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The latest IN TOWN REPORT contains a great deal of information about current issues facing our town, many townwide photos, and video links to local TV shows and meetings, all contained in one convenient & free publication. This IN TOWN REPORT should be useful to anyone interested in the town of Chelmsford.

This issue of the IN TOWN REPORT covers the following:


(1) Community Gardens Grand Opening Party, Saturday, August 15th at 9 AM, on Robin Hill Road.

(2) The Bruce Freeman Rail Trail (also known as the Bike Path) will have a Grand Opening ribbon cutting ceremony & other celebrations on Saturday, August 29th, beginning at 10:00 AM in Chelmsford Center!

Thanks to all of you who help make Chelmsford such an outstanding town.

Tom Christiano
TM Representative, Precinct 9
Thurs 7:00 AM; Sundays 11:00 AM
Chelmsford Cable TV Channel 8

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  1. 1. In-Town Report Conceptual photo / Not the actual official design
  2. 2. Hello, Next Monday night (8/17) is the special Town Meeting. Articles 1 & 2 ask if Chelmsford should tack on a additional 0.75% to the meals tax bringing it up from 6.25% to 7%. And increasing the town's hotel occupancy tax from 4 % to 6 %. All the monies from these increases will be funneled back into the town. Article 4 asks for a new consolidated Department of Public Works to be located on Alpha drive in an existing building. And Article 5 asks for a new Center Fire Department to be built on the ball field between Chelmsford Street and Wilson Street . As a resident you do not need to be a Town Meeting Representative to have your voice heard. If you have strong opinions on these issues all Chelmsford residents can ask questions and or debate the topics at hand at Town Meeting during the appropriate time. Although a Non-Rep cannot vote they can still be heard, by contacting your Town Meeting Representatives in your precinct. I remember when I was collecting signatures to run for a Town Rep seat one of my neighbors asked me “Who is our precinct 6 Rep now?” They were surprised when I replied “You have 18 of them.” CLICK HERE for a list of your Town Meeting Representatives Thanks, Roy PS: If you are in Tom Christiano’s or my precinct and would like to share your opinions on the Town Meeting articles feel free. We welcome your input. ROY EARLEY TOM CHRISTIANO 184 Chelmsford Street 6 Drew Circle TM REP Precinct 6 TM REP Precinct 9
  3. 3. $electmen No tax hike for hotels, restaurants Residents make call at Chelmsford Town Meeting By Rita Savard, 07/28/2009 CHELMSFORD -- After chewing on the idea of raising taxes on restaurant meals and hotel rooms, select- men decided not to support the move in a 3-2 vote last night. Special Town Meeting will have the ultimate say on whether to increase the town's hotel occupancy tax from 4 to 6 percent, and tack an additional 0.75 percent onto the state's 6.25 percent tax for restaurant meals on Monday, Aug. 17. The Selectmen explain But Selectmen Clare Jeannotte, Eric Dahlberg and Sean Scanlon said the reasons for they could not recommend that voters take on more tax increases during their votes on the a stalled economy. Selectmen Pat Wojtas and George Dixon said they local tax option were in favor of the local options taxes to help pump an estimated $290,000 back into town coffers. CLICK HERE With Chelmsford down $1.7 million in state aid from last year, Wojtas said that at least the state provided some room to help recoup the loss. for VIDEO CLIP "They are exactly that -- local options," she said, adding that the hike would cost another quarter on a $30 meal tab. "You either go out to eat, stay at a hotel or you don't. It's a choice. If you can afford a $30 meal, you can afford a quarter." Jeannotte, who opposed the tax hikes, said the town could have saved hundreds of thousands more if state lawmakers gave cities and towns the power to forgo collective bargaining with unions over health-insurance plans. Instead, Jeannotte said the burden of shouldering a shortfall in state funding has once again fallen on local businesses and taxpayers. Local-option taxes, enabled under the new state budget signed by Gov. Deval Patrick, were created as a means for cash-strapped cities and towns to bring in additional revenue in the wake of state cutbacks. Town Manager Paul Cohen said approving the local-option taxes could generate about $290,000 in addi- tional revenue for Chelmsford, according to estimates from the Department of Revenue. Without the tax in- crease, Cohen said Chelmsford schools will have to cut an additional $200,000 from their budget, and another $87,000 will have to be stripped from the town's public-safety departments. In a separate 3-2 vote, selectmen last night shot down a proposal to