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Charlton OKs 20-year ban on Prindle Dam plans

January 02, 2011
CHARLTON — In response to concerns by Prindle Lake residents, selectmen unanimously agreed to include a prohibition on development of the area near the dam for 20 years as part of the land-transfer agreement.

The issue came essentially as a compromise between lake abutters' wish to prevent the area from becoming another town beach and the selectmen's dislike of the idea of restricting public access to town-owned property. Those who now have deeded access for canoe-launching or similar uses would keep it as long as it doesn't interfere with the public's right to use the land in its unimproved state, they said.

The issue has been one of several elements of the negotiation between the Prindle Lake Association and the town over the property. Town Meeting approved the transfer this spring so the town can fix the dam and maintain it going forward, with the proviso that the abutters actually pay the costs of the repairs through betterment fees. The total bill has been estimated at $660,000, with $164,250 of it coming from the Santos Irrevocable Trust (which owns about half of the shorefront land, including the Nature's Classroom property and the dam itself) and the rest from the other abutters.

To some PLA members, however, that cost wasn't quite fair.

"I think there should have been some fairness in how the cost was arrived at," said Serafino DiFranco, who was particularly concerned about the fact abutters "won't have a say" in what happens to the property long-term.

"Our whole point is that we don't want that to become a public access point," he said.

For more on this story, please see tomorrow's Southbridge Evening News.

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