Natick Select Board Chair Paul Joseph said during Wednesday’s Select Board meeting that the town will not make a decision on the fate of the South Natick dam on the Charles River until at least mid-November. That town is trying to determine whether it should repair the aging dam and spillway (aka, waterfall), or remove it, with financial, environmental, historical, and cultural aspects all being taken into consideration.
It had earlier been understood that a decision could have been made as soon as this week, after months of Advisory Committee review and weeks of public discussion before the Board. No decision could be made this week in part because one Board member wasn’t present, but also because coming out of an executive session last week, Joseph said, “we are in the process of evaluating some legal and environmental aspects of the decision…” Board members have remaining questions as well, he added.
While we’re not privy to the details of that closed-door meeting, an attorney who said she represented a commercial property at 22 Pleasant St. down river of the dam next to the Hunnewell baseball fields raised the issue of riparian rights and touted the hydroelectric capabilities of the site during a public meeting over the summer.
A few members of the public did share their latest thoughts and questions about the dam during the Select Board meeting this week.