15 Sep 2014
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Selectmen Discuss School Appeal at Monday Meeting

Board members cranked through a two-page agenda in one hour and during high school conversation said they were prepared for current appeals.

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Wilmington’s Board of Selectmen discussed a variety of issues on Monday night, including the high school appeals on the eve of a .

After discussing the , conversation moved to the current high school appeals.

Board members discussed the progress of the appeals, and spoke about the process in advance of Tuesday morning’s pre-screening conference that kicked off the adjudicatory timeline.

Chairman Mike Newhouse said on Monday that within about one week, the hearing officer will generate a conference report that will sum up what was accomplished during the Tuesday session. That document is a public record and will be made available some time after it is completed.

“With an issue that is garnering so much interest in the general public, I feel compelled to let the public know that the board is unanimous in our position on this project,” said Newhouse. “The appeal is without merit and the town will prevail in these appeals.”

Selectman Michael McCoy added his own thoughts on the issue after Newhouse laid out the appeal timeline, that will likely cap with a tentatively scheduled October 25 hearing that Newhouse admitted is not set in stone.

“It will be a 12 round fight and the Town of Wilmington will win the decision,” said McCoy. “It’ll be more time and money is what it comes down to. It’s become more personal than professional ... It’s sad and pathetic. But in the end we will be like Muhammad Ali. We’ll give a little ‘rope a dope’ but win the decision.”

Mike Champoux also weighed in on the appeals, which could end up costing about a $3 million increase according to previous estimates by town consultants.

Champoux referred to comments that the town may have not been prepared for the appeals when planning for school construction. The selectman said that is not the case.

“We are at the mercy of the process,” said Champoux. “This didn’t take us by surprise per se. We were not in any way ill prepared for what we face today. We hoped we wouldn’t have to face these issues.”

Selectmen also approved a preservation restriction at the meeting for the Woburn Street property known as the Richardson Estate.

In addition, board members passed grants of easement for drainage on Lawrence Street and Lexington Street. Those two items were important according to board members because they will help alleviate storm water flooding issues in town.

Discussion on a request to change the name and owner at Dom's Mobil on Main Street was tabled because Town Manager Michael Caira said there are issues related to taxes that came to his attention before the meeting.

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