The Future of the Monastery

Dear Friends,

This hot and eventful summer is quickly coming to an end, and although we’ve been busy with swim meets and barbecues, the Monastery is not far from our collective minds. So, before our beloved preservation’s leaves turn over their fiery gold and crimson hues, we would like to present to you our vision for the future of the Monastery.

While the town of Cumberland has wisely decided to abandon its idea to bring an action to court in order to develop Monastery land—land which is protected in perpetuity by a 2004 Conservation Easement made by and for the benefit of the town of Cumberland—we have learned in the past year that even iron clad conservation easements may be challenged;  and, the best way to safeguard and preserve open space is to drape it with layers of protection.

To that end, in the near future we hope to see the Monastery land further protected and maintained by conservation interests who have expertise in open space and forestry maintenance and preservation.

During this last year we have also heard some town officials speak of their desire to obtain the same type of layered protection for the Monastery, and so we are now actively exploring such protection and stewardship with third party conservation interests, and we do hope that the town of Cumberland will work with us and other outside parties to guarantee our Monastery is fully and forever protected.

If you would like to share your thoughts and ideas regarding the same, please feel free to contact us, via email, HERE.

And thanks, again, to all our friends who worked hard in helping us save our Monastery from development by insisting that the town of Cumberland honor its 2004 Conservation Easement. Your voice is crucial and it counts!

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A Surprising Turnabout — Monastery Is Off The Table!

It appears that our town will no longer be pounding the table! Yesterday, we received word, via this Valley Breeze article, that Mayor Bill Murray is now looking at locations on which he can legally build a police station. Friday afternoon, Murray announced that he was no longer considering Cumberland’s protected Monastery land as a location for the placement of a possible public safety building.

Murray disclosed that he is now eyeing other properties and will not move forward with his idea to seek legal action in order to level the northern part of the Monastery land. Though he declined to describe such properties, he did say that he is “very seriously” moving on “two (contiguous) other locations” as the unremitting pursuit of Monastery land would be “too costly and too time consuming.”

We hope that Murray is considering the two sites (current police station and adjacent lot, or old Drop Zone and Sher-Le-Mon property) that the MPA, and others, have, over the course of the last seven (plus) long months, strongly suggested. Both locations offer the town an opportunity to repurpose and revitalize the areas in which they are located.

It appears, however, that the two sites under consideration have some stumbling blocks— though likely much less than the enormous granite outcroppings, rolling hills, running waters, and the 2004 CONSERVATION EASEMENT AND RESTRICTIVE COVENANT that protects in perpetuity all 525 acres of the Monastery.

To say the least, we—and thousands of Cumberland taxpayers and nature lovers—are delighted with Murray’s decision. The town of Cumberland can finally lift itself from this yearlong muddle and move forward. For the sake of our hard working police officers (who currently work out of a station described by Murray as “a dangerous liability”) we hope the construction of a much needed new police station will soon begin.

We await more news on Murray’s final decision.

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Let Me Make The Decision! (And Other Declaratory Statements.)

A week late—you might say we’re keeping summer hours—but no dollars short we have excellent news for you (and if you follow our Facebook page you already know the outcome of last Wednesday’s Town Council meeting): Town Councilman Scott Schmitt’s resolution, designed to prevent the town of Cumberland from initiating a long, drawn-out, unnecessary and costly legal proceeding by calling for the removal of the Monastery as a potential site for the proposed public safety building (or, as some would say, complex) was APPROVED.

Yes, you may exhale.

But last Wednesday’s drama had us, at times, holding breath at the edge of our seats. The long wait (Schmitt’s resolution was last on a lengthy list of items) lead up to a midnight match between Town Councilors, Mayor Murray and Town Solicitor Tom Hefner. Town Council President Craig Dwyer, sighing, and displaying some confusion and consternation over the resolution, wondered if the Town Council had the right to entertain it.

Of course, they did.

* * *

Highlights from the July 15, 2015 Town Council meeting—including some meaty dialogue:             (Or you could watch the entire proceeding, beginning at 4:02:40, HERE.)

Taking into account the Office of Attorney General’s recent opinion that points to high hurdles over which the town would have to jump (with limited chance of making it to the other side) Schmitt urged Mayor Murray to take a closer look at the old Drop Zone site, as well as the adjacent Sher-Le-Mon swim club property. The owner of the swim club may be inclined to sell, and both sites could be combined. When asking about whether or not the $12.5 million bond for the construction of a safety complex could be broken down to fund two separate buildings, Schmitt asked, “We need to think about what if, what if we never find a 6 to 10 acre property?”

