Weymouth: Town and starwood facing short timeline for legislation submission

Weymouth Town council has asked their attorneys from Burns & Levinson to  meet with Starwood, Mayor Susan Kay, and five representatives from the Council in attempts to  “hash out” the issues.

After review of Starwood’s proposed legislation and every document received up to date, Matthew Feher and Anatoly Darov with Burns & Levinson, presented their review to Town Council Monday night.

In their review, Feher and Darov pointed out the risks and benefits of “themes” in the legislation, including: South Shore Tri-Town Development Corporation (SSTTDC) Governance, the Reuse and Master Plans, zoning control, infrastructure financing, tax collection responsibility and municipal service obligations.

The Council focused a lot of their conversation on projected risks associated with parts of the legislation concerning timing considerations and contingencies.

“The clock starts ticking as soon as the legislation is signed,” Feher said, “Including amending all the operative agreements in place,  [and] transferring certain rights and responsibilities to the town from Tri-Town.”

Feher added that if the state did not agree to fund the Parkway completion within 180 days, all responsibilities would revert back to SSTTDC. “That creates a lot of administrative and cost issues,” Feher said.

Some Councilors expressed concern that changing certain agreements and taking on responsibilities should take place after negotiations with the state are settled and in place.

Councilor Arthur Matthews suggested “switching the numbers,” giving a 180-day time frame for agreement negotiations such as zoning regulation changes, and a 90-day time frame for the Parkway agreement with the state.

Matthew Barry, Starwood Vice President, said he thinks there is very low risk, but agreed to  look at the timelines to align them with the town’s priorities.

“Taxing starts July,1, fiscal years start July,1, and so we were pointing this legislation toward July, 1 to allow Weymouth  the opportunity to have the maximum benefit of direct tax revenue,” Barry said.

In order to get the legislation passed during this legislative session, Barry said they have asked for it to be filed on or before April, 15.

According to Barry, there have been two deadlines, and one passed on Friday, April, 4 when  Administration and Finance said that they may call the bond for the Parkway, which would require SSTTDC to make a payment between $28-$29 million.

Barry added that this would immediately bankrupt SSTTDC and would cause Starwood to reevaluate going forward. “The Parkway Phase II is critical to success,” he said.

Barry pointed out that within the 13 separate occasions Starwood has appeared before the Council, 21 legislative changes have been made and five or more changes have been added to a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA).

Weymouth resident Gus Perez addressed the Council Monday night as well, stressing the importance of passing Starwood’s proposed legislation.

“You have a choice to continue between nothing and continuing to do nothing, and continuing to receive nothing while inheriting all the risk, or doing something,” Perez said, “That is supporting this legislative change…yes, both have risks… but the greater risk stands with doing nothing.”

Barry said they are  aware of the legislative timeline that ends July, 31.

“We are concerned as we approach only 90 days to go to pass a legislative change of this significance,” Barry said.

Council President Patrick O’Connor said he wants to see a final product as soon as possible.

 

About Samantha Tracey

Samantha Tracey graduated from Salem State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. She has been reporting on local issues in a variety of towns: Bridgewater, Abington, Carver, Weymouth, East Bridgewater, Hanson, Halifax, etc. She says growing up on the South Shore has made it interesting now to be covering news in such familiar places.