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Nahant Board of Selectmen vote to take Northeastern University Property by Eminent Domain

During the Board of Selectmen’s (BOS) meeting on September 8, 2021, the selectmen voted unanimously to approve an Order of Intention to Take Conservation Easement by Eminent Domain to preserve these 12.5 acres as conservation land.  This action was taken to ensure this land is preserved in the manner expected by the people of Nahant when they voted on May 15, 2021 and when they voted to designate this area as a Natural Resource Area over 30 years ago. 

At the Annual Town Meeting on May 15, 2021, the voters of Nahant voted 647-241 in favor of authorizing the Board of Selectmen to execute eminent domain as a means of preserving as publicly accessible conservation land, approximately 12.5 acres of land at East Point currently zoned as a Natural Resource Area.  As representatives of the citizens of Nahant, the Board of Selectmen share this commitment to preserving and caring for Nahant’s limited open spaces and Natural Resource Areas.    

The Order of Intention is an eleven-page legal document, which will soon be posted on www.Nahant.org.  However, the following excerpt captures key elements of the Order of Intention: “The purpose of this taking is to preserve the East Point Easement Areas…in perpetuity in their natural, scenic, and open condition and to protect against any use of the East Point Easement Areas that will interfere with the conservation values of said property. The public benefits resulting from conservation of the East Point Easement Areas… include, without limitation: the preservation of open space for the use and enjoyment of the general public, the creation and buffering of an expanded Henry Cabot Lodge, Jr. Memorial Park…, the protection of the scenic and natural beauty and character of the East Point Easement Areas, the protection of public access to the sea, the protection of wildlife habitat, wildlife connectivity and biodiversity, the reduction of pollution and improvement of air quality, the provision of a buffer to sea level rise, the promotion of resiliency and protection against climate changes, and the protection of the public passive recreational use of the land.” 

The next steps in the process are defined by the provisions of Chapter 80A of the Massachusetts General Law. Under the guidance of a judge at Salem Superior Court, a 3-person commission is formed to determine the compensation value of the Conservation Easement. The Town and the property owner may submit documentation to aid the commission in making this determination. It is expected that the commission will take approximately 8 months to determine the required compensation. Once the value is determined, the Board of Selectmen can make the decision to proceed with acquiring the Conservation Easement, with the use of funds approved during Annual Town Meeting.  An appeal process by either side may occur.

The Board of Selectmen look forward to a Nahant where “the preservation of open space for the use and enjoyment of the general public” is ensured…”in perpetuity”.

Sincerely,

Nahant Board of Selectmen

Joshua Antrim, Chairman    Eugene Canty, Vice Chairman   Mark Cullinan, Recording Secretary