Developer May Try to Use Eminent Domain in Massachusetts

NOBODY MOVES to Carver, Mass., for its urban flair. The town is rural and quiet, thickly wooded with pine and cedar — the sort of place people move to when they have a hankering to raise chickens, grow vegetables, and luxuriate amid an abundance of open space.

It’s also about as wet a place as you can find in Massachusetts. Half the town consists of wetland, much of it in the form of cranberry bogs. The cranberry industry has always been a Carver mainstay; in the 1940s, the town produced more of the tart little fruits than any other place on earth. Carver’s appeal is more diversified today — visitors flock to the town for the train rides at the Edaville amusement park and the Renaissance-themed King Richard’s Faire — but at heart, Carver is still cranberry country.

If town officials get their way, however, a great swath of rural Carver will be designated an “urban renewal area,” and turned over to a private entrepreneur with plans to build a giant complex of warehouse and industrial-distribution facilities. The entrepreneur — a Boston-based company called Route 44 Development LLC — already owns a large piece of land in the area: a 127-acre parcel, known as the Whitworth Property, that has lain unused since a sand-and-gravel mining operation shut down in 2000. The parcel isn’t much to look at; in a report last month, the Carver Redevelopment Authority described it as being littered with “debris, stumps and other materials, building slabs . . . generally unkempt and unsightly.”

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