Neighbors opposed to_276_mill_rd_7-24-13_signed

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Neighbors opposed to_276_mill_rd_40B project_7-24-13 Chelmsford,MA


<ul><li> July 22, 2013 Matt Hansen - Chairman Pat Wojtas - James Lane Janet Askenburg George Dixon Paul Cohen Mr. Chairman, Members of the Board, Mr. Cohen, As concerned residents of the neighborhoods within the Mill Road corridor, we submit this letter to register our firm opposition to the July 3rd announcement of a proposed 120 unit Chapter 40B low income apartment complex to be situated on the 4.87 acre site situated at 276 Mill Rd. We, along with other neighbors and members of the community, see major failings in the selection process that make any housing plan at this location untenable. The Towns desire to stave off a State-legislated mandate in order to gain a short-lived three year moratorium on hostile housing projects is ill-conceived and short-sighted when compared to the twenty-plus years of thoughtful planning and development undertaken by previous Boards, Committees and the residents of Chelmsford to shape the locale in question into a cornerstone of Chelmsfords Commercial/Industrial complex. Furthermore, a residential development at the intended location is wholly inconsistent with prior positions taken by Town officials regarding a similarly situated large-scale 40B project (Aspen), disregards the States primary guidance for 40B locations and tacitly ignores the many careful conclusions published in the Towns Affordable Housing Master Plan (AHMP) of 2011. In fact, upon closer examination of the overall selection criteria in the published that plan, the Mill Road site is ranked as one of the four worst locations within all of Chelmsford for a project of this type. Specifically those shortcomings are; Conflicts with Town Planning - Mill Road is identified as ranking worst among all fourteen sites studied in terms of compatibility with the Towns newly ratified Master Plan (MP). In fact, a decision to develop the site residentially runs completely counter to the MPs directive that this parcel be reserved for commercial/industrial use. Amenities Mill Road also ranked second worst in terms of access to regular amenities, none of which are located within safe walking distance of the site. This failure is further aggravated by Stop and Shops stipulation that there be no supermarkets located within the re-development zone of their recently vacated Chelmsford Center site. To be specific, any attempt to travel from Mill Road on either direction along 129 would require one to safely negotiate the access roads to Hittite, Elizabeth Drive and the on/off ramps linking the two most heavily trafficked thoroughfares in Town; Routes 3 and 129. </li> <li> Geography - The AHMP goes on to state that development at Mill Road would require dealing with steep slopes and ledge, both of which would aggravate issues already present on site. Further clearing the slopes that make up the sides and frontage of this acreage will exacerbate the well- documented run-off from the Fuchs furniture and Hancock Builders site onto Mill Road and be yet another contributor to the full-roadway flooding that already occurs in front of the address during the standard heavy weather the location is exposed to year-round. As other members of our community have come to find and suffer, ledge creates innumerable technical issues in terms of supplying reliable, functional supplies for water and sewerage. Aquifer Exposure As the recent tanker spill less than a mile away on Rt3 illustrated, our water supplies are at best fragile and at worst easily susceptible to damage from abuse or lack of thought. Development on the Mill Road site would expose elements of the Center Water Aquifer Protection District to the short term abuse of heavy construction and the long term exposure of the negative emissions from a large residential cluster. Traffic Hazards 276 Mill Road is in an extremely poor location to provide proper access to a large scale development. Bounded by the entrance to the Quorum office park less than 100 yards to the South and the entrances to Hittite Microwave, Elizabeth Drive and Lifelinks at the same distance to the North, egress from this location would have to deal with large volumes of commuter traffic from these sites and would also require safely navigating the dangers inherent with the inside radius of such a sharp blind corner. It is interesting to note that the sightline problem was further exacerbated for the properties on the inside of the turn when the Town chose to modify the roadbed during the Quorum site construction. Development at the site would also aggravate the existing traffic volume by the random and unpredictable nature of trips that 120 residential vehicles would contribute to the flow each day. Conflict with neighboring facilities The Mill Road area has welcomed and embraced the addition of LifeLinks, an important neighbor that provides essential services and support for those with intellectual or developmental disabilities. Twice daily throughout the year, upwards of twenty transport vans and buses queue from the LifeLinks entrance back past 276 Mill all the way to the blind turn at Quorum in order to discharge and pick up their passengers making it problematic for anyone to egress the proposed site regardless of which direction they turn. As responsible residents, we support sensible development within Chelmsford. In fact, at the Spring 2013 Town Meeting, each of the five Town Meeting Representatives undersigned below voted YES for the affordable housing project at 233 Littleton Road a site far more favorable in terms of compatibility, amenities and overall selection criteria. Unfortunately, the proposal at 276 Mill Road shares none of that upside and in fact is ranked as poorly for development as the Oak Hill site which Town Meeting designated as suitable only for use as Conservation Land. Given these facts, we ask that you take all appropriate measures to prevent this project from proceeding. </li> <li> Photographs </li> <li> Figure 1 LifeLinks Queue looking SE with 276 Mill at right Figure 2 LifeLinks Queue looking SE; opposing traffic with 276 Mill at right </li> <li> Figure 3 LifeLinks Queue looking NW with traffic; from driveway of 276 Mill </li> <li> 276 Mill and view toward Elizabeth Drive and 129. 276 Mill and view toward blind curve at Quorum </li> <li> Mill Road Looking South to Quorum at curve </li> <li> Above: Hancock/ Fuchs Sites Below Looking East on Mill Road toward blind Curve at Quorum </li> <li> Mill Road Grade looking west from Quorum toward Hancock/Fuchs sites Blind curve at Quorum entrance </li> <li> Roadbed modification at Quorum entrance </li> <li> Site Lines looking West at Quorum </li> <li> Limited site line and proximity of curve relative to 276 Mill </li> <li> Limited site line and proximity of curve relative to 276 Mill </li> <li> Limited site line and roadbed damage from persistent run-off </li> <li> Site line exiting north on Mill from Quorum </li> <li> Site line exiting north on Mill from Quorum </li> </ul>