As of the Planning Board meeting of May 20th, 2019, the Bow Lane project is still not approved.
Apparently, the developers had been submitting plans and changes as recently as that day and the Planning Board hadn’t yet reviewed those changes, as well as the fact that a long list of other issues had not been resolved. No vote was taken and further discussion of the project was moved to June 10th.
Jeff Foote of the Dept of Public Works spoke to some concerns about the sewer system.
Our suspicions that the Village Shoppes wanted no part of allowing others to tie into their sewer and water systems, contrary to assertions by friends of the developers that they had been given that option, was confirmed.
One resident brought up the question of whether the school board could allow a private developer to tie into their services. A similar question came up with the building of the school in 2004. The question was asked because at that time, residents felt the developers might someday attempt to take advantage of public resources. Then Chairperson of the School Board, Sue Thomas, assured us that no developers would be allowed to do that without having to cover the cost themselves. Another resident stood up and disputed the fact that this statement was ever made, but we personally heard it ourselves so we do know it was true. We question whether the person disputing the statement was even a resident in 2004, as records show she did not become a resident until 2010.
We believe when then Chairperson Thomas made that statement she was basing it on the fact that the School Board may not just give away public resources to private developers. If they were allowed to do that, what else could they give away? According to a conversation we had with School Board Chairman Jay Nash, they can give away just about anything to anyone (the whole building for example) and there is no rule or law against it. Do you as taxpayers feel robbed or unprotected?
We still therefore, question the legality of the current school board’s vote to allow this. It was clarified by the Town Manager that the school board minutes of November 2018, which stood as proof of this vote, was only to allow the developers to go ahead with presenting their plans to the Planning Board and would be contingent on certain other requirements from the School Board, one of which was mentioned as an “easement”. Other demands seen in writing were gas lines, sidewalks, road widening, and a $100K donation to cover legal and other costs.
Other residents spoke and reiterated their concerns about safety of the students, crowded streets, points of egress, and the appropriateness of the location, and reminded the board that thousands of people spoke, by virtue of their vote and a petition, against projects of this type at March town meeting.
In his comments, resident Kevin Gagne praised the fact that the project opened the eyes of many townspeople to “attempts to urbanize our town based on a manufactured housing crisis” as well as brought them “out to town meeting in very large numbers”.
He also praised the fact that it helped promote more participation in the Master Plan process.
Increased participation in town government is one of the goals of this organization.