Mayor eyes options for Lot 1 land
By Richard Conn/Daily News staff
Daily News Tribune
Posted Oct 12, 2008 @ 11:55 PM
As Lexington celebrates the protection of 47.5 acres of Lot 1 from development, Waltham is left to figure out how to pay for its much smaller chunk of the land.
Lot 1 is an undeveloped 54-acre parcel of the former Middlesex County Hospital campus on Trapelo Road. Earlier this year, the Legislature passed a bill to transfer the 6.5 acres in Waltham from the Division of Capital Asset Management to the city. The legislation stipulates that the land be sold to Waltham at fair market value.
However, Mayor Jeannette McCarthy questions an appraisal of the parcel done this summer, which valued it at $930,000. In a letter she sent to the City Council last month, McCarthy said the appraisal was "bloated" when compared to other conservation land sales.
McCarthy said last week that due to the tough economy, she likely wouldn't recommend using any city bond money to purchase the property.
One option, she said would be for the city to apply for money from the Community Preservation Act fund to buy the land. CPA funds can be used for open space and recreation as well as historical preservation and affordable housing projects.
Another option, McCarthy said, would be to ask for the filing of legislation that would transfer the land to the state Department of Conservation and Recreation, a similar deal to what Lexington received.
In July, the House and Senate both passed bills to transfer the 47.5 acres in Lexington from the Department of Capital Asset Management to the control of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation. This move kept the land out of the reach of developers.
Lot 1 is part of the nearly 1,000 acres of conservation area known as the Western Greenway, which includes lands in Lexington, Waltham and Belmont.
McCarthy said the city recently received a proposed deed for its portion of Lot 1 from the Division of Capital Asset Management.
"The deed is being reviewed by the Law Department," McCarthy said.
Richard Conn can be contacted at 781-398-8004 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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