June 29, 2009
To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives:
Pursuant to Article LVI, as amended by Article XC, Section 3 of the Amendments to the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, I am returning to you for amendment Section 144 of House Bill No. 4129, "An Act Making Appropriations for the Fiscal Year 2010 for the Maintenance of the Departments, Boards, Commissions, Institutions and Certain Activities of the Commonwealth, for Interest, Sinking Fund and Serial Bond Requirements and for Certain Permanent Improvements."
Section 144 establishes a process for the disposition and redevelopment of the Department of Developmental Services developmental centers in the towns of Templeton and Monson. The process involves close cooperation between the Commonwealth and the affected towns. I support the purposes of this section.
This section, however, does not provide for the Department of Developmental Services to participate in reuse and disposition discussions, even though it may have a continuing interest in one or both centers. Furthermore, while this Administration has already begun discussions with the affected towns regarding the future of these properties and looks forward to working together with the towns in determining appropriate reuses of the centers, this section allows the towns to effectively control the disposition of each campus in ways that are at variance with the Administration's policy regarding state control over the disposition of state properties. In addition, this section gives each town a right of first refusal to acquire the center in that town, but does not specify any time for the exercise of that right. Finally, the section includes a requirement for value-engineering that is not appropriate for disposition of properties. Therefore, I am returning this section for amendment to include the Department of Developmental Services in the reuse and disposition discussions, to reflect this Administration's policy regarding the disposition of state properties, to establish a time frame for each town to exercise its right of first refusal, and to eliminate the value-engineering requirement.
For these reasons, I recommend that Section 144 be amended by striking out the text and inserting in place thereof the following text:-
SECTION 144. (a) As used in this section, the following words shall, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise, have the following meanings:-
"Commissioner", the commissioner of capital asset management and maintenance.
"Department", the department of developmental services.
"Developer", a person, entity or governmental body that acquires an ownership or leasehold interest in the site or any portion thereof pursuant to this section.
"Division", the division of capital asset management and maintenance.
"MDC committee", the Monson Developmental Center Reuse Committee, which shall include 3 representatives of the town of Monson, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Monson board of selectmen or his designee who shall serve as chairperson, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Monson planning board or his designee, and 1 of whom shall be chosen by the Monson board of selectmen; 1 representative of the community preservation committee; 1 representative of the division of capital asset management and maintenance; 1 representative of the department of developmental services; and 1 representative of Parents and Friend. Such members, other than the representatives of the state agencies, shall be appointed annually by the local governing authority. The senator and representative who represent the town shall serve as ex-officio members.
"MDC site", the area of state-owned land located in the town of Monson known as the Monson Developmental Center, together with the buildings and improvements thereon and the rights, easements and other interests appurtenant thereto.
"Plan", a reuse plan prepared by the division in consultation with the MDC committee and the TDC committee which shall be approved by the commissioner and filed in accordance with subsection (b); provided, however, that the plan may be enhanced, refined or amended from time to time as provided in this section and shall include uses for department programs, uses that promote environmental preservation, open space and any other use found to be appropriate by the commissioner, town and committee.
"Selection committee", the proposal selection committee established to review proposals and make recommendations to the commissioner, which shall include 1 representative of the respective town chosen by the board of selectmen to be appointed annually; 1 representative of the division of capital asset management and maintenance; 1 representative of the department of developmental services; 1 representative from the MDC committee; and 1 representative from the TDC committee.
''TDC committee'', the Templeton Developmental Center Reuse Committee, which shall include 3 representatives of the town of Templeton, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Templeton board of selectmen or his designee who shall serve as chairperson, 1 of whom shall be a member of the Templeton planning board or his designee, and 1 of whom shall be chosen by the Templeton board of selectmen; 1 representative of the community preservation committee; 1 representative of the division of capital asset management and maintenance; 1 representative of the department of developmental services; and 1 representative of the legal guardians of the clients currently housed at Templeton Developmental Center. Such members, other than the representatives of the state agencies, shall be appointed annually by the local governing authority. The senator and representative who represent the town shall serve as ex-officio members.
"TDC site", the area of state-owned land located in the town of Templeton known as the Templeton Developmental Center, together with the buildings and improvements thereon and the rights, easements and other interests appurtenant thereto.
(b) The commissioner shall undertake planning, studies and preparation of plans and specifications necessary to carry out the provisions of this section consistent with the plan. The TDC committee and MDC committee shall submit their recommendations for the reuse plans with the commissioner within 180 days after the effective date of this section. The commissioner shall consult with the TDC committee and the MDC committee on any amendment to the plan and shall develop, issue and advertise requests for proposals consistent with the plan within 90 days of receipt of the plan. Upon receipt of proposals the commissioner shall convene the selection committees for the purpose of reviewing and making recommendations regarding selection to the commissioner. The respective town's governing authority shall be encouraged to submit proposals for uses consistent with the plan for some or all of the property. Should proposals from the municipalities be among those recommended to the commissioner, the commissioner shall reasonably accommodate the schedule required for town meeting votes, should said vote be required to complete or approve a proposal, prior to making any final decisions on the proposals. In regard to TDC, any re-use must be consistent with chapter 504 of the acts of 2002 which limits some uses on the TDC site. Further, any reuse shall be consistent with restrictions resulting from the TDC and MDC sites being listed on the National Historic Register.
