Saturday, May 10, 2008

Town Meeting Warrant Article 30 - This Land is Your Land, No Now It’s My Land


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UPDATE:

Article 30 passed unanimously, after having been amended to include a conservation restriction. The Gibbs land has been preserved in perpetuity as open space, and my thanks go to the Town Planner, the residents of Thompson Street, and the voters who wrote and called to voice concerns about the future of this property. Thank you one and all for a win-win resolution--Fiferstone

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The "architecturally and historically sensitive" area that I live in is in danger of being toasted by a bingo hall at one end, and creeping expansion of Oak Point at the other end…and both may become nearer neighbors to me than I originally thought.


On Friday night, Judy Gibbs advised several people in CasinoFacts of the latest developments on the purchase and sale of her land. Her own words tell the sad tale best.

Dear friends,

I can now tell you what Dick & I have been doing for the last several weeks. We have had many meetings with our lawyer and Timothy Hashem, (TNT Excavating), and his lawyer Craig Medeiros. Tim is the person who was buying our land, however we have to let the town have first refusal, this is a legal deal that we have always known and always agreed with, if this is what the town residents vote for so be it.
No problem!! We're just as happy to have it for conservation/protected land & still sell.

HOWEVER, after hearing from two different people some weeks ago, that Ruth had her own plans to have town buy our land, (again OK with us, no surprise, this is what we signed up for), and then in 5yrs. sell it to the tribe!! NOW I HAVE A PROBLEM, being a member of cfo.org since April/May of 07 to fight this casino which I still am fighting now, as of May of 08, this news ate away at me, day & night, I have been sick, it has bothered me so much to know not only were they planning to give my land to the tribe, but to make it even worse Ruth and the BOS were not being honest with the town residents, this fact was & never has been given to the residents. Dick, to save my sanity, so I could finally sleep through the night, decided that we would see about rescinding the "deal" meaning NO ONE BUYS OUR LAND. We took it off the market. We would let it sit and be OURS, no money, but no casino will ever own it!!!!

After spending much money, going back & forth w/Tim, & lawyers, (Tim who has been wonderful and very understanding), FINALLY, legal letter was ready & FINALLY everyone signed off on the purchasing sale agreement, so now our lawyer could legally rescind the whole deal, and FINALLY the letter was ready this Thursday morning so Dick picked up the 4 letters that needed to go to 4 different dept.'s to be legal and delivered them, well 3, the BOS room was closed & locked for the afternoon, so he went back Friday morning & successfully dropped it off. FINALLY!!

HOWEVER, back up, Thur. afternoon, our lawyer received a call from Dan Murray, Town Counsel, the town will go ahead and buy the land anyway. In the legal document for chapter 61 land, the process for selling has two short lines in the part of "the sale of" the town will proceed anyway and use this confusing piece to legally purchase it anyway. Our lawyer who does this on a daily basis was very surprised that the town will really push this for only 12.2 acres (when he knows they don't have the money) and we're not going to sell it anyway, it would sit there in chapter 61 as it has been for the last 20 yrs, US paying the taxes on it, and now the town will buy it and the residents will be paying taxes on it, it didn't make sense to him, unless this is a very rich town!! He knew a casino could, his words, possibly come to Middleboro. but didn't put the two together, casino - our land, Ruth's plan. I told him the "whole" story, what I have been told by these two reliable people who are on the "inside." When we first started this saga I didn't feel it necessary to tell him about the casino & Ruth, small town politics wouldn't matter to him on the why, just asked him to do legally what we had to do to get out of agreement w/poor Tim.

Now, our last word from the town, via Dan Murray, it looks like they are confident they have the votes, they will purchase our land!! I wanted all of you at CFO board of directors to know, we tried to take it away from the town by taking it off the market, meaning Tim loses, we lose, but it was that important to me ONLY because of the REASONS THEY ARE PURCHASING THE LAND. YES I DO BELIEVE THE CASINO IS NOT COMING!! BUT, I COULDN'T LET THIS CORRUPTED BOS/RUTH, GET AWAY WITH THE LIES AND SUCH DISHONESTY, WE WERE WILLING TO GIVE UP THE MONEY TO DO THIS, AND KEEP PAYING THE TAXES, (GRANTED IT IS NOT A LOT), BUT IT WOULD BE "OURS" & NOT THEIRS!! AND I COULD NOW SLEEP THROUGH THE NIGHT. SO I THOUGHT.

