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  • Acts
  • 1997
  • Chapter 175 AN ACT AUTHORIZING THE COMPETITIVE DISPOSITION OF CERTAIN LAND LOCATED IN THE TOWN OF WILBRAHAM.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:


SECTION 1. Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 40F to 40I, inclusive, of chapter 7 of the General Laws, the division of capital planning and operations, acting in the name and on behalf of the commonwealth, is hereby authorized and directed to convey by deed, for consideration in accordance with the procedure described in section 3, land used for open space with the buildings thereon located in the town of Wilbraham under the control of the division of fisheries and wildlife and commonly known as the Wilbraham Game Farm, hereinafter referred to as the property, for the use as a public park for recreation, conservation, education, agriculture including agricultural fairs, and wildlife management purposes, under such use restrictions and environmental protection requirements provided in this act.

Said land consists of three certain parcels in said town of Wilbraham, shown as Parcels 1, 2, 3, on a plan entitled "Plan of Land - Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Environmental Law Enforcement, Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, Wilbraham Game Farm, Wilbraham, Mass.", prepared by Ecotec Environmental Associates, East Longmeadow, Massachusetts, to be recorded in the Hampden County Registry of Deeds.

SECTION 2. Parcel 1 is to be conveyed subject to the following additional restrictions: No new construction shall occur on Parcel 1 other than (i) routine repairs and maintenance or improvement of buildings existing as of the effective date of this act or (ii) temporary or permanent buildings or structures consistent with the uses set forth in section 1 and subject to all local zoning ordinances, rules and regulations.

SECTION 3. Parcel 2 is to be conveyed subject to the following additional restrictions:

(1) It shall be retained predominately in its natural state as open space and wildlife habitat.

(2) No new building, structure, or facility, or any part thereof, including but not limited to, a recreation facilities shall be erected or placed on said parcel.

(3) The existing structure, a long rectangular building as shown on the aforementioned plan, may remain on Parcel 2 and be replaced, modified or refurbished; provided, however, that the square footage of the ground floor does not increase and all plans for any such replacement, modification or refurbishment be approved in advance by the division of fisheries and wildlife for compliance with these restrictions.

SECTION 4. Parcel 3 is to be conveyed subject to the following additional restrictions:

(1) It shall be retained predominately in its natural state as open space and wildlife habitat and shall be managed exclusively for wildlife habitat and open space protection. Habitat management and improvement activities consistent with this use and as approved by the division of fisheries and wildlife shall be permitted.

(2) Limited passive public recreation use such as interpretive trails and conservation education activities compatible with Parcel 3 restrictions shall be allowed so long as said use has no significant adverse impact on the natural state and wildlife habitat value thereof. All such uses shall be approved by the division of fisheries and wildlife.

(3) Said parcel shall not be used for any purpose other than the purposes provided in this section.

(4) The existing road on said Parcel 3 shall be maintained as a gravel road approximately eight feet wide and may not be widened, paved or blacktopped, or otherwise improved beyond its current condition as an eight-foot wide gravel road. Motorized vehicle use on said Parcel 3 shall be limited to said gravel road and such use shall be for management and emergency purposes only.

SECTION 5. The commonwealth expressly reserves the right for the division of fisheries and wildlife and its authorized employees and agents at any time to enter and cross Parcel 1 by vehicle or on foot and to enter and cross Parcels 2 and 3 to inspect said Parcels 2 and 3 for compliance with the restrictions and all approvals of said division of fisheries and wildlife required by this act.

The commonwealth further expressly reserves the right to take any lawful action that the division of fisheries and wildlife deems necessary or appropriate, including but not limited to, judicial proceedings at law or in equity against any person or organization violating or attempting to violate any of the restrictions set forth herein and to enforce compliance with said restrictions to restore the property to its natural state.

SECTION 6. Notwithstanding any other general or special law to the contrary, the property is to be disposed of in accordance with the following competitive sealed proposal procedure:

(1) Not later than 14 days after the effective date of this act, a board consisting of the commissioner of the division of capital planning and operations or his designee, the director of the division of fisheries and wildlife or his designee, and the designee of the town of Wilbraham board of selectmen shall commission an independent appraisal of the market value of the property taking into account all of the restrictions, easements and reversionary interests described herein, said appraisal to be completed within 14 days or as soon thereafter as is consistent with sound appraisal practice. Within 14 days of his receipt of said appraisal, the inspector general shall review and approve said appraisal, including a review of the methodology utilized by said appraisal, and shall prepare a report of such review and file said report with the commissioner of the division of capital planning and operations for submission to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on state administration.

(2) Within 14 days of its receipt of the inspector general's approval of said appraisal, said board shall place an advertisement requesting the submission of sealed proposals in a newspaper with a circulation in the locality sufficient to inform the people of the affected locality. The board shall cause the advertisement to be published at least once a week for two consecutive weeks. The last publication shall occur at least eight days preceding the day for opening proposals. The advertisement shall describe the general terms and requirements of the proposed transaction, specify where the request for proposals may be obtained, and the time and place for the submission of proposals. The board shall make copies of the request for proposals available to all persons on an equal basis. Any person desiring to be notified of addenda, clarifications, or other pre-proposal official notifications shall sign a register to be made available by the board for such purpose.

