By Genevieve Jinson, Community Reporter
Town Administrator John Coderre said the town recently received notice from Indian Meadows that the owners have signed a purchase and sale agreement to sell the property for $1.9 million to a nonprofit college baseball development program, the New England Ruffnecks. Most of the property, roughly 63 acres, is located in Northborough; the remainder, including the entrance and the restaurant Acacia, is in Westborough.
Coderre explained that the Northborough portion is protected under Massachusetts General Law, Chapter 61 (b), which allows the land to be used for recreational purposes and offers tax breaks from the town to the owner. In exchange for the tax breaks, if the property is in the process of being sold, the town is given 120 days to exercise the right of first refusal. If the town does not exercise that right, the owner must pay rollback taxes for the past five years.
Coderre said the land is “somewhat of a unique parcel. You have a purchase of sale for $1.9 million for two parcels located in two towns, and the 63 acres located in Northborough is the land that is designated under 61(b).”
Town officials have sent a letter to the owner requesting that the right of first refusal offer be adjusted to reflect that the town is only interested in purchasing Northborough's portion. The 120 days to exercise that option will then not be triggered until the process has been started anew with the correct land information.
The town is required by Massachusetts state law to hold a public hearing on an issue concerning the right of first refusal. It is then the Board of Selectmen's decision to decide whether to exercise that right.
Coderre said the matter will be on the agenda, as both a discussion topic and as a public hearing issue, during future selectmen's meetings, possibly even during the July 16 or the Aug. 20 meeting.
“No matter the outcome, the process is very important,” Coderre said. “It's important that you all know what's happening and that you have a chance to make sure that we hear and understand what your questions and concerns are.”
Residents who wish their concerns or comments be included on the official record may send them to: Board of Selectmen, Attention: John Coderre, 63 Main St., Northborough, MA 01532.
For its part, Indian Meadows management is trying to assure patrons that the golf course is still open. On its website, it states, “Recent news reports have written stating Indian Meadows Golf Club has been sold.?Indian Meadows Golf Club has not been sold. Indian Meadows and Restaurant Acacia are business as usual.”