TO: Board of Selectmen Members FROM: Kathleen Leary,
cc: Steven Malizia January 31, 2021
I am writing to express my extreme disappointment that on January 27, 2021 some members of the Board of Selectmen approved a motion to reconsider the January 12, 2021 decision on Hillwood’s sewer allocation request and then voted to grant the allocation request. It is especially disconcerting that the Board never even heard Hillwood’s explanation as to why the Board should reconsider and grant the request. It simply voted based on the submitted request. It is even more disconcerting that some members of the Board voted to give away 36,900 gallons out of a 195,800 daily allocation for properties outside the Sewer District when taxpaying residents of the southern part of Hudson have no access to the sewer line.
As I stated in my previously submitted remarks and at the meeting, the 1/27/2021 request contained NO NEW ISSUES, only documentation that corroborated the issues/reasons already submitted, discussed and voted on at the 1/12/2021 meeting. See Attorney Pasay’s letter dated 1/5/2021 and Attorney Leonard’s letter dated 1/4/202; both were submitted for the 1/12/2021 BOS meeting. Both letters raise the same issues to support Hillwood’s request: the 1990’s discussions between the Town of Hudson and the Friel family, the 18 inch sewer pipe, the sewer easement, the “expectation that the Friel Family would be able to tie into this existing sewer line,” the Sam’s Club subdivision, and the Pumping Station capacity increase. It is these VERY SAME ISSUES raised again in the request for reconsideration. Yes, more paperwork was submitted with the second request, but it is NOT NEW INFORMATION – only information in support of the issues already raised January 12th. Attorney Leonard acknowledges that “there was no review of any specific development for the property” when any of those prior discussions took place.
If the attorneys for Hillwood and the Friel family thought this supporting documentation was so critical to the Board’s decision, then it was incumbent upon them to have submitted it at or before the January 12, 2021 meeting. Likewise, if the Board of Selectmen thought the information submitted January 12th was inadequate, it was incumbent upon you to have asked more pointed questions at that meeting and/or to request supporting documentation. Neither of these two things occurred. Therefore, it was improper for the Board to reconsider its earlier vote. Your original vote was the correct one since it is Town Charter section 270-17 which is the standard to be applied in this situation. Past “understandings” and “expectations” (Attorney Leonard letter) on the part of the Friel family do not change the standard to be applied.
Finally, your original decision was correct in that the property is not in the Sewer District, per the Town Engineer’s remarks at the 1/12/2021 meeting and his letter dated 1/7/2021 in which he writes that Mr. Pasay has requested a sewer line extension for this site which is “currently located adjacent to the sewer district but outside it.” Therefore, per Section 270-17, the use (the Hudson Logistics Center) must be “essential for the public health, safety and welfare of the Town of Hudson.” In the interest of brevity, I will paraphrase my remarks of 1/12/2021 as to why this proposed use (the HLC) is not essential. Hudson has survived, and will in the future, without the HLC; the supposed benefits of the HLC that Hillwood puts forth might be nice to have, but don’t make the use essential; the HLC does not rise to the level of the comparable essential uses mentioned in Section 270-17 such as hospitals and schools; and COVID doesn’t make the HLC (still in the proposal stage) essential.
Thank you for your consideration of my remarks.