Executive Order

Executive Order No. 312: Establishing a Fort Devens redevelopment board

Date: 07/26/1991
Issuer: William F. Weld
Mass Register: No. 667
Revoked by: Executive Order 383

Table of Contents

WHEREAS, the Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission on July 1, 1991 recommended to the President the closure of Fort Devens;

WHEREAS, the closure of Fort Devens will have a substantial effect on the economy of the Commonwealth, and potentially a devastating effect on the economies of certain communities which surround and service the needs of that military installation;

WHEREAS, the redevelopment of the Fort Devens base is vital both to the Commonwealth as a whole and to those communities, and will be a complex and time consuming process involving many state, federal, municipal and private agencies;

WHEREAS, a broad range of important funding, assistance and redevelopment opportunities need to be pursued in a coordinated and effective manner;

WHEREAS, those communities that will be most affected by the closure of Fort Devens must be represented and able to fully participate in any process regarding its redevelopment planning.

WHEREAS, the communities of Ayer, Harvard, Lancaster and Shirley (the "Towns") will be the towns most affected by the closure of Fort Devens:

WHEREAS, the entire north central region of the Commonwealth will be affected by the closure of Fort Devens and regional concerns must also be given a voice in the redevelopment planning process:

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Government Land Bank was created by Chapter 212 of the Acts of 1975 to coordinate and assist in the redevelopment of military installations in Massachusetts which were closed by the Department of Defense in 1975: and

WHEREAS, the Massachusetts Government Land Bank has both public and private expertise, financing authority, and substantial experience in the complex and multitude of matters which must be addressed and considered with regard to the potential closure, acquisition and redevelopment of Fort Devens.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, William F. Weld, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Supreme Executive Magistrate, do hereby order as follows:

Section 1. The Massachusetts Government Land Bank ("Land Bank") as created by Chapter 212 of the Acts of 1975, as amended, is hereby designated as the agency representing the Commonwealth and the Towns before agencies of the federal government with regard to the closure and redevelopment of the Fort Devens installation, and is directed to make immediate contact with appropriate federal agencies in order to ensure that the Commonwealth's interests are appropriately represented and available funding sources are promptly pursued.

Section 2. Nothing contained herein shall contravene the approval rights of the Towns as provided in Chapter 212 of the Acts of 1975, as amended.

Section 3. A Fort Devens Redevelopment Board ("Redevelopment Board") and a Fort Devens Government Coordinating Committee ("Coordinating Committee") are hereby created and directed to work with the Land Bank on all matters regarding the closure and redevelopment of Fort Devens, with the goal of converting Fort Devens to productive private and/or public uses that will increase employment opportunities and bolster the local economy and serve to protect the environment.

Section 4. The purpose of the Coordinating Committee is to work with the Land Bank to identify, pursue and coordinate the delivery of available federal and state resources, and to serve as an advocacy and advisory group on resource, legal and regulatory matters affecting the redevelopment process.

Section 5. The Executive Director of the Land Bank is hereby requested to chair the Coordinating Committee. The initial members of the Coordinating Committee are to include the following state officials or their designees:

1. Secretary of Administration & Finance;

2. Secretary of Economic Affairs;

3. Secretary of Environmental Affairs;

4. Secretary of Communities & Development;

5. Secretary of Transportation;

6. Secretary of Education;

7. Executive Director of the Industrial Services Program; and

8. Commissioner of the Division of Employment Security;

In addition, the following elected officials are to be invited to become members of the Coordinating Committee:

1. Members of the state legislature who represent the effected communities; and

2. Members of the Massachusetts congressional delegation.

Section 6. The Land Bank is requested to assemble the Coordinating Committee, schedule and staff its meetings (which should commence as soon as practical), and to develop a strategic resource plan using the expertise of its members.

Section 7. The purpose of the Redevelopment Board is to work in conjunction with the Land Bank to create, review and recommend a plan and develop a consensus for the redevelopment of the Fort Devens installation. The Redevelopment Board shall evaluate available resources, establish redevelopment goals, examine redevelopment alternatives and models, and receive input from local community organizations, businesses and residents affected by the closure. In this fashion, the Redevelopment Board is directed to review one or more alternative redevelopment plans prepared in conjunction with the Land Bank which will revitalize the Fort Devens facility for the long-term benefit and economic growth of the Commonwealth and its citizens.

Section 8. The Redevelopment Board shall be composed of no fewer than nine and no more than eleven members and all members shall serve for a term of three years. The members of the Redevelopment Board shall be appointed as follows:

(a) five members shall be appointed by the Governor, each of whom has proven expertise in one or more of the following areas: industrial development; housing; finance or banking; real estate law; environmental law; and transportation;

(b) one member from each of the Towns, appointed by their respective Boards of Selectmen;

(c) one member shall be appointed by the Governor to represent the north central region of the Commonwealth; and

(d) one additional member may be appointed by the Governor as he may deem appropriate.

The Governor will appoint the chair and the members appointed pursuant to Subsection 8(b) above shall elect a vice chair of the Redevelopment Board. The members of the Redevelopment Board shall serve without compensation, but may receive reimbursement for reasonable expenses incurred in fulfilling their obligations.

Section 9. Meetings of the Redevelopment Board will be called by the Chairman of the Redevelopment Board in consultation with the Executive Director of the Land Bank. The Redevelopment Board will meet at least six times per year and more often if necessary. The Redevelopment Board will report to the Governor every six months on the status and progress of its redevelopment efforts. Its initial report shall be made on or before December 31, 1991. Such reports may from time to time include specific recommendations and requests as approved by a majority vote of the Redevelopment Board. On or before December 31, 1992, the Redevelopment Board shall submit to the Governor and to the Towns its preliminary recommendation as to favored alternative redevelopment plans for the Fort Devens installation as approved by a majority vote of the Redevelopment Board.

Section 10. The Land Bank is hereby requested to develop and prepare plans for the redevelopment of the Fort Devens installation. The Land Bank is hereby further requested to make sufficient funds and staff available to the Redevelopment Board to enable it to study and plan for the impact of the closing of Fort Devens, to review plans prepared by the Land bank and to assess the facilities at Fort Devens and their potential reuse.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 26th day of July in the year of our Lord one thousand nine hundred and ninety-one.

William F. Weld, Governor

Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Michael Joseph Connolly

Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact for No. 312: Establishing a Fort Devens redevelopment board

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