I write in response to Tim Rudolph’s op-ed regarding proposed changes to Boxborough’s zoning bylaws. These changes are possibly the most significant Boxborough has ever contemplated, yet there has been little, if any, consideration of the consequences. The rush to act now and think later is epic and troubling.
I agree we need zoning changes. Office park zoning is no longer viable. We need to increase the tax base. However, it does not follow that just any increase in business is a good increase in business.
The proposal from Lincoln Properties includes one million plus square feet (SF) of distribution warehouse space. Let’s consider the balance sheet. On one side, the proponents dangle the benefits: increased taxes and amenities. The proposal promises $1.2 million in new taxes. The “Village Green” amenities approximate 10,000 SF of residential, restaurant, galleries, retail. So, 1% for amenities and 99% for warehouse(s). What’s more, nothing is guaranteed.
On the other side, the costs have not been studied. Traffic impact will be significant. The potential for an additional 10,635 trips each day; tractor trailer, small truck and autos. How many trips would be on Rte. 111 with what impact to Boxborough, West Acton and Kelly’s Corner? There are environmental costs: water, sound, air and light pollution. The impact may be 24/7.
Rudolph name-calls. He alleges “disinformation” but gives no specifics. He never mentions warehouses. He calls those of us who raise questions “narrow interests”, but our concerns are Boxborough’s interests.
Rudolph speaks of “… repetition vs recommendations”. Isn’t it OK to ask a question until you get an answer? Isn’t it the Planning Board’s job, not ours, to do research, uncover facts then make the recommendations?
A few questions for the Town and Mr. Rudolph: What increase in traffic will the warehouses bring? What increases in Town costs (police, fire, traffic control)? What about the environmental costs? Why should we approve this first and ask questions later?
Rudolph charges “The propaganda of fear is not a plan.” This is Boxborough not Washington. Providing answers could lead us to a plan; attacks against us will not. All we ask is that the responsible Town officials research the matter and inform the Town so we know the benefits, the costs and their consequences well before we are asked to vote.
Mark White, Candidate for Planning Board