Van Liew Speaks on Fall Town Meeting Open Space Votes

In an e-mail sent on Thursday, Roland Van Liew shares his views on the two warrant articles relating to open space preservation as well as actions he believes should have been taken regarding land conservation in Chelmsford.


With Fall Town Meeting now only days away, the man who spearheaded last year's recall effort has come out with a response to speculation on views over two open space warrant articles.

On Thursday, Roland Van Liew sent out an e-mail replying to a question made earlier this month by Phil Stanway of the Chelmsford Open Space Stewardship whether Van Liew would come out with a stance on proposals to purchase land adjacent to the Sunny Meadow Farm as well as the Sheehan Farm.

Van Liew, addressing attorney Phil Eliopoulos instead of Stanway in the letter, questions why the focus is on preserving these two sets of properties instead of preservation efforts on Oak Hill.

"It is interesting that, while the Town is motivated to spend millions to pay private landowners in order to keep open space, it has for the past two years aggressively pursued every avenue to find a way to take the town-owned open space at Oak Hill – double the size of the parcels on the Town Meeting Warrant – and put it to other purposes," he said in his letter.

While he says he will vote for both of the articles, he goes on to criticize the Oak Hill Study Committee as well as Paul Haverty and John Edward specifically over his opinion that the Oak Hill parcel will be turned into 40B affordable housing.

That claim was challenged yesterday by Haverty on the Chelmsford In-Town Report Facebook page, the original source of the question from Stanway.

There, Haverty says that Van Liew misrepresents the Oak Hill Study Committee's feasibility study for affordable housing on the property, and goes on to challenge his credibility on the subject, a challenge supported by Stanway, Planning Board member Colleen Stansfield and Board of Selectmen chairman Jon Kurland.

So, with Fall Town Meeting set to begin on Monday night, we want your thoughts: do you agree with Van Liew that Oak Hill is a bigger priority than Sunny Meadow and the Sheehan Farm when it comes to land preservation in Chelmsford? Will Van Liew have any significant impact on Fall Town Meeting, or for that matter, anything in future local politics? And what are your thoughts on what will happen for these properties?

Give us your thoughts in the comments section.

UPDATE 9:25 a.m. - Van Liew sent a message out this morning correctly attributing the quote to Stanway.

Andrew Weiner October 13, 2012 at 06:52 PM
(I preface this by invoking my 1st amendment rights so I don't need legal counsel to defend me on a defamation of character suit that Roland Van Liew is known for.) I think that Andrew Sylvia makes a valid comment. By all of us (myself included) commenting, no matter what our stance, it gives him the attention that a man of his stature requires for survival. That being said, how much longer can we let Roland Van Liew make a mockery of our town, and its government.
John Doe October 13, 2012 at 07:01 PM
The government of Chelmsford makes a mockery out of itself it doesn't need RVL
Paul Haverty October 15, 2012 at 12:59 PM
John, I've seen that Town of Carlisle talking point from Mr. Van Liew before, it makes not more sense coming from you. Carlisle is a more difficult place for a developer to construct a 40B project because of high land costs and a lack of sewer availability (thus requiring private septic/wasterwater treatment, and increasing construction costs). Eventually, a developer will find a parcel at a managable cost and will submit an application in Carlisle, and the Chapter 40B regulations adopted by the Board of Appeals won't slow them down for a second (it is risible to state that regulations adopted only via a vote of the Board of Appeals would serve as a greatere deterrent to a Chapter 40B development than local regulations adopted by the Town Meeting do). Carlisle is obviously well aware that the regulations they have adopted won't serve to block a Chapter 40B developer, as they too have passed a Planned Production Plan (the same plan that Mr. Van Liew attacks local officials in Chelmsford for adopting). As required by the appilcable regulations, Carlisle's plan includes a housing production schedule, which includes the following language: 1. Make Town-Owned Land Available for Affordable Housing Current Status: The contribution or ―bargain sale‖ of land owned by the Town but not essential for municipal purposes is a substantial component of Planned Production goals and will enable Carlisle to proactively launch its housing efforts.
Paul Haverty October 15, 2012 at 01:01 PM
Carlisle's plan can be found here: http://www.carlislema.gov/pages/carlislema_housing/20101102%20CarlisleHousProdPlan.pdf
Jon Kurland October 15, 2012 at 01:18 PM
Ron - It is important that people have confidence in our government. When someone puts out misinformation that questions the integrity of hard-working volunteers such as the Oak Hill Study Committee, I just want to set the record straight. I have informed people how they can easily have access to the minutes of the meetings so they can read for themselves how erroneous Mr. Van Liew's e-mail actually is. I find it curious that Mr. Van Liew corrected in the Patch his comment with respect to Phil Stanway's quote not being Phil Eliopoulos's as alleged in his e-mail, but he refused to correct his false statements about Paul Haverty and Colleen Stansfield being on the OHSC. Of course to acknowledge that glaring error would defeat his entire argument!


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