By Max Bowenfirstname.lastname@example.org
Among its various departments, the Town of North Attleborough owns over 300 properties, hundreds of acres’ worth of land.
In 2021, the town plans an in-depth review of these sites to determine their best use, whether this is as a recreational site or if there is potential for new development. Some of these sites are already in use, such as the schools, fire stations, and other municipal buildings.
At the Jan. 11 Town Council meeting, Town Manager Michael Borg listed some of the different departments and the parcels they are manage. For example, the Conservation Commission has 76 parcels totaling 397 acres that it is responsible for, and the Department of Public Works has 18 parcels at 135 acres, while the School Department has 13 parcels at 140 acres.
“There are a lot of considerations and collaborations that needs to go on before a decision is made,” said Borg.
The Town Manager stressed that this is not simply about economic development, and any discussions on that would be limited to sites such as the Curtois property or those taken for tax purposes. Borg added that while it is important to see which sites can be utilized for economic benefit to the town, there are a number of properties that need to be protected.
“If it’s been given to Conservation in a trust, we’re honoring that trust,” he said.
Zoning would also be a part of the process. Amendments to the bylaws are required to change zoning on a parcel, and these would be voted on by the Town Council. Borg said that the process is still in its initial states, and he expects to work with the council, as well as the Economic Development Subcommittee and others. He said this would also tie into the new Open Space and Master plans that are being developed.
“Before summer gets here, we will have a better indication on what we are looking to do,” said Borg.
Town Council Vice President Justin Pare was supportive of the idea, but wanted to see a list of assessed values for the sites. Fellow Councilor Darius Gregory asked to see information on any sites that are contaminated.
“Let’s see what is within reach and what needs more work,” said Gregory.