(c) The commissioner may, subject to sections 40E to section 40J, inclusive, of chapter 7 of the General Laws, and in accordance with this section and the plan and subject to such terms and conditions as the commissioner may, from time to time, prescribe, solicit, evaluate and select development proposals, enter into land disposition agreements, enter into agricultural leases for up to 5 years, sell, lease for terms of up to 99 years including extensions or otherwise grant, convey or transfer to a developer, any interest in the site or portions thereof and any facilities, associated improvements or appurtenances thereon, on such terms and conditions as the commissioner deems appropriate provided the end use meets the guidelines developed by the MDC committee and the TDC committee as set forth in the reuse plan. The amount of consideration for the sale, lease or other disposition of any interest in the sites or portion thereof shall be the full and fair market value for the highest and best value of the property determined by independent appraisal. Additionally, the respective towns may collect property taxes or payments in lieu of taxes if land is leased or sold for taxable uses. The inspector general shall review and comment on the appraisal and the review shall include an examination of the methodology used for the appraisal. The inspector general shall prepare a report of his review and file said report with the commissioner for submission to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on state administration. No less than 2 public comment sessions shall take place. The developer shall be responsible for any costs of appraisals, surveys and other expenses relating to the transfer of the parcel or for any costs, liabilities and expenses of any nature and kind for the development, maintenance or operation of the parcel. The commissioner shall ensure that any deed, lease or other disposition agreement conveying surplus real property provides for effective remedies on behalf of the commonwealth as deemed appropriate by the commissioner, which remedies may include, without limitation, that the title or lesser interest conveyed may revert to the commonwealth upon the recording of a notice in the appropriate registry of deeds, in the event of a failure to comply with any use restrictions established by the commissioner. The commissioner shall, 30 days before the execution of any agreement or amendment thereto authorized by this section, submit the agreement or amendment and a report thereon to the inspector general for review and comment. No less than 2 public comment sessions shall take place. The inspector general shall issue his review and comment within 30 days after receipt of any agreement or amendment. The commissioner shall submit the agreement and any subsequent amendments thereof, the reports and the comments of the inspector general, if any, to the house and senate committees on ways and means and the joint committee on state administration at least 30 days before execution.
(d) The affected town's board of selectmen shall have the right of first refusal before any decision is made as to the reuse or sale of either the land or facilities in each town. This right of first refusal must be exercised, if at all, by the affected town giving written notice of the town's intention to acquire the property to the division within 180 days after the effective date of this section. If the affected town does give such written notice, the affected town shall have until the date which is 180 days after the later of (i) the town's written notice to the commissioner or (ii) written notice from the commissioner to the town that some or all of the land and facilities in such town is available for disposition, to close on the purchase or lease of the property on such terms, conditions and restrictions as offered by the commissioner, provided, that the commissioner may grant an affected town additional time to close on the purchase or lease of the property. If an affected town has held a vote for debt exclusion under section 21C of chapter 59 to finance the surplus real property purchase, the date by which the affected town shall exercise its option to purchase shall be extended until 7 days after the vote, but the vote shall take place at the next municipal election after the affected town voted to put the debt exclusion on the ballot. If the affected town fails to close on the purchase of the property within the allowed time, the sole remedy of the commonwealth against the affected town for such failure is to proceed with the disposition of the property without further right of purchase by the affected town.
(e) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner may, subject to appropriation, and subject to sections 40E to 40G, inclusive, 40I and 40J of chapter 7 of the General Laws retain, accept or acquire by purchase, transfer, lease, eminent domain, pursuant to chapter 79 of the General Laws, or otherwise, grant by deed, transfer, lease, eminent domain, pursuant to said chapter 79, or otherwise, or grant by deed, transfer, lease or otherwise, any rights-of-way or easements, in, over and beneath the site or portions thereof or other property in the commonwealth contiguous to the site for drainage, access, egress, utilities and other purposes, as the commissioner deems necessary and appropriate to carry out the purposes of this section. The commissioner shall seek advice from the appropriate reuse committee prior to the implementation of any action.
(f) The department of developmental services, with the approval of the commissioner, may enter into contracts for the provision of building management services for buildings and facilities located on the site as deemed by the commissioner and the reuse committee.
(g) Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, the commissioner may employ designers who prepare studies or programs or other design services for the construction, renovation, reconstruction, alteration, improvement, demolition, expansion or repair of buildings on the MDC site and the TDC site to prepare plans and specifications and provide any other design services deemed necessary by the commissioner for such projects.