(Yes, what if? And don’t we need that new police station now? Wasn’t that the impetus for the rush into this debacle?)

President Dwyer didn’t seem to agree with Schmitt’s assessment of the AG’s opinion, but admitted he was “stepping in legal issues that [he] shouldn’t be stepping on” and so called on Hefner, but only after a confusing diversion to Schmitt’s building separation idea, and hearing out Town Councilman Art Lambi.

Lambi asserted (correctly) that the November 2014 referendum was clear and undebatable, and did not include a “plan for 20 acres, didn’t include a town hall, it did not include a senior center, and it didn’t include [the idea] to be the biggest and best public safety complex in the state of Rhode Island.” Lambi offered further clarification of the 2014 referendum saying that the question posed to taxpayers was, essentially, to ascertain whether or not they wanted a public safety “building.”  (Although we now know that this question was not submitted to the Secretary of State, nor Cumberland voters, in the same form—rather, the question on the ballot appeared with the words “safety complex.”)

Lambi reminded the Council that such referendum passed by a narrow margin of 662 votes, and these votes did not speak to “visions” of additional land uses regardless of where a safety building might be located. Building more conservatively, Lambi offered, would keep Town Hall from increasing taxes and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.

Dwyer, redirecting the commentary, wondered if the town hadn’t already violated the 2004 Conservation Easement and Restrictive Covenant by performing some improvements on the property. (The Easement has more likely been violated by the town’s failure to properly manage and maintain the Monastery land in accordance with the Easement and its corresponding management plan.)

Pondering the use of the old Drop Zone as a safety building location, Dwyer said that the town might want to reserve that property for a new school as, he said, “we’ve got some decaying schools to say the least, and [the old Drop Zone] would be an ideal place for a school.”

(The property is large enough for a school but not a safety building?)

When Hefner finally spoke, he argued (as he has before) that the town already owns the property, “It was bought in 1968 and 1972 for municipal purposes.” (which we know is grossly incorrect and wholly irrelevant), He also reminded the Council that the Monastery land can be used for a safety building, as “we already have the authority, we don’t need the Councilor’s authority.”

“The Attorney General’s office didn’t rule out anything,” Hefner continued, “they gave an opinion. To say this is going to be a long, drawn-out, expensive legal battle I think is totally absurd— [the legal process] will be a declaratory judgment action. It will not take that long.” Following up with an explanation of the functions of Mayor and Council, Hefner puffed his own declaratory judgment: “The Council legislates. The Mayor is Mayor. The Mayor is the one who makes the decisions.”

Lambi quickly addressed Hefner’s inaccuracies, reminding him that it is the Town Council who are elected officials, and Hefner’s job is to assist both the Mayor and the Town Council, who “are both in this together; it’s not an us against you kind of thing . . . and for you to say that  [the Mayor doesn’t need TC approval] is wrong, period.”

Lambi also recognized the hard work of the Safety Complex Location Committee and explained that the committee was not elected to make decisions, but rather appointed by the Mayor to make location recommendations.

Just prior to the official vote Murray spoke at the podium, making it clear that he did not have to form the SCLC. But he did, he said, “And they came back with some decisions and it will be my decision to move forward . . . The resolution is frustrating because what you’re really doing is tying my hands; I’m not a lawyer, I don’t think it’s legal; and we’ll find out. I’m trying to do the right job for the taxpayers . . . I have to reason what effect this resolution will have.” Turning to Lambi, he said, “You’re incorrect that we are going to put up a town hall—that’s a vision . . . oh boy, if we could get the parcel, there’s some room… Often in Cumberland we’ve not thought ahead.”  Murray considered two or three other towns of which he thought had little foresight and “got the legs cut under them, with nowhere to go.”

“As a responsible mayor,” Murray went on, “I want to look at the whole picture; I got no horse in the race except to do the right thing for the town, the town residents . . . I gotta be prudent in this thing.” He then revealed that he would be meeting with the Attorney General in early August because he wants “to get [his] facts together. What are we facing? [The AG is] not gonna give me a decision; they’re gonna tell me, I hope: what are we facing under the Easement.”

(The Attorney General’s office has already issued its advisory opinion.)