build a new $12 million Center Fire Station on the corner of Wilson and Chelmsford streets, with Jeannotte, Dahlberg and Scanlon opposing the measure, and Wojtas and Dixon voting in favor. "There's no question this building is deplorable and doesn't meet the needs of a modern station," Jeannotte said. "But I would find it much easier to support something a little smaller, in a different location that costs less." Dahlberg said he would have no problem supporting to replace the sagging fire station's floor for about $600,000 instead, but was hard-pressed to support a multimillion-dollar building that the town is not even sure it can staff when completed. Selectmen also voted 4-1 to recommend relocating the town's Department of Public Works to the Old Mother Hubbard dog-food plant on Alpha Road, for about $12.8 million -- a cost savings of more than $18 million, which the town would pay to build a new facility from scratch. Dahlberg cast the dissenting vote. All articles will ultimately be decided by Special Town Meeting.
  4. 4. From Selectmen just say ‘ No ’ 7/26/09 By Kevin Zimmerman By a 3-to-2 vote, the Board of Selectmen decided not to support the plan to implement new restaurant and hotel taxes at the Aug. 17 special Town Meeting. Only board members Pat Wojtas and George Dixon agreed the local option taxes, which are expected to raise about $287,000 this fiscal year, would be a good idea. Wojtas cast a positive vote because she believes these are the types of revenue generators the town pushed its legislators to pass on Beacon Hill. Dixon and Wojtas also cast the only two “Yes” votes in support of a new Center Fire Station on Wilson and Chelmsford streets. Selectmen Chairman Clare Jeannotte agreed the current facility is no longer adequate but would be more comfortable supporting a smaller station at a different location. She did not elaborate on how big or where such a building should be constructed. Selectman Eric Dahlberg said he would be willing to support spending $600,000 out of the Capital Budget to fix the floor of the station. Board member Sean Scanlon dismissed the whole idea of a new station. He believes the current structure, built in 1952, remains a viable option for a department whose mission has not changed. Chelmsford Fire Fighters Local 1834 Union President John Kivlan said that is simply not true. “Our mission has changed,” Kivlan said Tuesday morning. “When it was built in 1952, it was built for a call (volunteer) fire department.” Over the years, as the town’s population increased, the number of calls has also risen, said Kivlan. And the types of calls and how to respond to them, including hazardous material spills and more technical rescue operations, are always evolving. ************************************************************************************* Sean Scanlon responds to article To the Editor: I just wanted to write you to clarify your article detailing my position on the fire station. I am not sure why you reported that I do not support the construction of a new fire station at all, since I stated that I do, just not the option that was presented. I usually would not do this, but I am providing you my transcript from last night, given the apparent misunder- standing. Regarding comments that the fire department’s mission has not changed since the facility was built in 1952, those were not my words either. In making my decision, I tried to use data provided by the fire chief and town manager regarding personnel numbers since 1985. I requested 25 years of data to gain a long term picture of staffing, and to try to make a prediction about how things might look 25 years from now since the station would serve us well for at least another 50 years
  5. 5. if built. The data showed that since 1985, the number of fire personnel has not changed dramatically. In making my statement about the fire department’s mission, my confusion wasn’t that the mission could change – I certainly understand that the mission of our fire department has evolved, especially since 9/11. My confusion wasn’t that the department needs more space – I get it – trucks are bigger and the fire fight- ers need a place to sleep. I just questioned whether the mission has changed so much that it warranted a facility three times the size of the current station. Since my campaign, I have promised to speak my mind on every issue. As a public official, it is my duty to clearly articulate my positions to the public. Given the confusion from my words last night, it seems I did not succeed in doing so. I apologize to the firefighters of Chelmsford for misrepresenting the job they do, even if unintentionally. I have great respect for the servicemen and women of our town. As a Selectman, my number one priority is serving the tax payers of our community. I just