Select Boards schedule Nagog discussions

The Acton and Concord Select Boards have scheduled several important discussions about water from Nagog Pond over the coming weeks.

Monday, March 19: Both the Acton and Concord Boards of Selectmen will discuss an inter-municipal agreement concerning water supply to residences and businesses along Great Road (Rt. 2A) in Acton. Under the terms of this proposed agreement, Concord would provide water to residences and businesses along Great Road for 20–25 years, on the conditions that: (a) Concord is allowed to build its proposed water treatment plant at Nagog Pond, and (b) Acton will forbear from taking any legislative, regulatory, or judicial action to restrict Concord’s right to Nagog Pond water. Concord can terminate the agreement if certain triggering events happen, including Acton taking any legislative action to secure rights to Nagog Pond water.

Also on the agenda for the Concord Select Board, that same evening, is an agenda item labelled “Discuss scheduling a public forum on Nagog Pond issues.” No further information was provided for this agenda item.

Thursday, March 29: According to the legal notices in the March 15 Acton Beacon, the Acton Select Board will hold a hearing at 7pm on March 29 with regard to Concord’s application for a special use permit and site plan special permit to build a water treatment plant at Nagog Pond. There have now been two versions of the decision on these permit applications. Version 1, in March 2017, approved development of the water treatment system, but contained  many terms and conditions hammered out by the Acton BoS in response to citizens’ concerns. After Concord sued for relief of “onerous terms and conditions,” version 2 was negotiated and released in November 2017. As described in a previous Green Acton post, version 2 omitted or weakened many of the terms and conditions, including most of the water protections. Version 2 failed to achieve the required supermajority in a BoS vote. It seems likely that the March 29 hearing will center around a version 3, and that the terms and conditions will be intermediate in “Acton favorableness”  between versions 1 and 2. Continued provision of water along Great Road was one of the version 1 terms and conditions, but this issue has been carved out of the permit document and developed into the separate inter-municipal agreement described above. According to the legal notice, the “draft modified decision that will be the focus of the public hearing . . . can be inspected at Town Hall during normal business hours.” [Editor’s note 3/22/2018: This turns out not to be true.  A Green Acton member went to Town Hall during normal business hours, and was told that the document was still with the lawyers and not available for inspection.]  [Editor’s note 3/23/2018:  The digital version  of the draft modified decision with some explanatory context, is now on the Green Acton website here.]  [Editor’s note 3/30/3018:  The remand hearing has been postponed.  The new date is expected to be in mid-April.]

Tuesday, April 3: For Town Meeting, the Acton Select Board has  submitted a non-binding resolution, asking Town Meeting to approve the inter-municipal agreement between Acton and Concord. This request appears as Article 26 in the Town Meeting warrant (p. 62), titled “Great Road Water Supply.” The reason this issue is coming to Town Meeting, rather than just being signed off on by the BoS, is because the inter-municipal agreement could be interpreted as being in conflict with the (non-binding)  Town Meeting water articles adopted unanimously by Town Meeting 2017.  [Editor’s note 3/30/2018:  Green Acton has taken a  formal position in opposition to Article 26.]

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