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Developing concerns in Hopkinton

Posted by Ralph Ranalli March 22, 2007 10:27 AM

Mezitt.jpg
Weston Nurseries co-owner Wayne Mezitt contemplates the future.
(Globe staff photo by Bill Polo)

HOPKINTON

Standing in an open field north of Route 135 on a March day, you feel like you're in the middle of nowhere. The dominant sounds are birds chirping and the wind whistling.

But change is also in the wind for this land, which has been under the care of family-owned Weston Nurseries for decades, reporter Lisa Kocian reports in today's Globe West. A 750-acre expanse of fields and woods around the landmark garden center in Hopkinton is being sold, and a developer stands ready with plans for a multiuse project that could include 1,000 homes.

The developer has offered Weston Nurseries $30 million for the property, but the town has the right to acquire the land by matching the bid, since the owners have been receiving local tax breaks through a state agriculture preservation program.

The 2000 Census reported that Hopkinton had slightly more than 4,500 housing units, most of them single-family homes. The proposed development would increase the number by more than a fifth -- in a town that already is among the fastest-growing in the state.

If the town decided to acquire the Weston Nurseries land, the property tax bill for a home with Hopkinton's median assessed valuation -- $550,000 -- would go up about $497 annually for the next 20 years, according to Maureen Dwinnell, the town's treasurer.

Read more about this story in today's Globe West and see a gallery of photos of the Weston Nurseries land online.

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