want to ensure that if we are going to pay beyond 2 ½ for a fire station, that it is built to serve the requirement as frugally as possible. If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. Sean Scanlon Selectman, Town of Chelmsford My prepared comments from Monday night: “I first want to delineate that my position on this project is not a reflection of the firefighters. I respect the job they perform and appreciate the way they put themselves out there for those in need. I also believe that the firefighters need a new station, and that the current one is not safe, and does not fulfill their opera- tional requirements. I also understand that the current site is not conducive to meeting their future requirements. I support ask- ing the public if they are willing to pay for a new station. That being said, I have misgivings about the cho- sen location, and the project’s size. For decades, the fire department has operated from the current station without difficulty. While the configu- ration was not ideal, the fire fighters made it work and I applaud them for that. I understand that larger trucks require larger space, and technology should be upgraded to meet 21st century technological and safety standards. What I find confusing is that a mission requirement could change such over the past 25 years to require not double, but triple the size facility with relatively little change in personnel numbers. “There have been comparisons made with the upgraded police facility completed a few years ago, almost to a point where I have to ask whether the push for a large fire station is based more on comparing red to blue, than upon requirements. The police station was built during a different economic climate and under different leadership. Had the po- lice station been proposed today, I would likely have the same concerns that I am sharing with you tonight. The fire station is being requested during difficult financial times. If you are going to request a new building in a recession, I feel that there should be certain understand- ings. In summary, I support the construction of a new fire station, but cannot in good conscience as a representative of the community support the option as presented.” *********************** The Selectmen explain the The Selectmen explain the reasons for their votes on reasons for their votes on the new DPW building the new Center Fire Station CLICK HERE CLICK HERE for VIDEO CLIP for VIDEO CLIP
  6. 6. From Finance Committee disagrees on Fire Station proposal 7/30/09 By Kevin Zimmerman Although the Finance Committee plans to recommend passage of the five articles at the Aug. 17 special Town Meeting, the fire station proposal failed to garner unanimous support. The six members at Thursday’s meeting, Dwight Hayward was not present, agreed something needs to be done to address an inadequate Center Fire Station, but could not reach a consensus on when such a proj- ect should happen. Chairman Mary Frantz and member David Turocy balked at the idea of bringing the $12 million fire station plan and a $13 million proposal for a new DPW facility to representatives in one meeting. Both voted not to recommend approval of the fire station article. They believed the DPW project should move forward because purchasing and rehabbing the Alpha Road building -- which is currently on the market -- would lower the cost of that facility about $18 million. Turocy, who served on the DPW/Fire Facilities Study Committee, worries that if officials ask for too much at one time, voters could reject both projects. “It’s in the best interest of the town to get something rather than nothing,” said Turocy. “I’m voting against getting nothing.” One project is going to be a “hard sell” to financially strapped residents, so why push for two? asked Frantz. “I’m with Dave,” said Frantz. “I’m not certain people will feel we ought to deal with two capital projects at once.” Member Vincent Villano questioned the logic behind the wait-and-see-if-we-can-afford-it-later attitude. “There is never a good time,” said Villano. “This is not a luxury. I don’t know how I can’t support it.” Villano and member Jon Kurland said the distressed economy brings down the costs of borrowing funds, purchasing material and hiring contractors. If the town waits, the fire station becomes more expensive. Right now, the cost of borrowing $12 million is expected to increase the taxes on the average single-family home around $72 a year. Kurland doesn’t believe a $20-per-quarter tax increase -- in the payback schedule’s peak year of 2013 -- should kill the station plan. “The fire station is a less expensive project with a greater need,” said Kurland. “You’re sending the wrong message. You’re saying the fire station is not required much as the DPW. **********************************************************
