June 27, 2005
Rushed Public Land Sales to End!
Great News: The rushed sales of state land by DCAM will come to an end as Section 548 sunsets on schedule on June 30!
A last-ditch attempt to extend DCAM’s authority to dispose of
surplus lands was stripped from the FY06 budget by the House/Senate conference committee. As a result, land disposition will revert to the former Chapter 7 process which allows community input and holds local legislators accountable for the approval of land transfers.
The restoration of community planning rights is a victory for grassroots community activists who went up against some powerful Beacon Hill forces. Special recognition is due to:
– Waltham City Councilors George Darcy and Steven Rourke who put their city on record as opposing reauthorization. The Waltham Land Trust, the Waltham League of Women Voters, Citizens for Lexington Conservation, WCONA, MCHC and many other groups have also been tireless in their local and statewide efforts.
– Senator Susan Fargo who worked intensively to get the land sales measure taken out of the budget. Speaker Salvatore DiMasi for fulfilling his promise not to allow attachments to the budget to be used to bypass the legislative process.
New legislation that re-authorizes rushed sales by DCAM may be advanced later this year, but these bills will be more difficult to pass since they must endure the scrutiny of a legitimate legislative process.
For now, communities with land at risk can breath a little easier.