Nahant Votes To Block Northeastern Expansion In Largest-Ever Town Meeting

NAHANT, Mass. (WBZ NewsRadio) — A small north-shore town voted to block further development of a Northeastern University outpost on its coast Saturday.

It was the largest town meeting Nahant had ever recorded, drawing more than 900 voters to voice their opinions and vote on whether to let the town take some of Northeastern's land by eminent domain.

Eminent domain is the ability of a government to take private land away for public use, in exchange for payment.

Northeastern's Marine Science Center opened in Nahant in 1967. The university said it needs to expand the complex by 15,000 square feet for additional "research and teaching space."

Participants in the town meeting voted 647 to 271 to allow Nahant's Board of Selectmen to take the land.

"That whole expression of 'pave paradise to put up a parking lot,' that's what it feels like to me....tearing down trees is going to impact wildlife tremendously," said one resident.

The town of Nahant is the smallest by area in the entire state. The land in question is on Nahant's East Point.

Opponents of eminent domain said the move would cost the town millions in taxpayer money and could open them up to a lawsuit from the university.

WBZ's Carl Stevens (@carlwbz) reports:

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(Photo: Carl Stevens/WBZ NewsRadio)

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