I have one last thing to say, yes Tim was going to build houses. Before we decided to sell, we had to know how many, after surveyors, engineers, conservation people had been all over our land, the count was 5, with a possibility of 6, but very unlikely. That didn't seem like many to us, as our neighbor on the right side of us, Bonfigleoni already has the OK for 21 houses, which at this time he only completed 3, it appears he has started building again and will eventually in time complete the rest. Now, on our left side, we have the owner of Oak Point, who, we strongly feel, has already purchased all of the Cumberland Farms land from the corner of Plain St. right up to the edge of the Blanchard farm, (in our opinion this will be Darmen's next purchase), for many, you know this to be true, many mobile homes!! So ok, we shouldn't build 5 more houses, but why don't they stop the growth of Oak Point, which is now filtering down Thompson St? How can Ruth justify 12.2 acres for conservation when the town gave away many more acres, the Striar land, to casino backers!! so it's bad to have 5 homes as neighbors but it's OK to have a casino as a neighbor?? it's Ok for Darmen to "keep" growing w/huge amounts of homes? on Ruth's beloved rural Thompson St. ?



Fiferstone here. How can the Board of Selectmen and the Town Planner justify forced acquisition of 12.2 acres from Dick and Judy Gibbs for “conservation” of open space, when the town practically gave away 10 times as much existing open space to foreign reservation bingo hall backers so that more wetland could be lost, and when it has thus far approved every expansion of Oak Point to date? As Judy says, it’s OK to have a bingo hall as a neighbor in a rural-residential zoned designated historic district, away from the proposed “commercial development area” and in the middle of a watershed. It's also OK to grant repeated approvals for the seemingly-endless expansion of Oak Point. But by all means, let’s not have 5 more houses on Thompson Street.




Well in my heart we did the right thing, we tried, the letters were delivered, we have our receipts for each one, we so wanted to NOT let them, get away with being a casino town, we know they are purchasing our land for the wrong reasons!! We will have our money, but I'm sad about who it will come from, the residents.



To me the HUGE point in this, is that the Town Counsel (at the behest of the Town Planner and the BOS) is going to bulldoze the rights of Dick and Judy Gibbs as a property owners, in all probability so that the proposed reservation bingo hall can have a bigger parking lot or an access road or a sewage pumping station or what-have-you five years from now. Because the Gibbs land land is chapter 61 land, town counsel is going to invoke a rarely-used clause to force Judy and Richard to make a sale they no longer wish to make—to anyone—for any purpose, and we are going to pay for that sale. Think such a thing cannot happen to you because your property is not Chapter 61 property? Think again! Remember the City of New London in Connecticut? (a state which offers two examples of how casino development ought not to go), New London trampled the rights of longstanding property owners in Fort Trumbull, a neighborhood, in favor of a private developer, in the name of “revitalization,” the property owners resisted the taking of their property by eminent domain, and the case went to the Supreme Court, which ruled in favor of the city and the developer, with some dissenting opinions. The net result for New London? Several lifelong residents of Fort Trumbull, who owned their homes outright and who paid their taxes, were done out of their homes. Yet, instead of “revitalization,” the city got nothing. The project for which they were evicted never materialized (does that sound familiar? It ought to. This reservation bingo hall has as good a chance of coming to fruition as the New London revitalization). The city of New London created some lovely attractive nuisances (see the picture at the beginning of this post), and the developer defaulted.



Given the precedent set by the Supreme Court in 2005, what chance would a homeowner here have, who stands in the way of a private developer that this town wishes to partner with in the name of economic development and revitalization? Slim to none, and slim left town. Unless you vote against article 30 on Tuesday, May 13, at the High School, starting at 7:00 p.m. PLEASE PEOPLE, COME TO TOWN MEETING AND STAY AS LONG AS IT TAKES TO VOTE NO ON ARTICLE 30! This bingo hall madness must stop.


