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.