Norwell: Residents Upset Over Whiting Fields Proposal

Norwell Board of Selectmen took some heat Wednesday night over what to do with the Whiting Fields property on Main Street and Lincoln Street.

About 40 people packed the selectmen’s meeting for the discussion.

The board’s proposal is to use $3.8 million dollars in Community Preservation Funds to purchase 124 acres of the Carlton family property, including 12 acres of what’s known as Whiting Fields.

Some residents are upset about selectmen’s plans to form a committee to look into uses for the land, which townspeople believe should be conserved in perpetuity.

Selectmen say they’re committed to preserving the Whiting Fields.

Planning Board Chair Don Mauch went at it with the Board of Selectmen regarding the issue.

“We’re talking about preserving what’s known as the Whiting Fields and I think we made that abundantly clear,” said Chairman Jason Brown.

Don Mauch disagreed.

“Well it wasn’t abundantly clear from the C.P.C. meeting the other night, because that was an idea – the concept of putting buffers on either side – and Ellen was sitting there and Alison was sitting there, and you all know that it came from ordinary citizens from the crowd, of establishing buffers with conservation restrictions. Alison – you sat there and said, ‘yeah I’m not opposed to that, I’m not opposed to that at all.’ So that is really the first time that I think you ever heard that concept.” Mauch charged.

“That’s ridiculous. That’s absolutely ridiculous,” said Selectmen Greg McBride .

“That’s ridiculous. That’s not the first time we’ve ever heard that concept,” replied Selectman Vice Chair Alison Demong.

“My gosh, Alison has stood up at town meeting, what, ten times in response to your request to eliminate the C.P.A. surcharge?” said Selectman Ellen Allen.

“Which we should,” shot back Mauch.

“Yeah, you didn’t put it in this year, but obviously we would not be buying this nor have the opportunity to prevent apartment buildings,” Allen continued.

“If we hadn’t returned the $1.4 million dollars for your ‘pathwalks’, you wouldn’t have the money to spend on it,” Mauch retorted.

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About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.