November 3, 2022: Freedom and Property Rights – New Law Suit Filed
Like many of you, I found it very disconcerting to see the Eversource construction crews fencing off and locking the entrance to the railroad right of way (ROW). The ROW has been a recreational resource used by the Sudbury community for over 40 years. Unfortunately, even after the construction ends in two years, the two-inch bluestone surface will make it virtually impossible to walk upon. This effectively ends any recreational use into the foreseeable future.
However, the “No Trespassing” sign may ultimately prove to be a bit ironic if the courts agree that over a mile of the ROW does not belong to the MBTA. We believe that the MBTA only has a surface transportation easement over those lands and that neither underground nor overhead transmission lines are permitted.
Yesterday, a lawsuit was filed at Massachusetts Land Court on behalf of certain “Harmed Landowners.” These Sudbury and Hudson landholders own property adjacent to the railroad right of way (ROW). Our research indicates that each landholder’s property includes the land underlying the ROW. The Land Court filing was made with the assistance of Protect Sudbury. It is the first legal step in clearing the titles to these properties. These landholders’ claims will certainly be contested by the MBTA. It is likely to be an extended and expensive legal battle. However, we firmly believe that the ‘harmed landholders can prevail in this case through the continuing financial support of the Protect Sudbury community.
Prevailing in this case also means that the DCR rail trail that is planned for this right of way, will ultimately be constructed. It will be funded through federal and state governments programs, those same programs that have constructed most other rail trails in the state. The rail trail will be safer. There will be no harmful underground electromagnetic radiation (EMF) present or closures due to transmission line maintenance. Further, the extensive environmental damage associated with the construction of this underground transmission line will be eliminated. This is the vision we all share for this valuable community resource.
We will keep the Protect Sudbury community fully apprised each step of the way in this legal battle. In the meantime, please take the steps necessary to protect your property as we have outlined on our web site. And most importantly, carry this message forward to all the residents that are only starting to realize the harsh reality of the intended and unintended consequences of this project.
We will continue this fight with the goal we have had since day 1; stopping this transmission line. Your continued support is all that is required.
“Freedom and Property Rights are inseparable. You can’t have one without the other.” ~ George Washington
October 21, 2022: Construction Schedule
We are aware that Eversource plans to start construction of the high voltage transmission line with clearcutting trees. Construction would begin at White Pond in Hudson on October 31st and proceed into Sudbury.
Protect Sudbury plans to take legal action against the proposed project sometime before the start date. While confident in our approach, we cannot be certain how long and to what effect our legal action will have since that is ultimately up to the court and its process. Be assured that we are doing everything we can to slow or stop any construction activity. It is important to be prepared in advance for whatever and whenever something may happen along the right of way in Sudbury.
The Sudbury Conservation Commission’s Order of Conditions (OOC) is very specific regarding tree taking. Our Conservation Agent must approve every tree taken, and every attempt must be made to preserve the existing tree canopy. The environmental monitoring company hired by the Town of Sudbury should be present at all times to observe Eversource actions and to ensure Eversource’s compliance with the Sudbury OOC. If Eversource fails in compliance, construction will be shut down until that issue is resolved.
If the trees for removal are not marked, and you are concerned about any tree that will be taken, contact Lori Capone, the Sudbury Conservation Agent, and ask to have the trees identified that have been approved for removal. Her office number is: (978) 440-5471
If you feel that the tree cutting is not consistent with the OOC, a complaint can be filed with the Sudbury Conservation Commission. A copy of the OOC can be downloaded from the Town of Sudbury website in the Eversource project section.
If you are an abutter to the right of way, we recommend that you take pictures of your existing viewscape. Take pictures at all angles when facing the right of way from your property, and of the areas of the right of way directly adjacent to your home to document the ‘before’ condition of the area which could prove important down the line. Review the Protect Your Home document on the PS website for more details.
Current Tree Cutting Schedule:
Oct 31 – Nov 1 White Pond to Sudbury Town Line
Nov 2 – Nov 4 Sudbury Town Line to Bridge 128
Nov 7 – Nov 7 Bridge 128 to Dutton Road
Nov 8 – Nov 10 Dutton to Peakham
Nov 14 – Nov 15 Peakham to Horse Pond
Nov 16 – Nov 21 Horse Pond to Union
Nov 22 – Nov 22 Union to Boston Post Road
Nov 23 – Nov 23 Boston Post Road – Bridge 127
Nov 25 – Nov 29 Bridge 127 to Eversource Sub-Station
October 6, 2022: Dentists, Edison, and the OK Corral
While at my dental appointment today, I happened to be gazing of the window and noticed and old railroad bridge not often seen because of its location. This was not any old bridge, it turns out to be the Central Mass Railroad bridge #127. Surrounded by the fall foliage it was truly a beautiful sight! The dentist told me that patients routinely express their appreciation of this magnificent view. To better understand the historic significance of this bridge you must remember that it was built between 1880 and 1881. In that same period, James Garfield was sworn in as our 20th president, U.S. Marshalls were rounding up Billy the Kid, Thomas Edison was patenting the first incandescent light bulb, the Boston Symphony was performing its first concert and the gunfight at the OK corral was occurring. Yes, it is that old and equally historic. This bridge is one of the last remaining ‘plate and girder’ bridges in existence and because of its historic significance it is listed in the Massachusetts Historic Register.
Yet, despite all the objections brought forward by the Massachusetts Historic Commission, the Sudbury Historic Commission and Protect Sudbury, Eversource insists to destroying this bridge. It will be taken from us and all future generations unnecessarily.
This is just one of the countless reasons why Protect Sudbury remains passionate about stopping this unnecessary project.
We believe that we now have a legal strategy that will put an end to this unnecessary project forever. It will be a long and drawn-out legal battle, but we remain committed to seeing this through to the end so we can achieve that goal.
We continue to need the financial support of the Protect Sudbury community to help pay the legal fees necessary to realize this outcome.
We are starting a new fundraising campaign and have set a goal of raising $50,000.
Please thoughtfully consider a donation to not only protect this historic resource, but our entire community from the consequences of this unnecessary project.
Once again, thank you for your continuing support!
Protect Sudbury – Treasurer
79 Robert Best Road
Sudbury, MA 01776
October 5, 2021: Letter to Governor Baker
Select Board’s letter to Governor Baker and Eversource CEO in which we ask (AGAIN!) if the line is necessary since it has been 13 years since the idea for it was conceived.