Lantana Land Swap: Anatomy of a Giveaway

Updated April, 2009

The Lantana Land Swap is a scheme intended to convey over three acres of undisturbed Blue Hills Reservation woodlands on High St. in Randolph to a commercial abutter for a 408-space parking lot.

Background
FBH has vigorously questioned this plan since it was first made public in February, 2002. Other skeptics include the Randolph Planning Board, the Randolph Conservation Commission, and members of the Randolph Board of Selectmen.

Nonetheless, the swap continues to move forward, thanks to a bill passed unanimously at 2am on the final day of the 2002 legislative session. The bill directed the state to convey the Reservation parkland to the Hart Family Limited Partnership, owners of the Lantana function hall, which lies directly across the street.
Bills of this type are known as “Article 97 transfers” because Article XCVII of the MA Constitution prohibits disposal of land acquired for conservation purposes without a two-thirds vote of the legislature. The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group has documented a sharp increase in such transfers in recent years, particularly to private developers, despite a broad consensus regarding the importance of open space to our quality of life.

Hundreds of citizens in Randolph and elsewhere have declared their opposition to the Lantana Land Swap, and FBH is joining them in an attempt to ensure that it is never completed. The woodlands in question have been protected by the Reservation since 1936. We firmly believe that they were not preserved with the intent of being turned into a parking lot.

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