The Harvard Press, Posted: Friday, November 22, 2013
By: John Osborn
It’s time for Harvard, Shirley, and Ayer to take back governance of Devens. That’s the view of Selectman Leo Blair. He has a plan and he’d like the three towns to put the question to a vote this spring at their annual elections. But the state-designated developer of the region says it has no plans to leave before its remaining 20-years of authority expire.
Blair wants representatives of Devens, Ayer, Shirley, and Harvard—the “stakeholder communities,” or DASH, as he calls them—to plan now for the eventual return of Devens to the towns, which current law says must happen in 2033, unless the state legislature decides otherwise. His idea is to develop “some rough parameters” of how governance of Devens might look in the future and then for each of the three towns to hold a nonbinding referendum on the idea at their town elections this spring. The ballot question, Blair says, would state “Here in very broad strokes is what we’re considering,” and it would ask, “Should we be [considering them]?”