Friday, April 7, 2000
Proposed Acton shopping plaza raises concerns
A proposed shopping plaza on Route 2A just west of Pope Road has neighbors and planners rushing to get their concerns into the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Agency (MEPA) before the April 7 deadline for comments. The plaza will have a restaurant, some small shops and a possible day care center.
Stress on Route 2A and rotary
A meeting on April 3 to review developer Ross Hamlin's plan to develop the Brookside Shopping Plaza on an 18-acre site at 145 Great Road in Acton elicited a number of concerns. Both Concord and Acton town officials and local residents fear additional back-up and delays on Route 2A and at the Concord rotary. Hamlin's plan calls for a traffic light on Route 2A, a left turn lane and an acceleration lane. However, the consensus of the meeting was that a light could cause back-up and then drivers would head onto the smaller nearby roads, such as Estabrook and Pope Roads, worsening an already difficult situation. One estimate was that the 50 cars a day which are already problematic for Estabrook Road residents would increase to 500 cars a day.
Acton's State Senator Pam Resor shared concerns about the effect of a light and an increase of an estimated 6,470 car trips daily and 8,000 car trips on Saturday. Resor noted that "dealing with the [Concord] rotary is at least ten years out" and "ten years is a lot to deal with." Rotary back-up would also impact traffic to South Acton and Maynard.
Water for the site area in Acton is supplied by the town of Concord, which is already having to expand its water supply. Concord's public works director called the water situation "a regional issue" and proposed that Acton extend its mains into the area. An Acton planner noted that the state intends to repave Route 2A later this year so if the road is going to be torn up to put water mains in, it should be done soon. However, he noted that it was questionable whether the review process for the shopping plaza development and resolution of the water delivery responsibility between Acton and Concord could be achieved before repaving began. At this point, Hamlin noted that Concord has an existing written commitment to provide water to the area in question.
The water discharge picture is as uncertain as the water supply picture. The brook in "Brookside" is Nashoba Brook. Paving for an estimated 450 car spaces will increase the water flowing into the brook. Questions were also raised about the impact of salt run-off into the stocked brook and the fish that inhabit it. The site's zoning is pre-1990 and entirely grandfathered regarding buffer zone status in relation to bordering wetland.
Carpenters' union speaks out
Four men representing the local carpenters' union attended the meeting, which had been called by Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination (MAGIC) as a special meeting to review Hamlin's plans. When asked, their spokesman stated that the group opposed Hamlin's use of Tocci Building Corporation and Brace Company as consultants because of Tocci's track record with the National Labor Relations Board and the courts; Tocci did not run a union shop.
MEPA may respond to comments from the review group before MAGIC's regular meeting on April 13. There was no Carlisle representative at the meeting, but residents can have input by commenting to the selectmen before the April 13 meeting.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito