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I hope no one minds that I’m re-purposing my latest email newsletter into a blog post. My recipient list is definitely growing, but the website still gets more hits than my emails. (We’re almost at 4600 page views!!)

If you don’t get my emails already, but would like to, please just send a note to hello@boxboroughtowncenter.org, and I’ll get you added. 🙂 

 

Greetings,

I apologize for the late notice, but I’m writing to send an update about the scheduled Planning Board Hearing (still continued, and will be while we still have unanswered questions) Monday, June 5th.
The meeting will be at the Community Center, 30 Middle Road – across from Town Hall. The Planning Board meeting will begin at 7:30, but the BTC development is scheduled to be discussed at 8:15.
It is unclear what specifically will be on the agenda, but I expect that there will be an update to explain whether (and why) the developers appear to have returned to their earlier, larger scale, plan of 100 units of 2-family housing, versus the ‘new’ plan they unveiled 3 weeks ago that proposed 81 single family homes.
While this plan was pitched as a compromise in response to the concerns raised in these meetings (ie, that they were listening to the town and trying to adjust), the Planning Board raised that the 2012 by-laws (which are the ones that apply to this proposal) would require a collection of additional permits to build single family homes. The latest documents seem to indicate that the developers have given up on their compromise plan.
It was interesting to read the permits they would have needed for these single family homes (which would have made them as much, if not more money than the 100 unit version, based on their pricing in Stow), since it very much highlights that this zoning of Town Center land was never intended to be a housing-centric development. But, again, since the applicants submitted their proposal for a purely housing (plus private rec center) before the zoning loophole was closed in 2013, they are seemingly within their rights to build something that has zero resemblance to the Town Center that was originally planned (by one of the owner/applicants, no less).
At the meeting tomorrow night, I also expect to hear from the applicants about recently filed, detailed plans for the housing architecture and lighting plans. You can find links to these on the landing page of our website at www.boxboroughtowncenter.org.
I also anticipate that several people will re-raise a whole host of concerns about traffic changes on 111. At the last meeting, a review of the applicants’ traffic study was presented. It is insufficient to say that ‘questions were raised’ – you can actually watch the discussion yourself here, if you join our Facebook group. Let’s just say that the very bare minimums of sight lines are being planned, even though even the report reviewer seemed to indicate that longer site lines are preferable. AND all of the calculations were made as though no one was speeding. I’ll be very curious to see when the State has its open comment period for the entire MEPA process, which will be the time for residents to raise any concerns about traffic on a MASS-DOT road, as well as any environmental issues. Also, no traffic studies have been done on Priest/Burroughs or Stow Road.
Wow. Sorry for this note being so long, and also more biased than I generally try to be. I do have a collection of personal opinions about this land, and it’s potential development, but I usually try to keep those largely to myself.
I will re-emphasize that my primary goal of sending these messages is to encourage anyone who is able to attend these meetings. For communities like ours to *be* communities, we need to both have a voice, and also have a chance to listen to others – even if their opinions differ from our own. With all of the meetings (formal and informal) in which I have participated since January, I’ve had a number of ‘eye openers’ from hearing such a range of perspectives, and experiences. I truly believe that this issue is helping bring us together as an active, engaged, and collaborative community.
But the discussion is not over – and the final decisions are far from made. (Indeed, the plan for this property seems to have changed at least 4 times since I started watching it – and I genuinely hope that there are still more significant changes to come).
So, with that, I will say again that I hope to see many of you out tomorrow evening. For those who can’t make it (and I can think of a LOT of very reasonable things that would keep many of you at home), we’ll do our best to have the live feed (and archived recordings) available in the Facebook group. And I will certainly send a more timely update / summary this time.
Please do keep reminding your neighbors to check out our website, too. And, we’ll have a table at Fifer’s Day! Stop by to see some copies of whatever plan happens to be current at that time. We’d be happy to bring you up to date with what we’ve been hearing, and how you might consider getting involved around any of the aspects that are most of interest to you.
all the best,
Heather
PS – please don’t hesitate to let me know if you prefer not to receive these emails. I am trying to be very careful to not over-send, and also to respect the wishes of anyone who’d prefer to be removed. By contrast, you are welcome to forward these notes, and I’m happy to add others to my recipient list. You can email me directly, or send a note to hello@boxboroughtowncenter.org

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