Northborough selectmen discuss dog park
By David Fassler
Northborough – Organizing for a new political year, the Northborough Board of Selectmen unanimously elected Jeff Amberson as chair, Dawn Rand as vice chair, and Leslie Rutan as clerk at the board's meeting held May 23. The selectmen also welcomed newly elected member Aaron Hutchins to the board; he thanked the citizens of Northborough for electing him to the position.
About 40 people attended a public input session to discuss a dog park that is being proposed for 195 Southwest Cutoff. Prior to the session, Town Administrator John Coderre apologized to the residents of Hitching Post Lane for not notifying them of prior public hearings for the proposed park. Coderre cited that that the omission of notification was an “administrative glitch” and assured those in attendance that it was not caused by the Friends of Northborough Dog Park.
Frances O”Neil, who addressed the board as a spokesperson for the housing association on Hitching Post Lane, stressed that the association did not wish to take legal action. But she added, due to a lack of notification on the matter, the association felt that legal maneuvering was the only way to get the attention of the board, which until the May 23 meeting, had not yet heard from affected residents in that neighborhood.
If approved, the dog park would be located on a strip of conservation land that separates Hitching Post Lane and a working farm, and would be less than 50 yards from some of the residential units. Some of the units closest to the proposed dog park, which would allow dogs to be off-leash, also have small children, O”Neil said. Many residents have expressed concern about large dogs that are not required to be spayed or neutered and are off-leash and potentially unsupervised, as being unsafe, she added.
Possible water contamination was another fear cited. The six structures on the cul-de-sac of Hitching Post Lane all draw water from wells, causing many of the residents to fear that dog waste would taint their water.
Aesthetics was another concern of homeowners.
“If you look out the windows from my living room, I would be looking directly onto the dog park,” Hitching Post Lane resident Michael Franklin said. “There really isn's a lot of space and I would invite any member of the board to come to my home and see for themselves.”
O”Neil said that many of the residents purchased their homes located near the conservation land because they understood that that property would remain in a natural state.
Anthony Ziton of the Friends of Northborough Dog Park, said his group, which represents about 160 families, has filed all required documents for the park.
The board continued the hearing until a future date although that date was not specified.
Other action taken by the board included acceptance of 2011 Re-Precincting Plan with no changes to the map, approval of a Wine & Malt Beverages Restaurant License with Cordials and Liqueurs Permit to Mama's Pizzeria & More Inc., located at 10 Blake St. and the signing of a memorandum of understanding for a water discharge easement on Green Street.
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