For the first time since two appeals were filed in July that delayed high school construction, a timeline for the process is beginning to come together.
All involved parties are scheduled to be in one room on Tuesday during a pre-screening conference that is held by the Office of Appeals and Dispute Resolution of the Department of Environmental Protection.
Appealing residents were asked to submit what pieces they are specifically concerned about to a hearings officer in advance of the session. A date of October 25 was established for the appeal to be heard in the event that the dispute is not resolved prior. Town Manager Michael Caira said the appeals will likely not be solved by that October date.
During Tuesday’s conference, any other potential dates and deadlines will also be established.
“The real importance to the meeting is that it’ll define the issues to be adjudicated,” said Caira. “There has been a lot presented in the documents, some of which probably needs to be clarified. What we hope to get out of this is really some definition to the issues that are germane to the process and within the jurisdiction of the hearing.”
Kevin MacDonald, who is the spokesman for one of the appeals, said he is not just filing the appeal for show. MacDonald believes he will be victorious in his battle against the town’s plans.
“We’re not playing games. This is about protecting the environment,” said MacDonald. “This is about letting the people at the DEP know what our intentions are. This is not going to just be fluffed over. There is going to be a real hard look taken at this.”
The Board of Selectmen will discuss the high school appeals on Monday night as members get back to work with a 7 p.m. meeting inside Town Hall, Room 9.
MacDonald said he’s been preparing documents for Tuesday’s conference, and that he believes it the first step in working towards correcting the flaws with the high school plan.
“If the town builds the new school and there’s a massive problem, we’re stuck building a school that I believed is overpriced already,” said MacDonald. “To make a long story short, I’m looking to have things done right with this project. I don’t believe things have been done in the best interest of the community or the environment.”
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