Acton Land Bill Signed into Law After Being Ushered Through House of Representatives by Representative Benson

Boston – Last week, Governor Baker signed H.3792, An Act authorizing the commissioner of Capital Asset Management & Maintenance to Convey Certain Land to the Town of Acton (the Acton Land Bill), into law after it was passed through the House of Representatives and Senate. The bill, which was filed by State Representatives Jennifer Benson and Cory Atkins, and State Senator Jamie Eldridge as special legislation at the request of the Town of Acton, will allow the town to acquire a parcel of land located on Harris Street, that is currently owned by the MA Division of Fisheries and Wildlife (DFW).

“I was happy to file this legislation on behalf of the Town of Acton,” said Representative Benson. “We have been working hard at the State House to get this bill, which is time-sensitive, through the Legislature, so it was great to see it signed into law last week.”

“I am pleased by the successful collaboration between local and state officials to quickly pass this bill,” said Representative Atkins. “Acton’s acquisition of this parcel will sustain the long-term management of the town.”

The town will purchase the parcel in exchange for six acres of land currently known as “558 Main Street Rear”, and payment of $193,000, as was approved by the voters in Acton last year. The Harris Street property, located less than half a mile from NARA Park, will be used to store equipment used by the Conservation Department for the maintenance of the park. Other future uses may include renovating other buildings on the site to be used as municipal offices.

“We were so fortunate to have the support of our legislators,” said Tom Tidman, Director for the Town of Acton’s Conservation Department. “They kept us up to speed throughout the entire process. Now that it’s done, Acton has some great plans for this land.”

Special legislation such as the Acton Land Bill is not uncommon, but H.3792 required expeditious passage because it involved the appraisal of a plot of land owned by the state. While DFW accepted Acton’s appraisal, it was critical that the legislation be passed into law swiftly before the appraisal expired after one year.

The legislation was filed in May of 2015, and was ushered through various House and Joint Committees under Representative Benson’s guidance. The Representative provided letters of testimony in support of the bill, and was in contact with members of the Joint Committee on State Administration and Regulatory Oversight. In January of 2016, the bill was referred to, amended by, and then discharged from the House Committee on Ways and Means. The House of Representatives enacted the legislation unanimously in April, and the Senate, with Senator Eldridge’s support, enacted it several days later. The Governor signed it into law on May 6.