Select Board Accept Deeds to End of Overdale Parkway
Action paves the way for development of 10 homes By Theresa Knapp
After review of a recent title search, and on the advice of Town Counsel, the majority of the Hopedale Select Board voted to officially accept the deeds to 703 feet at the end of Overdale Parkway, an action town voters approved in 1985 but that was never implemented.
Chairman of the Select Board Brian Keyes and member Louis Arcudi III voted in favor; member Glenda Hazard, who was voted back onto the board in the May election, was opposed.
“I have come to the conclusion, the overwhelming evidence is that Overdale Parkway is under the jurisdiction of the Select Board and we have a recent May 18, 2021, title opinion from Gould Title Company...that the roadway itself is not under the jurisdiction of the Park Commissioners,” said Hopedale’s town counsel Katherine Klein of KP Law PC, adding the land was conveyed over 100 years ago. “I think there was an error when this vote was written but I think the intent is clear. The road is clearly identified, we all know what is being discussed, it is the last 703 feet of Overdale Parkway; and the fact that the Larkins are no longer the owners is immaterial.”
The two-hour discussion included the selectmen; Klein; Thomas McLaughlin, attorney for Ricardo Lima, the developer of the easterly property; StephanRodolakis of Fletcher Tilton PC, attorney for Black Brook Realty owned by John Burns, the developer of the westerly property; and the public.
The majority of the discussion was a 90-minute public comment segment where several issues were raised including possible selectman impropriety (Arcudi and Lima are neighbors, town counsel saw no appearance of impropriety or partiality), some clarification on a previous judge’s ruling in the matter (a crucial 1985 document was not presented when this matter was in court in 2003), consideration of overall costs of the development to the town versus speculated tax income (estimated at “$100,000 a year, maybe more”), and concern the proposed development will negatively affect the Hopedale Parklands now and in the future.
“We only have so many areas/options to selectively develop, whether it be industrial, commercial, or residential, this happens to be one of them. It’s 10 parcels and it’s an opportunity to move forward with a pretty exciting project but one that’s fairly small in nature when you look at the grand scheme of things,” said Keyes. “If we’re going to rule out every single time a development project comes up -- then we’re coming off two overrides and a debt exclusion conversation over the last three years -- I don’t know what you want us to do.”
Arcudi restated the request before the selectmen was to accept the gifted deeds per a 1985 town meeting directive that was never fulfilled. He said the future development of the land would be overseen by various town boards and encouraged residents to participate in that process.
When asked why she was opposed to the motion, Hazard said, “One of the things that bothers me is it’s zoned ‘residential’...I think in the interest of trying to represent the residents on Overdale, I feel like I need to vote ‘no.’”
Keyes said he was “disappointed by the lack of solidarity” of the board.
With the town’s acceptance of the deeds, Lima can file to develop four house lots and Black Brook Realty can pursue six house lots (those are on the Mendon side of the road).
Rodolakis, Black Brook’s attorney, said his client could have built more houses on his parcel but will limit it to six; Black Brook and Lima will create a cul-de-sac that will accommodate “four or five” parking spots for the Parklands; and Black Brook will deed to the town, or impose a conservation restriction on, “the balance of the property located in Hopedale that is not necessary for the development of his six lots” which will protect it from future development.