Save the North 40 supporters are expected to attend Monday night’s Board of Selectmen’s meeting, where the town will officially, officially, officially buy the land from Wellesley College. A large portion of the property, which is near Morses Pond and along Weston Road, will remain open space, with some of the rest possibly being developed.
Residents in March overwhelming voted in support of a debt exclusion plan to fund the $35M-plus purchase. The college is using the proceeds from the deal to renew its central campus.
UPDATE: Here’s the press release issued by Wellesley College on June 8:
Town of Wellesley and Wellesley College Announce Completion of North 40 Sale
The Town of Wellesley Takes Ownership of the Parcel Known as The North 40; Wellesley College Will Participate in Planning for the Property
WELLESLEY, Mass. (June 8, 2015) –Wellesley College and the Town of Wellesley today announced that the sale of the parcel of land known as the North 40 has been completed. Now that the Town owns this important community resource, it will begin the process of determining its future use with participation from the College.
Since the sale was announced in December 2014, the transaction has received overwhelming support. A special town meeting in January resulted in a near-unanimous vote in favor of the purchase, and in March, 80 percent of residents casting votes at the Town election voted to approve the purchase.
“The citizens of Wellesley have demonstrated their strong support for the Town purchasing this important site, which neighbors and residents have enjoyed for so many years” said Barbara Searle, Chair of Board of Selectmen. “It was important that the Town control the future of the North 40” added Dave Murphy, the Selectman currently leading the Town’s efforts to acquire the property originally championed by former Selectman Don McCauley.
Last summer, the Town initiated a visioning process for the future use of the site, in order to determine whether the Town should make a bid. Having completed the acquisition, Town officials can now begin to develop the process for building on the results of the initial visioning, to develop a long-term plan for the future of the Town-controlled site. “The Town takes this work seriously, and will build on the open, inclusive and deliberative process that we began, with input from neighbors and key stakeholders throughout the Town,” said Dave Murphy.
The College, as a close neighbor, will continue to work with the Town during this visioning and planning process. Wellesley College will have two representatives on the planning committee, along side other neighbors and stakeholders who will also be included in the Town’s process. Under the terms of the sale, the Town and the College have agreed upon sustainability practices to be used in future development, as well as protection from light pollution per the International Dark-Sky Association guidelines.
“The College and Town of Wellesley share more than a name, we share a long history of constructive partnership. Given the proximity of the North 40 to our campus, and the importance of this issue to the entire Wellesley community, the College looks forward to participating in the process to determine the future use of the site as a Town-wide resource,” said Wellesley College President H. Kim Bottomly.
Last year, the College selected the Town’s bid from among 13 proposals. The Town’s proposal was selected because it showed responsiveness to the College Request for Proposal criteria regarding issues of open space, sustainability, and impact on neighbors and Town services. At least 50 percent of the land will be preserved in perpetuity as open space. For more information and details on the sale of the North 40, visit http://www.wellesleyma.gov/Pages/WellesleyMA_North40/index.
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