  7. 7. Recommendations: One from Column A, One from Column B 7/31/09 By Kevin Zimmerman Town Meeting representatives will hear conflicting recommendations on the adoption of local option taxes at the Aug. 17 special session. On Monday, the Board of Selectmen voted 3-to-2 not to recommend approval of either the restaurant meal or hotel room tax. But on Thursday night, the Finance Committee opted for a different approach. The six members present voted unanimously to recommend Town Meeting adopt the taxes. “These are small areas to raise revenues in town,” said Finance Committee member Vincent Villano. “I can’t imagine this affecting businesses at all.” If approved, the restaurant meal tax would increase by ¾ of one percent, which with the state sales tax in- crease to 6 ¼ percent set for Saturday would make Chelmsford’s rate 7 percent. The hotel room tax would increase to 6 percent. “The meal’s tax in New Hampshire is now 9 percent,” said Finance Committee member Jon Kurland. “But, if there’s a restaurant you want to go to you are going to go regardless if (meal taxes) 7 percent or 9 percent.” Kurland said the meal’s tax would have a greater impact on residents than the hotel tax, but he did not be- lieve the town could reject either. “We don’t have much choice,” said Kurland. Chairman Mary Frantz agreed. Frantz said towns that don’t accept these options will not find sympathy from Beacon Hill when asking for local aid relief. “I can hear the legislators say, ‘Are you taxing to the levy limit? Did you adopt local option taxes?’” said Frantz. “We’ve been begging for local options. I don’t think this will affect businesses. If you go out to eat, it’s part of the bill.” *********************************** Chelmsford boards split on hotel, meals tax By Rita Savard, 08/08/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Taking a different stance from the Board of Selectmen, the Chelmsford Finance Commit- tee finds raising hotel room and restaurant meal taxes more palatable. In a 6-0 vote, the Finance Committee recommended that Town Meeting adopt raising the taxes on restau- rant meals and hotel rooms to help offset reductions in state aid. Committee member Dwight Hayward was not present to vote. "We need the revenue. The new budget the town manager put together depends on that revenue," said Fi- nance Committee Chairwoman Mary Frantz. "We didn't feel raising the meal tax was going to impact people to that great of an extent, because when people go out to eat they don't make a decision based on the tax." The Finance Committee's vote sends a different message to Town Meeting, compared to the Board of Se- lectmen, which voted against the tax increases in a previous 3 to 2 vote. Selectmen Clare Jeannotte, Sean Scanlon and Eric Dahlberg said hiking taxes any more would place too much of a burden on residents in a
  8. 8. stalled economy. Selectmen Pat Wojtas and George Dixon recommended the local options taxes for the same reasons as the Finance Committee. With Chelmsford down $1.7 million in state aid from last year, Frantz said increasing the town's hotel occu- pancy tax from 4 to 6 percent, and tacking an additional .75 percent onto the state's 6.25 percent tax for restaurant meals, gives municipalities something they've been lobbying for. "We've been asking our state legislators again and again for options," she said. "They gave us an option, so we felt we ought to take it." Chairwoman Jeannotte, who opposed the tax hikes, has said the town could have saved hundreds of thou- sands more if state lawmakers gave cities and towns the power to forgo collective bargaining with unions over health-insurance plans. Instead, Jeannotte said the burden of shouldering a shortfall in state funding has once again fallen on local businesses and taxpayers. The decision to increase the tax ultimately rests in the hands of Town Meeting representatives on Monday, Aug. 17. The local options taxes can go into effect in October if approved by municipalities by the end of Au- gust. The Finance Committee also voted unanimously to support building a new $12 million Center Fire Station on the corner of Wilson and Chelmsford streets, and to relocate the Department of Public Works to the Old Mother Hubbard dog food plant on Alpha Road. In a previous 3 to 2 vote, Selectmen shot down the fire sta- tion proposal, but voted 4 to 1 in favor of relocating the DPW, with Dahlberg casting the dissenting vote. *********************************** Trying to sell the DPW and Fire Station plans 8/7/09 By Kevin Zimmerman Less than a quarter of the Town Meeting representatives turned out Thursday night to hear why officials insist Chelmsford needs a new DPW facility and Center Fire Headquarters. The short version appears to be the belief that both departments currently