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Tyngsboro to Gather Feedback Over Club Purchase

September 25, 2018

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TYNGSBORO -- Is the town interested in purchasing the Tyngsboro Country Club? To answer this, the Board of Selectmen wants to first hear from residents.

Town officials on Monday came to a consensus to hold a public session to gather input from townspeople on whether or not the town should purchase the approximately 85-acre property along Pawtucket Blvd. The session will be held at 7 p.m. on Oct. 24 in Old Town Hall, 10 Kendall Rd., according to Town Administrator Matt Hanson.

“It sounds like the town is becoming more and more interested to buy it, and I have no comment on that,” Tammy Garau, who co-owns the nine-hole golf course with her brother, Bobby Spindell, said Tuesday. “I am under agreement with Toll Brothers.”

David Bauer, division president of Toll Brothers, said the company is still interested in building a community for adults 55 and older. This community (which is one of the home builder’s specialties according to Bauer) would have 204 units -- a mix of town homes and detached single-family homes. There are plans to also build on the property a clubhouse, walking trails, and sports courts such as pickleball and bocce.

“Nothing from our perspective has changed. We’re just going through the process that we spoke about before,” Bauer said when reached by phone Tuesday. “It’s still ongoing and we’re looking forward to participating in the process with the town and the town’s residents.”

But because the property on which the Tyngsboro Country Club stands is under the state’s Chapter 61B program, the town of Tyngsboro has the right of first refusal. The program gives preferential tax treatment to landowners who maintain their property as open space for recreation, according to the Massachusetts government website.

Selectmen Chair Rick Reault, Selectman Hillari I. Wennerstrom, and Selectman David Robson said they are in favor of the town purchasing the country club.

“What I hear from the community right now is that they want us to purchase the property because they’re concerned with the housing development that might occur there,” said Wennerstrom, adding that she hasn’t heard opinions to the contrary.

Reault said he felt the best option to purchasing the property would be through a debt exclusion.

“If we did purchase the golf course, maybe a strategy would be to solicit a developer or business owner that would want to come in and potentially put a restaurant and banquet facility, because money generated from that business would compensate for any losses that you might have running the country club,” Reault said.

Reault said he feels the Tyngsboro Country Club is a treasure of the town. “It’s an asset,” he said. “It’s open space, and I think I’ve always promoted smart growth in town.”

Selectman Ron Keohane said more information is needed before he were to decide whether or not he’d support the town purchasing the Tyngsboro Country Club. Selectmen Vice Chair Steven A. Nocco did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Hanson said a debt exclusion would be the most likely option should the town be interested in purchasing the club.

“The only other funding option that the town would have available is to use some available funds from either the CPC or free cash or town reserve funds,” Hanson said.

According to Hanson, the purchase and sale agreement on the Tyngsboro Country Club property is contingent upon a senior resident overlay zoning being voted on and approved by the town. “The Planning Board currently has a draft of a senior resident overlay district that they are vetting and they intend to bring to the Special Town Meeting in November for consideration,” he said.

If that passes, Hanson said, it is expected that the town shortly after will receive a bonafide offer to purchase which would then trigger a 120-day right of first refusal period. During that time frame, the town would decide whether or not to purchase the property.

Special Town Meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Nov. 13 at Tyngsboro Elementary School, 205 Westford Rd.

Follow Amaris Castillo on Twitter @AmarisCastillo.

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