“I have said that if we could work something, let’s go ahead and work it out, and we can put something together solid for the Monastery,” said Murray, “but again, I gotta have time. You wanna keep tying my hands go ahead, but at some point we’re gonna say to you (throws up hands) ‘I give up!’ But that’s not my style so you guys know that. But, again, I don’t want to be handcuffed. I want to have time, I’ve gotta look at it.”  Murray then assured the Council: “I’ll do everything I can to make the best decision, but let me make the decision!

(Yes, the rational person would surmise that Murray’s entreaty tilts toward lassitude in terms of evaluating alternative sites submitted, and further, points straight to the Monastery as his only choice for the placement of a safety building. Otherwise his hands most certainly would not be tied.)

In the dark hours after midnight the meeting was opened to public comment, and attorney Kim McCarthy restated what she’d been all along stating, just as the Office of Attorney General stated in its Advisory Opinion, that is: there is a high standard that the town must meet in order to revoke the Easement protecting the Monastery land. The Town Council plays a vital role in the matter, she said, as it is not clear if Mayor Murray has the right to institute a law suit or spend any dollars without TC approval. Hefner’s statement—trying to make it appear that the Council’s vote or opinion or authority has no relevance—was insincere, said McCarthy.

End of the night found four Councilmen voting YES (Peter Bradley, James Scullin, Lambi, and Schmitt), and three No (Josh Call-Fregeau, District 1; Robert Shaw, District 5; and, Dwyer, District 2) on Schmitt’s resolution (R-15-33).

And wasn’t it worth the wait.

(SEE the Resolution here: R-15-33 Remove Monastery Location)

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Important Town Council Meeting—July 15, 2015

This Wednesday evening, July 15, 2015, at 7:30 P.M., Cumberland’s Town Council will convene at Town Hall in the Everett “Moe” Bonner, Jr., Council Chambers, 45 Broad Street, Cumberland, RI.

The Council will be reviewing and voting on many ordinances and resolutions, but most important is the very last item on the agenda: the resolution (R-15-33), sponsored by Town Councilman Scott Schmitt, relative to the location of the proposed new public safety building. Schmitt (and, of course, the MPA and many others who support the Monastery and Schmitt) wants the Monastery dropped from the list of site options for a safety building.

The resolution effectively gives Mayor Murray the opportunity to just say No to developing Monastery land. This would, as you know, be the right thing for him to do, especially in light of the fact that the Office of the Attorney General has advised against pursuing the protected Monastery land—which is impossible to do without court approval. Also, Cumberland has too many other feasible options on which to site a safety building.

Do we all want to go to court and spend untold dollars in order to construct buildings on conservation land protected in perpetuity? (We hear you—of course we don’t!)

It’ll likely be a long meeting, but we do hope to see many of you there to support Schmitt and the Monastery, and, hopefully, see this resolution approved. Public comments are allowed before adjourning. Below is the full Agenda.

Thanks for all your support!

AGENDA 

  1. CALL TO ORDER
  1. PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE
  1. GENERAL ANNOUNCEMENTS
  1. UNANIMOUS CONSENT ITEMS
  1. CONSENT AGENDA  – Acceptance of Minutes of the Regular Town Council Meeting of June 17, 2015
  1. FINANCE REPORTS    A presentation by the Tax Assessor relating to her reporting; A request from the Tax Assessor to review and approve May, 2015 abatements and supplemental bills (tabled from June 17, 2015)
  1. LICENSES  —  VICTUALLING HOUSE LICENSE:  —An application for a transfer of a First Class Victualling House License from Asahi Asian Restaurant to Thomas Vuong of 356 Mendon Road Corporation d/b/a Royal Panda Restaurant located at 356 Mendon Road (lasted tabled from May 6, 2015.   ENTERTAINMENT LICENSE:  —An application for an Entertainment License from Thomas Vuong of 356 Mendon Road Corporation d/b/a Royal Panda Restaurant located at 356 Mendon Road.    EXTENDED HOURS LICENSE – PRESENTATION & PERMISSION TO ADVERTISE: — An application for an extended hours license from Cumberland Farms Inc at 3400 Mendon Road for a 24 hour license

8.   OLD BUSINESS —ORDINANCES FOR PUBLIC HEARING  

14-25 – An ordinance in amendment of the Code of Ordinances of the Town of Cumberland, Rhode Island, as amended, amending the Ordinances and map thereof with reference to Cumberland Assessor’s Plat 10, Lot 58 (lasted tabled from June 3, 2015)

#15-12 – An ordinance relating to Water usage rate increases (Presented by the Councilor President on behalf of the Administration)

