Rockland: Selectmen support Starwood agreement for Southfield development

The Rockland Board of Selectman has come to an agreement with Starwood for the development of Southfield that will allow the town to benefit from the continuation of the project.

Selectmen Chair Edward Kimball said Weymouth’s recent agreement with Starwood led to a decision of either “Rockland’s in or Rockland’s out.”

“I think the timeline and the fact that Weymouth was reaching a decision…put pressure on us to come up with something prior to legislation being filed,” Kimball said.

The draft MOA negotiated between Starwood and Kimball and Larry Ryan from the Selectmen includes up to 2 acres of land to be designated for a new public safety facility, $1 million in mitigation fees over a 9-year period, and Rockland potentially providing water and sewer services for their portion of land.

“We’re open to partner with the towns in any creative way,” Matthew Barry, Starwood Vice President said, “Water and wastewater, we need a solution for it, and if Rockland has sources for the land in Rockland, we’re happy to give them that opportunity.”

Kimball said it is ultimately up to the town’s Water Commissioner to decide, but he wanted it to at least be an option.

The Selectmen voted unanimously to support this agreement at their meeting Monday night.

However, the town still holds a few concerns with the proposed legislation for Southfield.

Kimball said the “primary concern” is to make sure the East-West Parkway improvements are done, and financed by the state. That language is included in the proposed legislation.

What is not included is Rockland’s preferred make-up of the new proposed 9-member Tri-Town Board.

In the proposed legislation, this new Board would consist of two Southfield residents (who reside in Weymouth), two Weymouth residents, two Rockland residents, one Abington resident, a Labor Union representative, and a South Shore Chamber of Commerce representative.

“I think the fairest way to do this if they’re looking for Southfield residents…we could split that equally [with Weymouth] and we could fill that position until Rockland actually has a person living within Southfield,” Kimball said.

The Selectmen set a Special Town Meeting for August, 11. However, since the legislation may be passed by the end of this month, they are looking to hold a public hearing to gain the town’s input sometime in the next few weeks.

 

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.