Authorize the Board of Selectmen to acquire real property at 111 Cypress Street by purchase or eminent domain, and appropriate funds for such purpose

Petitioner: Selectmen

Speicial Town Meeting, November 2017

This article asks Town Meeting to authorize the Selectmen to acquire 111 Cypress Street, a parcel of land near the High School, by eminent domain and appropriate the funds necessary for the acquisition of the property and attendant expenses. The Town has conducted several studies for High School expansion needs that incorporated the 111 Cypress Street property, including the Brookline School Population and Capacity Exploration (B-SPACE) Committee Final Report (September 2013), Brookline High School One Campus Options Presentation (Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, February 3, 2014), Executive Report Further Study Report, Brookline High School (Symmes Maini & McKee Associates, August 3, 2015), 9th Elementary School Brookline Schools Site Identification Study (CivicMoxie, October 2015), and the Brookline High School Feasibility Study (HMFH, June 2017). At its May, 2017 session, Town Meeting approved the expenditure of $1.85 million for further feasibility and schematic design for an expansion of Brookline High School. Included in the option selected by the BHS Building Committee was the acquisition by the Town of the property at 111 Cypress Street in order to construct a building to meet the educational needs of all 9th graders at BHS. The 9th Grade Academy would include classrooms for all subjects, art and music classrooms, a cafeteria and a library as well as collaborative learning spaces.

Town Meeting voted overwhelmingly to authorize the $1.85 million funding to pursue design of the 9th Grade Academy and this article represents the next step in the process of Town Meeting approval for this concept. The Board of Selectmen has determined that the Town may need to acquire the property by eminent domain. The Town has commissioned a professional appraisal, which will form the basis of the Town's Pro Tanto payment for the property - the initial payment made to the Owner following any taking by eminent domain. That appraisal, which will detail what the appraiser believes to be the highest and best use of the property, will be completed by November 1, 2017 in time for Town Meeting. The Board of Selectmen is initiating this eminent domain action now rather than at a Town Meeting closer to the start of construction because we need information about the property to understand fully the funding that will be needed to build a 9th Grade Academy. Since we do not currently own the property, we do not have the right to examine the building and the land for geotechnical and environmental issues. Any budget for the project would need to reflect those kinds of findings. In addition, a tenant (an administrative non-clinical office for Brigham & Women's Physicians Group) is leasing the property and action now will allow the Town additional time to assist that tenant with the relocation process.

Therefore, we request that Town Meeting authorize the Board of Selectmen to acquire 111 Cypress Street, by eminent domain and appropriate the funds necessary for the acquisition of the property and attendant expenses.

Official Town Meeting Vote Select Board Advisory Board

Favorable Action

Favorable Action

Favorable Action




Final Result:

Favorable Action

Community Organization Recommendations
PAX Green Caucus
Official Text of the Article

VOTED: The Board of Selectmen is authorized to acquire, by purchase, gift, eminent domain or otherwise, in fee simple, a parcel of land located at 111 Cypress Street, Brookline, MA, as shown on the taking plan attached hereto and to be recorded herewith, including all buildings and structures thereon and all privileges and appurtenances thereto belonging, as well as all trees and shrubs thereon, excepting therefrom any easements of record shown on said taking plan included within such description by whomsoever the same may be owned, consisting of approximately 38,961 Square Feet, for general municipal purposes, and for all purposes and uses accessory thereto, including but not limited to, inter alia, the expansion of both the existing High School campus and High School educational facilities and amenities, including class rooms, conference and meeting rooms, study areas and educational office space; that the sum of $16,400,000 is appropriated, to be expended at the direction of the Selectmen, to pay costs of acquiring said property, and for the payment of all costs incidental and related thereto, and that to meet this appropriation, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Selectmen, is authorized to borrow said amount under and pursuant to M.G.L. c. 44, section 7(1), or pursuant to any other enabling authority, and to issue bonds or notes of the Town therefor. The Selectmen are hereby authorized to apply for, accept and expend any grants from any source whatsoever that may be available to pay any portion of this project. Any premium received upon the sale of any bonds or notes approved by this vote, less any such premium applied to the payment of the costs of issuance of such bonds or notes, may be applied to the payment of costs approved by this vote in accordance with Chapter 44, Section 20 of the General Laws, thereby reducing the amount authorized to be borrowed to pay such costs by a like amount.…