Friday, June 28, 2002
MAGIC announces web site, reviews local growth
The state's transportation budget may have shriveled but, according to outgoing chairperson Donna Jacobs at MAGIC's (Minuteman Advisory Group on Interlocal Coordination) annual meeting held earlier this month, the emergence of procedures and channels for communicating about transportation needs is "something we have all wanted" and the "beginning of a momentum we can keep going."
Web site makes information available
One big development is a web site, www.bostonmpo.org, that provides current information on the status of any given project. There appears to be a serious and thorough effort to lend transparency and accessibility to the entire TIP process, the TIP list being the document that lists the projects that will really get done. Dave Mohler, TIP project manager, described a new application process that is being tried for the first time this year, and will be developed and refined on the basis of this year's experience. The changes will give towns greatly increased opportunities for input and feedback as transportation projects are developed and submitted to the state. For example, towns will be asked to rank projects on the list. Mohler's presentation of the structure, funding and development of criteria for selection of transportation projects, provided useful information for local officials.
However, not all the news was good news. Some projects dear to area residents, such as the Crosby's Corner improvement (on the '04 TIP list), are moving ahead and a public hearing is expected in November, but the Concord Rotary re-design, although approved, is ten years away from being funded. Residents can check the listed web site for details.
Communities show vigorous growth
Every town in the MAGIC area is experiencing the effects of rapid growth and development. Housing, transportation and cell towers continue to be major issues for the communities involved. Individual town reports indicate the extent of activity and change this area faces:
•Littleton has just dedicated a new high school, which will help ease school overcrowding.
•Bedford has awarded the contract for the first phase of new DPW facilities and is using the town dump as a temporary garage. The town is considering potential municipalization of electric energy through a municipal light plant. Gordon Feltman, representing Bedford, cited a potential 40% savings. A Stow representative said that that their municipal electric department was almost voted out of existence at the last election.
Feltman was asked about the current status of the Princeton development on Route 62. It projects 258 units on Concord Road. The zoning board said Princeton did not have access to the property because the town bought the right-of-way from an abandoned railroad. Princeton said that was a construction denial, which should be overturned. The issue went to land court on May 17 and the town is awaiting a decision.
•Stow has a development planned for 184 single and family units, which wil lead to a larger school population.
•Boxborough has bought a 103 acre parcel for 1.1 million dollars on a unanimous voice vote at Town Meeting. Federal and state grants enabled the purchase. The new library is progressing. A 40B development is under way at the old GenRad site. Two houses have been built; they have three bedrooms, 1200 sq.ft. and sell for under $400,000. When the two demonstration houses were open, the developers sold 14 houses in two hours.
•Acton's representative said their story was "Build, build, build." Groundbreaking will occur at the Quail Ridge Country Club on June 25. The developers have been cautioned about the use of fertilizers. The Robbins Mill development will have 90 homes.
•Concord's comprehensive long range plan committee has created a "mansionization" committee to deal with defining and controlling this challenge. Concord expects a 40B project with 42 units anticipated in the future, with 12 units below market rate. Cell towers with four carriers are proposed at the wastewater treatment plant.
•Lincoln has 2-3 cell towers proposed at Crosby's Corner on Route 2. The neighbors are in favor. The planning board also has a "big house" bylaw to get control of "mansionization." This is based on a Weston model. The town also has lawsuits resulting from the regulation of grandfathered businesses in residential areas.
© 2002 The Carlisle Mosquito