Friday, June 16, 2000
Transportation and housing top MAGIC agenda
Issues that have been important in MAGIC (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) this past year continue to concern area towns. However, as the Magic Carpet program and the Transportation 2000 blueprint emerge from review, rewrite and comment stages, the group has time to focus on other regional issues and that is what it did at its June 8 meeting in Bedford.
The financial news is grim for most regular transportation projects. The Transportation Improvement Program (TIP) list of projects which were given the nod for funding includes only one in the MAGIC area. Further, there will be only $40 million available for transportation improvements in the 101 towns in the Boston area.
Transportation programs that will impact the MAGIC region and are under other budgets have fared better. Susan Lincoln of the Central Transportation Planning Staff (CTPS) reported on her initial work on the congested signalized intersections study being conducted by that group and the Massachusetts Highway Department. MAGIC members submitted 15 congested intersections for study. It was only feasible to study four at this time and Lincoln said she has already started gathering data on those four.
Craig Leiner continues to keep MAGIC members updated on the revised Transportation 2000 plan, which is moving ahead. He reported that the four towns opposing increased air traffic at Hanscom say nothing should happen until a comprehensive transportation plan is developed for the region.
The study of transportation feasibility in the MAGIC area is now in its final stages. This study, conducted by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council at MAGIC's request, is popularly known as the Magic Carpet study and addresses alternative transportation options within the area. A report on the study is slated for the group's October meeting.
The development of affordable housing, the use of open space, and the financing of both land acquisition and housing construction are major concerns of MAGIC towns at this time.
An ongoing team of MAGIC members was established to keep the group informed about housing needs and developments. Selelctman Vivian Chaput, who represented Carlisle at the June 8 meeting, is on that subgroup. Housing will be the main focus of MAGIC's regular November meeting. Executive Order 418, which addresses housing needs within the Commonwealth, will be the topic of the group's regular July meeting. Conservation and subdivision zoning will also be on the July agenda. The regional open space program needs to be updated and it was noted that there is a sub-regional open space map which needs to be distributed to communities.
The Department of Environmental Protection is calling for a comprehensive water management plan from towns. Discussions at this point appear to be along watershed organization lines. Towns with wells and individual septic systems will be involved in the comprehensive water management plan at a later date. MAGIC hopes to focus on water at one of its spring meetings.
The request for an environmental impact report,which was a MAGIC initiative, on the proposed Brookside Shopping Plaza on Route 2A in Acton was received positively. The results of this study will affect the status of the project.
The community preservation bill is still in committee.
The Route 495 initiative task forces have been meeting. The water-sewer task force has scheduled a June 27 meeting at which the DEP guidelines on water resource planning will be discussed.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito