Friday, August 4, 2000
Selectmen asked to support moratorium on Hanscom expansion
On July 25, State Representative Jay Kaufman, whorepresents Lexington and Lincoln, arrived at the selectmen's meeting with a statement in hand entitled, "Hanscom at theCrossroads." Kaufman asked the Carlisle Selectmen to join selectmen from the towns ofBedford, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Belmont, Waltham, and others in signingthestatement which calls for "a moratorium on the expansion of commercial aviation atHanscom."
Characterizing Massport as "the 800-pound gorilla behaving as an 800-pound gorillawill," Kaufman explained the document as "an attempt to gain some toehold at the table"for the citizens of towns surrounding the airfield which is actually located in Concord, Lexington, Bedford and Lincoln. According to Kaufman, former Massporthead Peter Blute had promised no commercial passenger aviation would be allowed atHanscom. In violation of that promise, Massport voted in July 1999 to allowcommercial passenger flights and Shuttle America began operations from Hanscomin September 1999. Recently, Shuttle America has applied to add flights to LaGuardia, a movethat Kaufman fears will add significantly to the noise and traffic surrounding Hanscom. Calling Massport "an agency that has completely run amok," Kaufman objected to adecision-making process that excludes input from the affected communities. Thosetowns are asking for a long-range plan which addresses transportation needs bylooking at all area airports as well as train service.
Selectman Doug Stevenson asked, "How do you respond to people who want that service [the flightto LaGuardia]?" Kaufman responded, "Some of my neighbors woulddearly love this service...but no one has taken a good hard look at the developmental and environmental impact." He contended, for example, "There are serious limits to what traffic can go in and out of the road from Route128 [Rt.2A]." Kaufman then referred to the historical character of the area and theMinuteman Park's objections to Hanscom expansion.
Selectman Vivian Chaput noted that the document is not clear about requiring a master transportationplan or specifying a period of time before lifting the moratorium. She mentioned that shehad contributed to a master transportation plan currently in process by the state highwaydepartment which is a couple of years from fruition. While Chaput said she hoped that this plan wouldbefar-reaching and look at issues, such as access to Logan via subway, aswell as airport alternatives in Manchester, Worcester, and Providence, she admitted that because the studyis under the highway department, it might be limited in its scope. Interim town administrator Madonna McKenzie offered anopinion that the regional planning boards, such as the Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Cooperation (MAGIC), are the best place fordeveloping a comprehensive plan, but a way would have to be found to bring otherregional boards together.
Asking for an amendment, if possible, which would provide terms for ending themoratorium, the selectmen said they would decide whether to sign the statement at their August 8 meeting andask Carlisle's Hanscom Field advisory committee member Wayne Davis to attend.
© 2000 The Carlisle Mosquito