Town Meeting to consider 6 citizens’ petitions

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Work to remove lead paint in Hudson’s town hall was set to begin on Aug. 16. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)
Hudson Town Meeting will convene on May 6. (Photo/Dakota Antelman)

HUDSON – When the Annual Town Meeting convenes on Monday, May 6, residents will consider six citizens’ petitions, five of which have to do with the MBTA.

Article 36 – A request for $20,000 from available town funds for the Addictions Referral Center, which is based in Marlborough. The program helps residents from Hudson and vicinity dealing with substance abuse disorder.

The Finance Committee recommended passage of this article.

Article 37 – This is a request to place on the ballot for an annual or special town election the question “Shall this town be added to the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority,” per Massachusetts General Law.

According to a summary provided by the petitioner, Brian O’Neill, Hudson owns several pieces of land upon which a railroad right-of-way was established in the 1800s. The MBTA has authority to take land by eminent domain only within the area constituting the authority of the MBTA.

“The MBTA does not have and has never had authority to take land by eminent domain in Hudson, Massachusetts,” said the summary.

The issue over the parcels and right-of-way has been subject to several court cases in recent years.

Should residents approve the petition, the question would be placed on a future ballot. Should residents decide to become an MBTA community, “The MBTA could take land within Hudson that it does not already own in fee, including parcels owned by the town along the railroad right-of-way. Becoming an MBTA community would require the town to pay an annual fee to the MBTA, and would also subject the town of Hudson to the multifamily zoning requirement for MBTA communities,” according to the summary.

The Finance Committee does not recommend passage of this article because the town would be subject to a yearly assessment “without receiving any benefit in return,” it said. In addition, the multifamily zoning requirement would lead to “costly and restrictive zoning requirements.”

Article 38 – A request to sell land known as Parcel 1. The MBTA is leasing the parcel, which is part of the right-of-way in Hudson and Sudbury, to Eversource for $425,000 a year, plus annual escalation over 20 years, for a subsurface transmission line.

Should the petition be approved, the MBTA, Eversource or another bidder would be allowed to purchase, at fair value, a parcel about 2,500 linear feet by 82.5 feet wide from the western edge of property behind 558 Main St to the eastern edge of property behind 571 Main St. (minus the railroad crossing of Main Street, which is identified as a separate parcel).

The Finance Committee voted against this article because “it is an attempt to bring the town into unnecessary and costly conflict with the MBTA regarding the ownership of this parcel.”

Article 39 – A request to sell land known as Parcel 6. Similar to Article 38, except the parcel is midway between Chestnut Street and Main Street through Hudson water supply land.

Article 40 – A request to lease the land known as Parcel 1.

Article 41 – A request to lease the land known as Parcel 6.

The committee used the same reason for voting against articles 39, 40 and 41.

Town Meeting will begin at 7:30 p.m. at Hudson High School.

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