In the case of Article 30 on Day 3 of the Hopkinton Town Meeting, every single vote counted. Article 30 (Amend Open Space Mixed Use Overlay District to replace 200,000 sq. ft of commercial with 180 restricted units) or as many refer to as OSMUD featured about an hour and a half debate, 2 standing counts to end debate and 3 more standing counts to conclude the vote. It required a 2/3rd majority vote to allow Legacy Farms to convert 200,000 sq ft. (approx 20 acres) of commercial space to 180 age restricted housing units on the north side of Legacy Farms and by one single vote, the article passed.
It took 3 standing counts to get to the final tally. It failed the required 2/3rd majority in the 1st count with 82 against, 157 for, than a 2nd count took place and Article 30 passed with 166 for and 82 against but then a 3rd count was requested and resulted with 171 for and 85 against, the Article passed by one single vote (perhaps setting a town meeting record??).
The attractions to the proposed article included the fact if children lived in the housing units, the homeowners association would have to pay the town $9,000 per child, if they attend Hopkinton Public Schools. $1,860,000 is going to be paid towards improvements to the town ($750,000 toward town-wide trail network, $750,000 towards downtown, $360,000 to public safety) and $1,500,000 annually paid to the town. Roger MacDowell of Legacy Farms also presented there would be around an 80% reduction in traffic.
Chair of the Hopkinton youth commission, Hopkinton native and teacher Margie Wiggin liked the fact it would cut down on industry and bring more income to the town. Resident Connie Wright, thought the location made more sense for a residential property over commercial, she asked; "why would we put a commercial development near our state park and far away from major roads."
The most common consensus of the naysayers to the article were that the commercial space would be more beneficial, the towns water system could not handle the residential growth and the location could be dangerous with gas tanks near by. "This seems to be changing the will of what we approved with years of planning and debate." said one resident against the article. Resident Wendy Zimmerman stated; "It's within the blast zone of the gas tanks, i'm not really fond of putting a home there, I would rather put a business there that is vacant 12 hours a day." Zimmerman also wasn't comfortable with the density, (approximately 9 homes an acre) "we can't support that density, we are not on the Quabbin reservoir, all of our water comes from wells, public and private."
To see highlights of the debate watch the 1st video.
To see a humorous opposition to the article watch the 2nd video.