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Friends of Tully Lake Records

1976-2008
1 box (0.5 linear feet)
Call no.: MS 977

In October 2003, a group of residents from the North Quabbin region in Massachusetts came together to oppose plans to develop a large tract overlooking the southeast shore of Tully Lake. Concerned about the environmental and social impact of the proposed development and asserting the rights of the towns and residents affected to have a say, the Friends of Tully Lake waged a five-year campaign that ultimately succeeded in convincing the Board of Planning in the town of Athol to reject the proposal.

The records of the Friends of Tully Lake document a successful grassroots initiative to prevent private development on a lake in the North Quabbin region. Maintained by Aaron Ellison and Elizabeth Farnsworth, leaders in the Friends, the collection includes notes and minutes of Friends' meetings, communication with environmental consultants, exchanges with the Athol Planning Board, and some background information environmental regulations in Massachusetts.

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Background on Friends of Tully Lake

In October 2003, a group of residents from the North Quabbin region in Massachusetts came together to oppose plans to develop a large tract overlooking the southeast shore of Tully Lake. Concerned about the environmental and social impact of the proposed development and asserting the rights of the towns and residents affected to have a say, the Friends of Tully Lake waged a five-year campaign that ultimately succeeded in convincing the Board of Planning in the town of Athol to reject the proposal.

A 200 acre flood-control reservoir constructed in Royalston, Mass., in the 1940s, Tully Lake has become a hub for outdoor recreation in the region. Conflict over development on the lake was sparked in 2003 when a landowner in Athol, Gregg Duquette, floated preliminary plans to lay out 42 lots on 175 acres off Chestnut Hill Road, hemming the southeast edge of the lake. Local efforts to protect the land, reputedly the largest unprotected parcel in the area, came quickly. In July, Duquette rejected an offer from the Mount Grace Land Conservation Trust to purchase the property for its appraised value ($465,000), arguing that it was worth in excess of $750,000.

By the time that preliminary approval for development of "Grand View Acres" was granted by the Athol Board of Planning in 2005, Duquette and his partners at Dream Time Builders were proposing to build 55 home lots on the steep hillside overlooking the lake, along with the necessary access road and support infrastructure. With the process of approval underway, seeking input from potentially affected parties, the Friends of Tully Lake set out to raise public awareness and they worked with environmental and engineering consultants to gather information on the impact of development on the fragile wetlands, centering on the key issues of water runoff, septic systems, leach fields, and catch basins, as well as the fire, safety, and traffic considerations.

Under strong public pressure and with a sound environmental case against development, the Planning Board denied permission, citing not only the design issues but the maintenance and safety concerns expressed by the town's Department of Public Works and fire department. Although the decision was appealed, unsuccessfully, the developers ultimately concluded that the reduction in the number of lots needed to bring the plans into compliance would render the project economically unviable.

Scope of collection

The records of the Friends of Tully Lake document a successful grassroots initiative to prevent private development on a lake in the North Quabbin region. Maintained by Aaron Ellison and Elizabeth Farnsworth, leaders in the Friends, the collection includes notes and minutes of Friends' meetings, communication with environmental consultants, exchanges with the Athol Planning Board, and some background information environmental regulations in Massachusetts.

Inventory

Athol (Mass.) Planning Board
2003
Box 1: 1
Athol (Mass.) Planning Board
2005
Box 1: 2
Athol (Mass.) Planning Board
2006
Box 1: 3
Athol (Mass.) Planning Board
2007-2008
Box 1: 4
Athol (Mass.) Planning Board: Decision
2006
Box 1: 5
Athol (Mass.) zoning regulations
2006
Box 1: 6
Conservation partners
2006
Box 1: 7
Consultants' report: Environmental Planning Associates
2005
Box 1: 8
Consultants' report: Newman Environmental Engineering
2005
Box 1: 9
Dream Time Builders and Developers: complaint against Athol (Mass.) Planning Board
2006
Box 1: 10
Finance
2003-2008
Box 1: 11
Finance: invoices from consultants
2005-2006
Box 1: 12
Friends of Tully Lake: Minutes of meetings
2004-2005
Box 1: 13
Friends of Tully Lake: Minutes of meetings
2006
Box 1: 14
Friends of Tully Lake: Minutes of meetings
2007
Box 1: 15
Friends of Tully Lake: Minutes of meetings
2008
Box 1: 16
Fundraising letters and events
2003-2005
Box 1: 17
Fundraising letters and events
2006-2007
Box 1: 18
Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection: Duquette filings
Box 1: 19
Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act: background information
2004
Box 1: 20
Miscellaneous
1992-2004
Box 1: 21
Press coverage
2005-2007
Box 1: 22
Property: aerial photographs
ca.2005
Box 1: 23
Property: Maps
ca.2005
Box 1: 24
Property: Maps, Duquette parcel
ca.1976-2005
Box 1: 25
Publicity (fliers, etc.)
ca.2004-2008
Box 1: 26
Save Tully Lake: Stop the subdivision [poster]
ca.2005
OS 1
Water analysis
1992-2000
Box 1: 27

Administrative information

Access

The collection is open for research.

Provenance

Gift of Aaron M. Ellison, May 2017.

Processing Information

Processed by I. Eliot Wentworth, July 2015.

Language:

English

Copyright and Use (More information )

Cite as: Friends of Tully Lake Records (MS 977). Special Collections and University Archives, University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries.

Search terms

Subjects

  • Athol (Mass.)--History
  • Ellison, Aaron M., 1960-
  • Environmentalism--Massachusetts
  • Farnsworth, Elizabeth
  • Real estate development--Environmental aspects--Massachusetts
  • Tully Lake (Royalston, Mass.)

Contributors

  • Friends of Tully Lake [main entry]

Genres and formats

  • Aerial photographs
  • Maps

Link to similar SCUA collections