#15-13 – An ordinance relating to the Town Executive Staff (Presented by the Councilor President on behalf of the Administration)

#15-14 – An ordinance amending the salaries of the Executive Staff and Other Positions (Presented by the Councilor President on behalf of the Administration)

9,   NEW BUSINESS

COMMUNICATIONS: 

Introduction of the new Public Works Director, Bob Anderson

Update from Mayor Murray

RESOLUTIONS:

R-15-23 – A resolution related to abandoning roads within Plat 54, Lots 440, 441 and 453 to 489, a total of 39 lots (for presentation and permission to advertise)

R-15-24 – A resolution authorizing Mayor William S. Murray to enter into a contract with Woodard & Curran Inc. for additional engineering services relative to groundwater supply and permitting at Franklin and Schofield Farms for the Cumberland Water Department

R-15-25 – A resolution authorizing and empowering Mayor William Murray to enter into a contract with Chadwick-Baross for the purchase of a replacement holder model C9.92/flail mower

R-15-26 – A resolution authorizing and empowering Mayor William Murray to enter into a contract with Coastal International Trucks, LLC for the purchase of two (2) 2016 Terra Star medium duty dump/sander/PLO, 4×4

R-15-27 – A resolution authorizing Mayor William S. Murray to enter into an agreement with Horsley Whitten Group for planning consultant services relative to the update of the Town of Cumberland Hazard Mitigation Plan in an amount not to exceed $13,480

R-15-28 –  A resolution authorizing and empowering Mayor William S. Murray to purchase Chromebooks from DCW-G of Vernon Hills, IL to be utilized by the Cumberland School Department

R-15-29 –  A resolution authorizing and empowering Mayor William S. Murray to enter a contract with Delta Dental for a group dental, self-insurance policy for a period of August 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016

R-15-30 – A resolution authorizing Mayor William S. Murray to enter into an agreement with Yardworks, Inc., in an amount not to exceed $497,400

R-15-31 A resolution adopting a master plan for Franklin Farm

R-15-32 – A resolution authorizing Mayor William Murray to enter into an agreement with Hartford Paving Corp. on behalf of the Town of Cumberland and the Cumberland School Department

R-15-33 A resolution regarding the location of the proposed new public safety building

  1. PUBLIC COMMENTS
  1. ADJOURNMENT

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Backwards, Downwards in Ways

“It is a disaster that wisdom forbids you to be satisfied with yourself and always sends you away dissatisfied and fearful, whereas stubbornness and foolhardiness fill their hosts with joy and assurance.” 
~Michel de Montaigne

The petition first circulated last summer to preserve our Monastery has, over the past year, garnered roughly 7,000 signatures, and the majority of those autographs were penned by Cumberland residents. Yet, one year later here we are with our hungry mayor plowing ahead, gaping at Cumberland Monastery’s open fields and woodland of what might be (if he’s allowed to reap) his delicious alfresco repast.

Raking Monastery land in the name of (what some people believe is) progress is hardly a novel idea. Rather, in this contemporary and environmentally conscientious world, it’s viewed as backwards and irresponsible—especially in light of the fact that Cumberland has several other viable but unconsidered options on which to site its “safety complex.” Mayor Murray’s refusal to bend the narrow criteria he set for determining a feasible location demonstrates an obstinance that suggests he will stop at nothing in order to destroy a good portion of Cumberland’s most cherished and most accessible open space—forest and pastureland protected in perpetuity by a 2004 Conservation Easement and Restrictive Covenant crafted specifically to prohibit the development of any portion of the green and lush Monastery for any purpose whatsoever.

No matter, the mayor and some other town leaders forge ahead with this short-sighted, banal plan as if there were no obstacle, only a little inconvenient Easement and unreasonable citizens demanding that the land remain untouched, as it were from the time the Easement was signed.

But we are not unreasonable. We are practical and caring. We recognize the importance of saving every square inch of the Monastery’s land and the implication should all those square inches not be saved. And why wouldn’t we want all 525 acres of this historically and environmentally significant land protected? What has changed since the Easement was drafted in 2004? If anything, what has changed is Cumberland’s landscape, the development of much of our accessible land and open space, the destruction of historical structures, the continued failure to maintain town-owned existing (some historical) structures and land. If anything, what we have learned most from the past is that our future, our open space, must be protected. As more humans consume raw land, the more populated our town becomes; thus, the more open space, or refuge, we will need for the purpose of escaping the noise and pollution and commerce of our overdeveloped town. Should that refuge not be located in the center of town, rather than the constant hum and whirl of a safety complex and, surely, the ensuing sprawl of other municipal buildings?

