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West Bridgewater

Voters reject land purchase

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Voters at annual Town Meeting Tuesday turned down a proposal to use $385,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to purchase an agricultural preservation restriction for the former Hayward Dairy Farm. The article received 118 “yes” and 88 “no” votes, but 136 votes — a two-thirds majority — were required because it was a bonding issue. The purchase of the restriction was to have been combined with the purchase of the property by the nonprofit group Trust for Public Lands, which would have preserved the property for farming. “I liked the concept of open space, but I think with the additional expenses we have coming up from the new high school, some people didn’t think it was the right time to do it,” said Selectman Chairman Eldon Moreira. He also noted that there was the possibility of commercial development that could generate about $17,000 a year in property taxes, compared with $3,000 for farmland. Voters did approve a so-called right-to-farm bylaw that codifies the rights of farmers, bylaws that established moratoriums on solar farms and medical marijuana treatment centers, and revised regulations on junk dealers and other second-hand dealers.

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