Town lawsuit against Railroad dismissed with prejudice, bonding process begins Land Court officially dismissed case after agreement reached through mediation
By Theresa Knapp
The Land Court has dismissed the lawsuit the Town of Hopedale filed against the Grafton and Upton Railroad in Land Court in January. The dispute brought by the town attempted to exercise its right of first refusal, as voted by an October 2020 special town meeting, on a 155-acre parcel at 364 West Street.
GURR purchased the land just days before an October 2020 special town meeting voted to buy the land that is just above the Hopedale Pond resource area and near the Upton Town Forest.
The lawsuit was dismissed “with prejudice” which means the court has made a final determination on the merits of the case and the town is not allowed to bring another lawsuit against GURR based on the same facts.
At its meeting on Feb. 22, the Board of Selectmen voted to “request treasurer begin process of bonding for acquisition of land known as 364 West Street/364 West Street adj[acent].”
Chairman Brian Keyes said the board has asked the town’s Water & Sewer Commission to add an agenda item to one of its upcoming meetings to discuss a cost-sharing agreement with the GURR.
Part of the January settlement agreement between the town and the railroad is a cost-sharing agreement in which, if new water resources are explored, the Water & Sewer Commission would have the opportunity to split expenses with GURR if it so chooses. If the town decides not to do so, the agreement says each party should be responsible for its own costs.
Selectmen voted unanimously to begin the bonding process.
“We want to start the process with the Treasurer for the bonding so when we get the final title work...we’re prepared to have that funding available to do the closing,” said Keyes, adding “We have to wait for the final, final title search to go through.”