(3) The request for proposals shall specify that (i) the minimum purchase price shall be the appraised value as determined in this section; (ii) eligible proposers shall be limited to persons, groups or entities that are formed, organized and registered as a public charitable trust or public charitable corporation at the time of transfer and whose purposes are consistent with the uses and purposes specified in section 1; (iii) proposals from entities or persons demonstrating experience in public park maintenance or management, volunteer development and coordination, fund-raising, friend-raising, and conservation shall be deemed to be highly advantageous; (iv) the property shall be managed and administered to the extent applicable in accordance with the use guidelines adopted by said town of Wilbraham at its annual town meeting of May 1, 1995, including the provisions relating to the annual peach festival, and such use and environmental restrictions as are set forth in sections 1 and 2 of this act; and (v) any other specifications and evaluation criteria consistent with this act that the board may deem appropriate.

(4) The board shall not open the proposals publicly, but shall open them in the presence of one or more witnesses at the time specified in the request for proposals. Notwithstanding the provisions of section 7 of chapter 4 of the General Laws, until the completion of the evaluations, or until the time for acceptance specified in the request for proposals, whichever occurs earlier, the contents of the proposals shall remain confidential and shall not be disclosed to competing offerors. At the opening of proposals the board shall prepare a register of proposals which shall include the name of each offeror. The register of proposals shall be open for public inspection. The board may open the price proposals at a later time, and shall open the price proposals so as to avoid disclosure to the individuals evaluating the proposals on the basis of criteria other than price.

(5) The board shall designate the one or more individuals responsible for the evaluation of the proposals on the basis of criteria other than price. Such evaluations shall be based solely on the criteria set forth in the request for proposals. The evaluations shall specify in writing: (i) for each evaluation criterion, a rating of each proposal as highly advantageous, advantageous, not advantageous, or unacceptable, and the reasons for the rating; and (ii) a composite rating for each proposal, and the reasons for the rating.

(6) A proposal may be corrected, modified, or withdrawn by written notice received in the office designated in the request for proposals prior to the time and date set for the proposal opening. After opening, an offeror may not change the price or and other provision of the proposal in a manner prejudicial to the interests of the commonwealth or fair competition. The board may waive minor informalities, as defined in section 2 of chapter 30B of the General Laws, or allow the offeror to correct them. If a mistake and the intended proposal are clearly evident on the face of the proposal, the board shall correct the mistake to reflect the intended proposal and so notify the offeror in writing, and the offeror may not withdraw the proposal. An offeror may withdraw a proposal if the mistake is clearly evident on the face of the proposal but the intended correct proposal is not similarly evident.

(7) The board shall determine the most advantageous proposal from a responsible and responsive offeror taking into consideration price and the evaluation criteria set forth in the request for proposals. The board shall accept the proposal by written notice to the selected offeror within the time for acceptance specified in the request for proposals. The parties may extend the time for acceptance by mutual agreement.

(8) If the board awards the contract for the purchase and sale of the property to an offeror who did not submit the highest price, the board shall explain the reasons for the award in writing.

(9) The property shall shall be conveyed and the purchase price paid at any time by mutual agreement of the parties but not later than 45 days following the notice of award.

SECTION 7. Upon completion of the conveyance the owner is hereby authorized and directed to establish a public park in accordance with the vote of the town of Wilbraham annual town meeting of May 1, 1995, to the extent applicable, to be managed and administered in accordance with the use guidelines adopted by said annual town meeting of May 1, 1995, to the extent applicable, and such use and environmental restrictions as are set forth in sections 1 and 2; provided, however, that said use guidelines may be amended in substance not inconsistent with the provisions of this act and in the manner applicable to the amendment of zoning by-laws; provided further, that any revenues accruing to the owner derived from any use or activity on the property may be used solely to further the purposes and uses of the property set forth in section 1 and such revenues shall not inure to the private benefit of any other person or organization; provided further, that should the property be used or managed by the owner not in accordance with such uses and environmental restrictions as are set forth in said sections 1 and 2 and the owner not having cured any non-compliant uses within 30 days of receipt of written notice by ten taxable inhabitants of said town of Wilbraham, or should the owner determine that it is no longer capable or willing to perform its obligations under this act, title to said property shall pass to said town of Wilbraham to be used for open space in accordance with such uses and environmental restrictions as are set forth in said sections 1 and 2, but said town shall not be liable for any acts, omissions or occurrences arising prior to the passing of title; and provided further, that should the property following such transfer of title to said town be used or managed by said town not in accordance with such uses and environmental restrictions as are set forth in said sections 1 and 2 and the town not having cured any non-compliant uses within 30 days of receipt of written notice by ten taxable inhabitants of the town, title to said property shall revert to the care and control of the division of capital planning and operations and any further disposition of said property shall be subject to the provisions of sections 40E to 40J, inclusive, of chapter 7 of the General Laws. The superior court shall have jurisdiction over any claims that the property is not used or managed in accordance with such uses and environmental restrictions as are set forth in said sections 1 and 2. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the owner shall be deemed not to be a state or municipal agency by virtue of the duties, restrictions, or activities imposed or authorized by this section.

SECTION 8. All expenses associated with and the cost of any appraisals, surveys, advertisements and other expenses relating to the transfer of the property shall be paid by the town of Wilbraham, and any cost and liabilities and expenses of any nature and kind for its ownership, maintenance or operation shall be paid by the owner.

SECTION 9. The money received by the division of capital planning and operations as a result of the conveyance authorized by section 1 shall be deposited in the General Fund.

SECTION 10. Chapter 886 of the acts of 1973 is hereby repealed.

SECTION 11. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved November 26, 1997.