Refuge: a place of protection or shelter from trouble or danger; anything to which one has recourse for aid, relief or escape. Right now, Cumberland has various lots of open space around town, but many, if not most, are wetland or are difficult to access. The Monastery offers a highly accessible place where we may indulge our essential human need for refuge, seek those quiet moments in nature, the necessary and healing escape, the shelter and relief from the storm of our congested and oft confusing world. It is the Monastery that offers us the very best aid, the sort that rejuvenates mind, body and spirit.

On the eve of June 25, 2015 the Safety Complex Location Committee voted (dubiously 8 to 3) to advance the Monastery to the final list of safety complex locations after one member (fiercely arguing that the Monastery was “not eligible for consideration” while simultaneously reassuring the members that Murray would protect the remainder of the Monastery land) successfully assuaged feelings of culpability. Also on the final list is the old Drop Zone (if combined with the existing Sher-Le-Mon property), and the parcel(s) of land to the rear of Cumberland House of Pizza (strip center) off Mendon Road, as well as the National Grid site.

The 8 to 3 recommendation gave Murray—in his estimation—the green light to begin the safety complex planning phase (and other municipal buildings) on the quiet northeastern portion of Monastery land. Fortunately, there are hurdles over which Murray must leap. And Murray has noted one: he is not permitted to spend more than $5,000. for legal fees in connection with revoking the Easement, though we are not certain whether or not Murray may spend any funds of any nature, and we will closely monitor our town’s activity, as well as confirm precisely what is permissible.

Murray has also voiced his concern over three of the remaining four sites (too complex, too wet, too many environmental issues, too this or that) but interestingly, the Monastery land is considered the best option despite its many obvious constraints, such as ledge, slope, wetlands, etc—never mind the Easement itself. None of the four sites have had any impact studies or due diligence performed and, during the last six months, 26 sites were summarily dismissed without performing impact studies or due diligence (something the town refused to pursue) for reasons that were far less serious than a Conservation Easement.

One year later, not a penny has been spent on due diligence, except, perhaps, surveys done on Monastery land. (And Murray has interviewed outside attorneys.)

While he attempts to commence legal action, Murray is also hoping that Cumberland residents will excitedly offer him a big “thumbs up” to take a giant bite out of the Monastery land. ( 160x160x1f44d-thumbs-down-sign-apple-new-2015.png.pagespeed.ic.6yVp-rdy_W)

At the same time, we are hearing that some of our Town Council members do not support legal action for the purpose of developing Monastery land. They, unlike the mayor, have been listening to their constituents, and we are most grateful for this.

The problem is obvious. Our mayor will not budge, will not consider revitalizing buildings or lots in need of care, will not entertain sites that contain less acreage, or sites outside the precise center of town, nor will he recognize the worth of the Monastery in its present form—that is, as 525 acres of much needed refuge.

How is refuge valued? Who will buy homes in Cumberland in the years to come? Why would someone purchase a home in a place where protected land, a refuge (paid by the taxpayers of this town) is easily taken, stripped bare and paved over? Imagine Cumberland without the Monastery as it is now. Imagine its northeastern buffer gone—sloping forest, swaying ferns, vernal pools, streams, gentle stone walls—swallowed by machines of avarice. Every last morsel.

There will be no leftovers, only the bitter taste of stone cold buildings sprouting from deadened earth. Swallow hard. Let it slide down the long and slimy tube of progress, burning your chest, churning your stomach. 

Digest. Down, down, downward.

Once the descent, the downward process, has squeezed every last bit of beauty out of the raw material, what remains, the end form, surely looks familiar. And, beyond question, stinks.

Final SCLC Meeting & Agenda — 2nd Notice

Please join us for the final Safety Complex Location Committee meeting where the final SCLC votes shall be cast, and where the final list of feasible (properties conforming to the narrow site criteria of Cumberland’s mayor, Bill Murray) safety facility locations shall be determined.

The final meeting will take place this Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room (which holds lots of people!) on the 2nd floor of the Cumberland Public Library.

The SCLC’s hard and often perplexing work will culminate with its presentation of such location list to Murray, who—with his this changes nothing viewpoint—shall make the final determination with respect to challenging the Easement covering the protected Monastery land regardless of whether or not the Monastery makes the final cut.

