion. But at this point, the legislative body of the Town (Town Meeting) has decided that debate. No resident should be able to leverage personal affluence over the public good or the will of voters, just because they disagree with the outcome.
We look forward to having a court review the legality of the Town’s procurement process and resolving this issue in the best interests of the entire community. We will also continue to do our job as a Board to implement the clear will of Town Meeting so the process does not have to be reopened at greater expense to the taxpayers.
Additional documents related to the lawsuit can be found on the New Fire Station webpage: https://www.bedfordma.gov/new-fire-station