The Hopedale 11 wants the 85 to be 130, and an appeals court has given the group a chance at the bigger number.
Eleven residents sued the town of Hopedale, Mass., back in March involving a land deal that was struck by the Hopedale Board of Selectmen and the Grafton and Upton Railroad. The agreement called for splitting 155 acres of forest and wetlands. The railroad says it needs the space to expand its business, but Hopedale residents argue most of the land is needed to protect the water supply.
A superior court injunction was rejected, but an appeals court has now upheld the injunction.
“To be clear, I am not deciding this case on the merits; only that the plaintiffs have demonstrated some chance of success on their claim,” the decision reads.
“I am mindful of the defendants’ arguments that the settlement agreement allows the public to salvage some of the benefits of its right of first refusal, and that permanently preventing the execution of that agreement could result the town in receiving none of the forestland. The settlement agreement may represent sound public policy, the correct litigation strategy in the Land Court, and a general benefit to the public and the town. Nevertheless, it may well be unlawful.”
The decision puts the land deal on pause while the residents’ suit with the city continues.
Grafton and Upton Railroad President Michael Milanoski expects the town and railroad to win the case, and that the injunction will not alter how the railroad honors the agreement with the Board of Selectmen.