Council signs resolution opposing Hope Mill plan

Council signs resolution opposing Hope Mill plan

Hires legal counsel to explore options

SCITUATE – In a decision made across party lines, four members of the Scituate Town Council have approved a resolution opposing Paramount’s Hope Mill development plan, also authorizing the hiring of an independent attorney to explore possible legal action against the Plan Commission’s approval.

During a special council meeting last Friday, Nov. 2, self-described “Independent Men” Scott Amaral and Michael Payette, and Republicans David D’Agostino and Brenda Frederickson, voted together opposing the Hope Mill development. Those were the only four members present at the meeting.

Since the Oct. 17 Plan Commission decision granting master plan approval for the 175-unit development at the Hope Mill, citizens and members of the council have expressed anger and disapproval.

The council signed a resolution against the development, calling it “problematic,” and said it presents negative safety issues and impacts to the surrounding areas.

Due to maintenance and repairs needed at the mill’s dam, Frederickson said the town passed on purchasing the mill in 2015 and let it go to receivership.

“They want to see more options. I’m definitely in favor of a motion to explore more options,” Frederickson said.

In the second part of the resolution, the council hired John Mancini, “for legal representation for guidance, specifically, exploring, researching and instituting any and all legal actions necessary,” to ensure the interests of the town and its people.

Scituate’s town solicitor could not represent the town due to a conflict of interest.

Mancini said he and his team will act aggressively to find out if the town can appeal the Plan Commission’s decision. He said he and his team will “explore all options” for future plans at the mill.

Mancini said he reduced his hourly rate from $325 to $225 for the town, and his associates will work for $175 an hour.

“We think we can be of service and benefit to the town,” Mancini said. “Our goal is to look at what can be done from a legal perspective and let you make that decision.”

Hope resident Di Hopkins, of 8 High St., said Paramount left many of her questions unanswered, and she is grateful the town is not in support of the decision.

“I’m not opposed to Paramount developing the mill, I’m opposed to the amount of units,” Hopkins said.

The council and Mancini were warned of a restraining order against any action that would interfere with the Hope Mill’s receiver, Peter Furness. Mancini said he will need to petition the court requesting relief from the restraining order before any action can be taken.

Before the close of the evening, the four council members approved sending out a town-wide mailer informing residents of the Hope Mill resolution and subsequent legal representation in opposition to the Hope Mill.

Amaral said it is meant to put the town at ease to know the council is attempting to stop the project.