Though the SCLC’s task will conclude at this last meeting, our work will continue. To that end, PLEASE remember to cast your own vote on this matter by writing a letter to your Town Council representative (and other state reps if you wish) to ask him/her to vote (should there be a vote) against developing any portion the Monastery land.

We look forward to your show of support at this final meeting, as well as your thoughtful comments and questions. Expect frustration. Grant patience. Be kind. Whichever way the vote goes this Thursday evening, we are enormously thankful for all of your help and concern.

Peace.

AGENDA

6-25-15 AGENDA

Letters! (What You Can Do To Help)

(Letter template included at end of this post.)

So many of you have asked what it is you can do to help with the effort to secure the Monastery’s present and future distinction as conservation land. We have reached a critical time (by end of next week) in which the Safety Complex Location Committee must determine which sites it will recommend to the mayor. It is likely, given the outcome of the last meeting (6 to 4 vote to keep the Monastery on the list as a feasible site for development), that the Committee will recommend the Monastery land to Mayor Murray. And even if the Committee makes the more conscientious decision to not present the site to Murray, he may still pursue legal action to amend or revoke the Easement that protects the Monastery land.

Should Murray decide to take this matter to court, our Town Council will have to vote on such action. So now, more than ever, is the time for your voice to be heard. And this is how you can make that happen and help the cause:

Please send a letter (via email or snail mail — letter and mailing information provided below)  to your Town Council representative, and At Large Councilmen, urging them to vote against any legal action designed to modify or revoke the Easement, which, ultimately, is a vote against developing any portion of the conserved Monastery land.

For your convenience, we are providing you with a letter template. Please feel free to either print out the PDF version (ready for snail mail), or copy and paste the text version in an email to your representative. And be sure to sign your full name and provide your address.

Also, feel free to tweak the letter so that it reflects your own personal concerns and sentiment, but try to keep the entire letter to no more than one (1) page.

A list of Town Council contact information (district, at large, info and email/snail mail address) is attached to the letter.

For email, see the copy and paste text version HERE.

For snail mail, see the printable PDF version HERE.

THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR YOUR GENEROUS INVOLVEMENT AND HELP!

Final Safety Complex Location Committee Meeting

Dear Friends,

Please mark your calendars and join us for the FINAL SCLC meeting on Thursday, June 25, 2015 at 6:30 p.m. Due to what we expect to be a LARGE turnout (yes!), this meeting will take place in the Community Room on the 2nd floor of the Cumberland Public Library.

We’ll update this website, as well as our Facebook page and Twitter, with the agenda as soon as we receive the same.

Hope to see many, many of you at this final meeting. As always, thank you for your              awe-inspiring, heart-stirring support!

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Monastery Preservation Alliance Member Meeting

Dear Members of the MPA and all Lovers of the Monastery Land:

We will be holding a Monastery Preservation Alliance meeting this Wednesday, June 10, 2015, at 6:30 p.m. in the 2nd floor Community Room of the Cumberland Public Library.

We’ll be discussing recent developments, including the June 5th Advisory Opinion from the Department of the RI Attorney General, Monday’s (6/8/15) SCLC meeting outcome, and the formation of an action plan in accordance with these recent developments.

We hope you’ll join us this Wednesday evening. And, as always, thank you so very much for all your kind, enthusiastic support and Monastery love!

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“This Changes Nothing”

“… as far as I’m concerned.” So says Mayor Murray in today’s Press Release.

What does this mean? We’ll let you infer from it what you will. As this is all any one of us can do.

Please note that the Mayor’s statement comes after his receipt of a very thoughtful and well researched answer (to Tom Hefner’s question regarding the Conservation Easement covering the Monastery land) was delivered to the town of Cumberland from the Rhode Island Office of Attorney General, where matters of this sort are taken seriously. See the full text of the AG’s opinion here.

Despite the difficulty in decoding the words in Murray’s statement, we beg to differ: This changes everything, as our Town Council cannot vote for or against developing the Monastery’s conservation land protected in perpetuity. Rather, it seems now that the only concern which the Town Council might be asked to vote on is whether or not the town of Cumberland should take this matter to the courts. The language of the AG’s opinion is clear and unambiguous as to the matter, this town cannot move forward with its scheme to destroy conservation land without court approval. Murray has expressed that he will do what’s best for the community of Cumberland, and we’ll hold him to that sentiment.

6-8-2015 Press Release Monastery