Monday night, a small crowd of Hanson voters attended the town’s Special Town Meeting which started off 15-minutes late.
Within one hour, Hanson residents voted on 18 articles but article 19 brought on debate. Voters were asked to hand over a narrow 25-acre stretch of land located at the abandoned Plymouth County Hospital that’s owned by the town to the Hanson Conservation Commission for open space and recreation purposes.
But Selectmen Chair Stephen Amico spoke against the proposal saying there needs to be a better handle on what it’s use will be because it would take state legislation for the town to regain ownership.
However, the Open Space Committee Chair Phil Clemons argued that there would still be 32-acres left for future development at the hospital site, “We don’t think it would impair the reuse of the rest of the property. It would probably take quite a bit more time to determine what we’re going to do with the remainder of the property. It’s already been 13-years.”
But one Hanson man asked, what’s the rush?
“Even if it sat 13 years, we have a hospital building there that’s going to cost somewhere in between $500,000 and $1 million to tear down. We have no idea what this land is going to be used for,” said Bob Hayes
Laura Kemmett from Hanson’s Community Preservation Committee said there is a plan which includes walking trails because the land is impractical for development, “Anybody that thinks that it might be used for other purposes, take a walk down there, you’ll have to put on some mud boots because its wetlands, it’s nearly a 100% wetlands.”
To transfer land into the custody of the Conservation Commission requires a two-thirds vote.
However the article failed and immediately after the vote was taken, the required quorum of 100 voters to conduct town meeting was questioned which proved they were shy of about 20 Hanson residents.
But since the vote was taken before the quorum was questioned, the proposal remains rejected.
There are still 8 articles left so Hanson’s Special Town Meeting will reconvene Tuesday night inside the middle school at 7:30PM.