Overdale Parkway residents oppose final agreement with developers Discussion of opposition letter at selectmen’s meeting gets heated
By Theresa Knapp
Thirty residents of the Overdale Parkway neighborhood have submitted a letter of opposition regarding the final agreement the Hopedale Board of Selectmen reached with landowners Ricardo Lima and Black Brook Realty Corp. The town agreed to accept the gift of the 703 feet of unpaved roadway which, in turn, paves the way for these developers to extend Overdale Parkway by 703 feet and build 10 new homes in that area.
In August, after a lengthy title search and multiple conversations with legal counsel, plus lengthy selectmen’s meetings with public comment, the parties reached a final agreement.
“At the end of the day, this is an item that has been fully executed and, in the eyes of the board, is done,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Brian Keyes. “I feel holistically comfortable with my position on the vote and where things went.”
The 30 residents believe not all facts were considered, and they shared their concerns with the board at its Sept. 13 meeting.
“The opposition letter here is really to convey our position that the past precedent that’s been set regarding the unpaved portion of Overdale Parkway -- so the portion that is considered the entrance to the Parklands at the end of Overdale Parkway -- the past precedent since 1916 has always been that that has been used as a park entrance, it has been maintained by the Parklands, and all of this has been set and was even validated in litigation in 2003 and upheld in appeal by Judge Kilborn who is the Chief Justice of the Land Court,” said Stephanie Thomas, an Overdale Parkway resident whose signature is first on the group’s Sept. 6 letter. “None of this seemed to be taken into consideration for the vote that took place by the Select Board.”
The hour-long conversation was heated at times with Chairman Keyes calling for decorum or he would remove people from the meeting. Issues of concern for residents included ownership of the unpaved portion of the road, questioning if that portion is an “official “entrance to the Parklands and do prescriptive rights apply, plus questions surrounding environmental impacts, the 1985 town meeting, and Kilborn’s 2003 decision.
Regarding the 1985 vote, Town Counsel Katherine Klein of KP Law PC said, “My understanding is that there was a vote and there was a motion to modify it.” She also clarified that the unpaved portion is not under the control of the Parks Commission.
“At the end of the day, the most favorable way to look at this, whether you’ll ever there or not is completely up to you, is the development will be a beautiful one, we’ll have an extension of the opportunity for residents to use the Parklands, there will be parking spaces provided (which are not provided today) for folks to go up there and tour the ‘jewel of Hopedale’,” said Keyes. “This has been title searched to its final extent. It has been reviewed by multiple attorneys and everyone has felt legally comfortable with the decision that was made.”
Thomas asked for a formal response to the letter but it was unclear if selectmen planned to answer it.
The full letter is available at https://www.hopedale-ma.gov/administrator-board-selectmen/events/92011