HomeNewsDefying voters, Select Board reinstates UCTC

Defying voters, Select Board reinstates UCTC

Published on

Thomson Architects

On August 1, at their regularly scheduled meeting, the Hopkinton Select Board voted unanimously to reinstate the Upper Charles Trails Committee (UCTC). The committee had been suspended and unable to convene since May.

On May 2 at Annual Town Meeting, Hopkinton voters overwhelmingly approved Article 47, which sought to disband the UCTC. Although the measure was approved by 72% of voters it was symbolic only, as the town’s by laws do not allow a committee formed by the Select Board to be disbanded by a popular vote; only the Select Board is vested with that power. 

Despite a clear mandate from voters, the Select Board was reluctant to dissolve the UCTC. Instead, on June 6 they opted to create a survey to ask residents for additional feedback on the UCTC. The survey was available online and in printed form, though disparities existed between the versions. Some respondents noted that the questions presumed that the UCTC would continue to exist, which frustrated some.

“Stop stalling!!! Voters sent clear messages that you are avoiding again,” wrote one.

The survey was completed by 135 residents, representing 1% of registered voters. On July 6, the results of the survey were published. It’s not clear what steps the Select Board took to communicate the survey to residents. 

At the outset of last night’s meeting, Hayden Rowe resident Amanda Maffei addressed the Board at Public Forum.

“I just want to remind the Select Board that the town voted 72 to 28 percent to disband the committee,” she said. “And this board is a servant of the town.”

Later, Select Board members took turns stating their position on the matter. Irfan Nasrullah led off by expressing his support for reinstating the UCTC for the “express purpose of meeting with the Trails Coordination and Management Committee (TCMC)”. Nasrullah also proposed training sessions to help the UCTC run their meetings more effectively. 

Board Chair Muriel Kramer echoed Nasrullah’s sentiment. She added that the Select Board should issue an explicit statement that the Hayden Rowe route will not be considered unless voters at Town Meeting indicate otherwise. “The town has the responsibility to study the Western and Eastern routes,” said Kramer. 

Mary Jo Lafreniere was more pointed in her comments. “We’re not talking about a woody trail here. The TCMC is a town thing. The UCTC is supposed to connect communities. They are two different committees in my mind and we need both.”

Amy Ritterbusch also wanted to keep two separate committees, but recommended a revision to their charges, suggesting the UCTC reduce the number of members, and that one member should also be a member of the TCMC.

Shahidul Mannan was the lone dissenter in the group. “We are one Hopkinton and we need one committee,” he said. “We cannot settle for the status quo,” he continued. “The purpose of all this discussion is to find a new frontier. If we do nothing we will be doing the same thing and expecting a different result”.

Nonetheless, a motion was introduced to reinstate the UCTC to enable them to participate in discussions about how their charge may be redefined. It was seconded and approved unanimously.

After the meeting, Peter LaGoy, the chair of the TCMC said “I am deeply disappointed with this decision. The town meeting vote clearly asked for a change, and the Select Board does not seem to be honoring that vote.”


  1. What’s the more accurate way to present the results of the Town meeting vote, percentages or actual votes? I’d say actual votes because it better represents the number of people present, vs the entire population of the Town.

  2. Wow! How to destroy the foundation of Town Meeting by actually saying it doesn’t matter what people vote for at our annual Town Meeting. It’s like trying to change our Constitution, but on the local level. Completely the opposite of a democratic process. I guess the Select Board thinks they know better than those voting. Perhaps some need to go back to middle school for a lesson on local government and the importance of Town Meeting to the Democratic process in the United States of America.

  3. This project is a task worthy of Sysyphus, and if ever completed will leave many much less than pleased with the choices made.

    1. No members of the committee(s) should reside in the potentially affected areas.
    2. Upton, Framingham, Ashland all have bike lanes on a major road. Why take that possibility of having bike lanes on Hayden Rowe (One on each side!) away?
    3. Perhaps various parties could poll those who live adjacent to existing trails, in Hopkinton or elsewhere. In our 40 years in Hopkinton we’ve enjoyed having the trails behind our house, and those who use them. Of course there is a downside. There’s lots of trails in Hopkinton, but the ones behind our house are just so handy…

  4. The Town Meeting vote was non-binding, but did express the will of those attending and (I believe) the vast majority of the Towns residents.

    Our elected officials then basically “flip the finger” to teh will of the people and pursue their own agenda. VOTE THEM OUT OF OFFICE.

    The residents clearly do not want trail crossings on RT 85, nor do they want additonal schools in the area. It’s unfortuane that the Town’s leadership clearly don’t care about the residents. None of you will get my vote again; time to clean house.

    I agree with other writers that the “trail survey” was clarly a sham, perpetrated by the Selectmen to provide the appearance that they actually have the ability to “hear and listen”. CLEARLY THEY DO NOT AND THEY NEED TO BE RECALLED OR VOTED OUT OF OFFICE.

  5. I did not see a survey asking my opinion. I am signed up for all official “Hopkinton notices” that get emailed, perhaps i missed it in the myriad of daily emails.
    I did attend town meeting. Please remember this at the next election.

  6. I wonder if the Selectboard will be appointing Darlene to be the head of the UCTC- she is the one that has put all of them where they sit currently! Which seems to be the issue…… just throwing that out there.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest articles

Catch up with a briefing of the most important and interesting stories from Hopkinton delivered to your inbox.
Sunnyside Gardens

More like this