6 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'll be there with bells on! Lets do this people. NO ON 30! For once lets have our say!

carverchick said...

Fiferstone,

When I got that email from Judy, I was horrified. I cannot believe your town - forcing a sale of land for casino developers. Absolutely disgraceful!! If I were a resident of that Town, I'd get my butt down to Town Hall first thing on Monday morning and start raising holy hell about this to anyone who would listen. I understand that the Town has every right to buy this land....what gets me angry is the reason they want the land -- that and then forcing Judy to sell it even after she took it off the market. It seems to me that the casino investors and Tribe are already running your town.

Anonymous said...

IT SEEMS TO ME THAT YOU COULD HAVE AVOIDED ALL OF THIS IF YOU HAD NOT WANTED TO SELL YOUR LAND IN THE FIRST PLACE. GARY DARMON AND THE CASINO BACKERS BOUGHT THEIR LAND FROM MIDDLEBORO RESIDENTS. SO SHAME ON YOU!!

Fiferstone said...

Anonymous 3:08:

The bingo hall madness was started because the Town Manager took it upon himself to speak to the tribe soon after it achieved federal recognition, and sold the idea of the Mashpee Wampanoag Reservation Bingo Hall to the BOS in his memo entitled "Casino, Anyone?" circulated to the BOS in March of 2007. The TOWN sold 150 or so acres of TOWN property to the casino developer. That started the ball rolling. Once that parcel was sold, the casino backers could (and did) approach landowners of abutting properties to acquire their land or acquire options on their land. It was the TOWN GOVERNMENT of Middleboro in the person of the Town Manager and in the persons of the BOS who started and enuthiastically encouraged this madness, not individual landowners in Middleboro and certainly not Dick and Judy Gibbs. Please read the Gazette, the Enterprise, the Globe, The Herald, Wicked Local, etc. etc. The Gibbs' have staunchly opposed the bingo hall all along. They sold their house and were seeking to sell their land because they are moving to Lakeville. When one moves from one community to another, one customarily sells one's property in one's former community when doing so. What is unusual about Dick and Judy Gibbs is that they care enough about Thompson Street that they are willing to take the extraordinary step of NOT selling their land, and of being willing to pay taxes on it indefinitely, in order to insure that it is not used to feed the bingo hall madness, because they have good reason to believe that the current town government cannot be trusted to protect it.

As to Oak Point, again, if abutting private landowners are willing to sell to the developer they have no one but themselves to blame. However, as custodian of the character of the community, the town government is failing in that job by continuing to approve the outward expansion of Oak Point. The project has grown well beyond the original scope and shows no sign of ceasing growth, so long as there is land available to acquire and expand onto. Again, this has nothing to do with Dick and Judy Gibbs. My point is that one cannot assume that being compelled to sell once one has changed one's mind about selling one's property can only happen to Chapter 61 land. That's why I cite Kelso. The residents of Trumbull in New London adamantly did NOT want to sell, did not want to vacate their homes, tried to avail themselves of every protection under law, all the way to the United States Supreme Court, and they ultimately were done out of their homes by a developer hoping to cash in on the new Pfizer office campus, by building condominiums for the Pfizer employees in what had been Trumbull. Buildings were razed and left standing vacant, the condos were never built, and a dangerous precedent by which a private developer can force people from their homes in the name of "economic revitalization" was set. To date, there are no state or local protections against the same standard being applied HERE. Are you seriously suggesting that a person does NOT have the right to change their mind about selling their property? I hope you would be willing to have the same standard applied to you someday, because it very well might be, depending on where you live.

Anonymous said...

My family will be there, as well as some of my neighbors to support the Gibbs and oppose the land purchase. The land will remain in 61A where it is SAFE from the clutches of the town planner and BOS.

I would bet the casino backers are looking for a rear/fire service entrance to the casino. Also a little payback to the Gibb's for their anti-casino satnce. How Sad!!

beth said...

To the BOS and Town Planner: I'll be there with rings on my fingers and bells on my toes and a bone in my nose to join others voting NO!!! Fool me once-Shame on You. Fool me twice-Shame on Me.