Monthly Archives: February 2008

Cocasset River Park

From: The Foxboro Reporter

“…The lawyer’s filing includes an affidavit of Michael G. Sites, president of the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commission. Sites states that in his opinion the town, including the local commission, lacks the authority to allow the dog park at Cocasset River Park. …”

Interesting comment from attorney Sites, who also has years of town ConComm and land use/regulations experience. Visit Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.

Makes me wonder if the original formation of Cocasset River Park (and subsequent use for almost 40 years) was contrary to the deed stipulations or any regulations then or later on. Would be nice to be able to see the deed again. Maybe a better solution or alternative would be to reclaim/recreate the original land use/restore it to what was there prior to deed transfer and then go from there or do something else such as:
– a complete long range plan for the use of the land including Open Space Surveys and planning which many communities do for smart growth initiatives and to acquire funding to procure and protect more open space and conservation land. Like the planning for the State hospital land and other places (and in most municipalities), this usually includes and requires plenty of time and comments (and comment periods) from everyone, including citizens, boards, agencies, and anyone else interested in what happens with the property in question. This often takes more than a few years to properly accomplish.
– halt everything, start from scratch
– determine if this is a change in use, who has jurisdiction over the use of the facility (and other facilities in town), and which town department is responsible for the land and facility.
– figure out potential legal liabilities of having a privately run or operated facility on public land (and that includes any public land, including CRRA, the common, lakes, and more)…indemnification?
– don’t forget that there have been much larger projects started and later stopped, even though millions of dollars and thousands of hours of effort had already been put into the projects.
– don’t detract from the use issue by denegrating either side by getting into familial, friendship, and professional relationships and ties or calling people “dog lovers” and “dog haters”.

Examples:
Town Of Hanson Open Space Survey – “…Last Updated: 2008/2/9…
The Open Space Committee in conjunction with the Conservation Commission is conducting a survey of the Town’s Open Space needs. Attached is the survey in a downloadable PDF Format. Please download, complete and return it to the Open Space Committee. Your opinions count. Thank you for your participation. …”

– Canton’s Bridge to nowhere and Fowl Meadow area: Planned and partially built ramp near the 128/95 split; it’s now an artifact and fun birding and trail spot.

Wetlands Restoration

Topographic Map – 7/1/1987
Aerial View – 3/29/1995

Cocasset River Park

Here are a few more links and things to ponder….

Perhaps a ballot question rather than town meeting…or planning forums and input from all residents?

Dog walking business? Are these the same people who put forth the idea and are in favor of a privately run dog park on public land?

Taunton, Seekonk, Jamaica Plain, North Attleboro, Medway, Dedham, where else?

Who schedules the use of the playing fields?

Who unlocks the main entrance gates?

Do the Police patrol CRRA?


Massachusetts 4H/Dogs

If the water quality and recharge at the swimming hole is good, why didn’t we reopen the park for human swimming, picnicing, and beach and playground use??

Cocasset River Park

A few questions come to mind when reading about the Cocasset River Park controversy:

  • were/are there other places in town a dog park could be located? (Selectmen Sullivan stated someone told him there were three…are there any more?)
  • where is such a use permitted or planned for in the town bylaws and master plan?
  • why does the town need a dog park?
  • why are people from out of town allowed to bring their pets here?
  • we have sidewalks and yards, don’t we?
  • do we have a “pooper-scooper” law on the books?
  • whose jurisdiction does the land and use of it fall under and did they talk to all others and consult bulidout/masterplans before proceeding?
  • why was it proposed for CRP and not somewhere else, even CRRA/Camp St. Augustine or the newer areas being developed?
  • how/does this tie in to the purchase and utilization of Camp St. Augustine?
  • should such a use of any town land have been put forth at a zoning board or town meeting first (changes in zoning, use)?

If I remember correctly, Cocasset River park never(?) allowed dogs and was eventually closed due to problems keeping the water quality up to standards. There was also problems with vandalism of the cement-block administration building (toilets and sinks). For years, the gates were locked and not much was done with the land.

What were our town Planners up to? They had to have known something needed to be done to the property to utilize it for townsfolks…other than use the field occassionally for soccer and baseball games. What about the playground, picnic area, beach, and pond? According to the Commonwealth, Foxborough hasn’t created a Community Development Plan pursuant to Executive Order 418 yet…even though there’s up to $30,000 and numerous guides available to help facilitate the completion of a CDP.

What options for this land parcel were put forward? It seems there are many things that can or could be done with the area. A nice interactive learning (biology, ecology, hydrology, geology, astronomy, geography, botany, etc.) area for the schools, groups, and residents? Revitalize the previous use – swimming (where people could learn how to swim, take classes, bring the kids and grandparents, etc.)? Safe boating/canoeing lessons? Campground? Fishing? Outdoor Skating Rink? Sell off? Protect the surface and ground water?

Regardless of who says what about the noise, fecal matter, smell, etc., the neighbors and abutters that were living there prior to the establisment of a dog park now have an abutting nuisance. They have every right to bring forth a lawsuit. And, volunteering on any town board means that a lawsuit might be brought against you. Happens all the time to people acting in their best judgement. But, even if you have years of service or experience, that doesn’t mean you’re always correct or fully knowledgeable about something (that includes lawyers, board members, CEO’s, residents, anyone). Yes, that’s imo and $.02.

CRP Area

Boston Globe

P.S. did you know there used to be shortcuts out of the park? Ride you bike through the sand or take a walk in the woods…you’ll see…to South Street, Mill Street…just don’t lose your tag!

So the Pats were 18-1…

Time for the Selectmen to make good on their bet.

A 580MW power plant located in Walpole, near our town line? Sen. Timilty is at tonight’s meeting….and so will all sides of the Dog Park debate.