Several residents at a recent Board of Selectmen meeting protested the notion of moving the Department of Public Works to the transfer station area, but planning officials stressed that they intend to study a range of options for the DPW site.
The South Lincoln Planning and Implementation Committee (SLPIC) plans to ask the Board of Selectmen for about $9,000 to pay a consultant to study the DPW site on Lewis Street. SLPIC and others are interested in the possibility of using part or all of that property as part of a larger effort to revitalize the South Lincoln area centering on the train station and surrounding commercial area. Moving the DPW elsewhere would free up valuable land that could be put to commercial, residential, and/or municipal use.
The issue arose at a selectmen’s meeting in June and again on July 31, although SLPIC postponed a planned appearance at that meeting. Nevertheless, several residents spoke in opposition to the idea of moving the DPW to the transfer station.
“That’s probably one of the most environmentally sensitive sites you could find in this town,” said Oakdale Lane resident Keith Hylton, noting that the DPW’s work involved diesel fuel and other chemicals and the transfer station lies within the Cambridge reservoir watershed. Some houses in the area also use well water, he added. In addition, there could be contamination in the soil at the Lewis Street site that could cost “millions” to remediate if the town planned to convert it to some otherl use, Hylton said.
If the Lewis Street study does show environmental issues that need to be addressed, “you can’t ignore it,” said former Planning Board member Robert Domnitz, a Mill Street resident. “If you start walking down this path, you may find yourself locked into a cleanup that not only costs a lot of money but impairs the forward-looking value of that parcel.”
“We understand that this is a sensitive issue,” Lynn DeLisi of SLPIC, who is also a member of the Planning Board, said on Sunday. Some years ago, a different study apparently recommended moving the DPW to the transfer station site, “but we don’t know details; that’s partly why were having another meeting” before going before selectmen with a budget request, she said.
There is no language in the draft charge for the yet-to-be hired consultant about the transfer station, and SLPIC will look at a variety of options for the DPW site, including moving some functions to a neighboring town or simply preserving the status quo, DeLisi said. Also, if the consultant makes a recommendation that SPLIC or a majority of residents are opposed to, “we don’t have to pay attention to it.”
However, if the new study does show potential hazards from environmental contamination on Lewis Street that must be rectified, “we have a right to know about it—it’s right in the center of town,” DeLisi said.
Also at the July 31 Board of Selectmen meeting (as summarized by former Selectman Peter Braun), the board:
- Accepted a plaque presented by members of the Donaldson family to rededicate the Donaldson Room and to honor Robert Donaldson (1870-1964), who was a selectman for 28 years and builder of some 80 Lincoln houses and the original town office building.
- Met with Mothers Out Front, an organization that includes Lincoln residents, that is focused on natural gas leaks and other environmental issues.
- Approved a curb cut requested for 19 Granville Rd., following a recommendation by the Planning Board.
- Discussed concerns raised by abutters with respect to a new Wayland soccer field to be located in a meadow close to the Lincoln town line in the Oxbow Road area.
- Heard reports from Town Administrator Tim Higgins regarding:
- Questions raised by several residents about compliance of the June 19 Board meeting with the Open Meeting Law.
- Requests by wireless carriers for installation of repeaters on utility poles.
- Initial activities of the Community Center committee.
- Scheduled further discussion of Old Winter Street traffic questions for September 25.
- Scheduled the State of the Town Meeting for November 4 and had an initial discussion about the agenda.
- Discussed its continuing efforts to coordinate with the Housing Commission and other boards regarding the town’s affordable housing strategy.
- Discussed proposed content for its next newsletter.
- Heard liaison reports from:
- Selectman Jennifer Glass on the School Building Committee’s activities, including its engagement of an Owner’s Project Manager and its process for considering an architectural firm.
- Selectman James Craig on highlights of a report from a consultant by the Cycling Safety Committee on ideas for accommodating cycling on roadways.