Yes, it does matter. Oh – and I have a plan.
(skip to the end to read the Plan, unless you need to read the rest for a recap and/or compelling reasons as to why you should come on Monday night…)
So, here’s the thing, as I just posted in our Facebook group, it is truly important that you (yes, you!) come to join the Public Hearing on Monday (8pm – or earlier, to get a good seat! – at the BCC, 30 Middle Road).
Well, yes – I know why many of you have stopped attending in person (the Facebook live coverage is great, tho – right?), or have felt all along that the community voice was meaningless. That there seemed to be no hope to stop, or even curtail the development efforts of a deep-pocketed team like Fenton&Jeanson (and the Toll Bros partners).
But the thing is, we’ve learned from other communities that a concerted, determined, vocal, informed, and coordinated group of citizens CAN impact the outcome of these projects.
We’ve heard about ‘failures’, too – even here locally, where (small) groups of residents have banded together to try to derail a project that impacted their neighborhood. Yet, even with significant cost of time & money, these efforts saw no positive influence, in the end. I can imagine how discouraging that would feel.
The Town Center project is different. Remember this map? It shows that we are not just a “collection of a few abutters”. From what I hear, the only other time we had this wide-spread objection to a proposed development was when a Casino was slated to be built near 495.
That is the class of objection we are dealing with here. But, if the Planning Board only sees that we were upset, and that only a fraction of us are still hanging on at the Public Hearings, they will enter into their 30 day deliberation period feeling as though the Town gave up their concerns and objections. Or that we think they should just set some standard conditions and hope that the building inspection team keeps the project ‘on plan’.
Instead, let’s show them we DO care. We care a LOT.
We care that the construction & blasting is going to disrupt our lives. Risk damage to our homes. Traumatize our pets. Scare our kids. Endanger our water supply. Destroy our roads. Delay our commutes.
We care that the addition of 100 multi-story homes – built within an arms length of each other – will add a significant burden to our Town’s services budget, with only a fraction of the promised benefit to our community.
We care that the Town voted to build a Multiuse Town Center, with a Green for gathering, with Services for our seniors, with Retail shops to keep our spending local in our community – and yet what we’re getting instead is a Private, Gated, Luxury development that none of us can access – not even to walk our dogs, or for our kids to travel safely from 111 to their homes on Priest Lane and beyond… though we will be able to admire their exclusive-use Pool and Recreation Complex from our main road.
We care that the 200 cars operated by the senior drivers that live in these homes will all be trying to enter and exit onto that busy main road – at a blind intersection that our own Police Chief finds objectionably dangerous.
We care that the Boxborough we live in – by choice and/or by heritage – is a Rural, Engaged Community for All. Our 2030 Vision plan does NOT look like what is being proposed.
And We CARE that the only reason we are even having this discussion is because of a horrible, unintended mis-wording of an outdated by-law. It is so unimaginably wrong that it would be comical, if it wasn’t so real in terms of its permanent implications and negative impact on our Town.
So – Yes. It does matter that you come, and join us on Monday for what may well be the last Public Hearing on this project.
Please, let us send the Planning Board into their deliberations with Zero reservations about the community’s level of commitment to their opposition to this ‘Town Center’ proposal.
Oh, and the PLAN I mentioned? Well, there are a few parts to it – some of which will be clear when you arrive on Monday night. But the part YOU can play is this:
Stand for what you agree with. Stand for what you believe in.
What that means, is that we’ve all heard – over and over – that the Planning Board can only listen to new comments & questions. The community as a whole has actually sent so many letters and comments, the physical file on this project is enormous. But I’m worried how the Planning Board will be able to parse through it all, now.
So, here’s my idea. Think of it like a ‘closing argument’ on one of the legal shows on Prime Time television. On Monday – If someone gets up and makes a statement that resonates with you – don’t just applaud when they are done. Stand Up.
Show the Planning Board ,”I agree”, by silently standing any time you agree. That will give them a highly visible emphasis that none of us is alone in our thoughts, feelings, worries, and objections.
Let’s speak with one voice – even if only one of us is allowed to be heard.
Thank you. See you Monday night.