, Salem, MA

June 10, 2013

Letter: Hamilton should buy Pirie Farm

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

We are strongly advising the purchase of the Pirie Farm in the name of our town of Hamilton as we have the right of first refusal.

There are so many reasons to do so: It would give us the flexibility to make long-term plans with regard to LEEDS type cluster-housing, new green school(s), necessary cemetery expansion, tax revenue enhancement, saving open space and trails for ALL kinds for recreation; and this land could free up some downtown space for other uses, such as retail, clean tech, green tech, professional offices, elderly housing. The Pirie land could be possibly used for something of import that hasn’t been thought of yet, such as locating a water well.

Interest rates are historically low and since the principal payments would not commence for three years, that would give the town ample time to discuss all options on the table and would give us the luxury of some breathing room to pick a contractor, and make plans for any contingencies. The town of Hamilton has subsidized this farm for many, many years; now, let’s take this investment and put it to good use for EVERYONE, not just for outsiders who will profit at our expense. This is the true gimmick: The developer plans to sell these new mansions as “farms,” which will be then be subsidized by the town via lower tax rates which we must then absorb.

The argument by the other side smacks of a “sweetheart deal” with the developer and other like-minded parties who are involved. The level of hysteria is quite shocking; it has overcome those few who are pushing the town to walk away so that only certain private citizens and outsiders can profit. I question the ethics and motivation of this anonymous group, which has been busy with mass-mailing their propaganda. The multiple mailed ads and the street signs about “saving Hamilton” are misleading and insulting, stating that the town’s ethics and motivation are “questionable.” Even some residences in Wenham are exhibiting these misleading signs! There will be no lack of planning, and owning the Pirie property will not “cripple” the ability of us to support our local businesses or improve our schools or build affordable housing as the opponents suggest in their offensive mass mailing. In fact, the very opposite is true!

We don’t think Hamilton should walk away from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. Some of you might remember the debacle with the Hamilton portion of the Iron Rail property in the early ’80s when the town had a one-time chance to purchase that acreage. Many were disappointed when the town declined to purchase and the field was privately developed and taxes flew through the roof due to all the children flooding into the system. Let’s do it right this time; let us be practical and make this purchase for the good of the whole town of Hamilton.

If you live in Hamilton, and want to support the town and its future, then please make it a point to vote YES at the June 11, Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. special town meeting at the Winthrop Elementary School at 325 Bay Road in Hamilton.

Vote Yes! Hope to see you there!

Warren and Darcy Dale

South Hamilton