operate out of woefully out-dated and inadequate buildings. Permanent Building Committee Chairman Pat Maloney opened his presentation with a PowerPoint slide showing the Richardson Road DPW site that uses a trailer as its main office and includes buildings with cracks running from the foundation to roof. “A picture really tells a thousand words,” said Maloney. “The DPW responsibilities have increased signifi- cantly over the years but the facilities haven’t kept pace.” Town Meeting will vote on a $13 million proposal to purchase the Old Mother Hubbard building on Alpha Road along with a couple of adjacent parcels, which would then be converted into a unified Department of Public Works center. Right now, DPW is spread around town at four locations includ- Proposed Alpha Road site ing the Sewer Department’s office on Kidder Road, which costs the town $74,100 a year in rent. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the $13 million project could be added to the current excluded debt levy without any significant changes to residents’ tax bills. The town’s excluded debt currently consists of the $31 million middle and high schools projects and the on- going sewer construction. Today, the costs of those projects add about $460 to the bill of a $360,000 residence -- the town’s average
  9. 9. single-family home value. But as the principal declines, as the town pays off those projects, the DPW costs would be substituted in keeping the level at about $460 for excluded debt. Adding in the $12 million Center Fire Station plan would bump up that $460 payment $73 in the peak pay- back year, fiscal 2014, said Cohen. The current North Road fire station was constructed in 1952 for a volunteer department servicing a town of 10,000 residents. A fire headquarters on Wilson and Chelmsford streets would address the current site’s lack of train- ing room, living quarters and office space, said Mal- oney. And it would be constructed on a parcel the town already owns. The proposed 27,041 square-foot building would in- clude five vehicle bays to allow storage of equip- ment now scattered around town. Fire Prevention and its equipment now housed at the Princeton Street station would be moved to the Proposed Chelmsford/Wilson Street site Center, where it should be, said Maloney. There would also be room for an emergency com- mand center and a backup dispatch facility. Although no reps suggested the fire station should not be replaced -- pointing to the fact that the basement of the North Road site is currently filled with wood cribbing keeping the floor above in place -- some still questioned the size and location of the new building. “Wilson Street should be preserved as open space in the Center,” said Ralph Hickey. Hickey also worried what would happen to the girls’ softball fields currently located on the Wilson Street site. Those ball fields, now utilized by the youngest players, would be moved to Southwell Park where the majority of softball games are played. “If the girls had a place to play in the Center, I’d support it,” said Hickey. Other reps had concerns about the impact a 27,000 square-foot building would have on the 2 acre site. The current North Road facility is a 3,500 square-foot building on a 10,000 square-foot lot. Although the Permanent Building Committee has not developed a plan that shows the exact location of the building, Maloney said it would take up about one-quarter of the lot. Still others worried about trucks pulling out onto Chelmsford Street. Fire Chief Jack Parow said the trucks would control the traffic lights at Chelmsford and Fletcher streets and in Chicken Corner, just as they currently do on North Road. Town Meeting will vote on both proposals at its Aug. 17 special ses- sion. Both articles require a two-thirds majority to pass. If one or both passes at Town Meeting, a special election will be set for October to allow all voters a chance to weigh in on the plans. On Aug. 12, both the Richardson Road DPW and the North Road fire station will hold open houses to give residents a chance to see why the building committee believes both locations should be re- placed. Fran McDougall offered a unique suggestion for Town Meeting to close Thursday night’s forum. “Can we have a signup list for those who toured the facilities?” she asked. “If you didn’t you can’t ask any questions at Town Meeting.” While that earned some laughter it probably wouldn’t garner support from town counsel, said Cohen.
  10. 10. The following is a question for the Chelmsford Chief of the Fire Department: Why do we need the proposed new Fire Station to be this particular size? Answer from our Fire Chief, Jack Parow: The size of the New Station is based on the services we provide (our Mission) and the equipment we use to provide those services. The Engineers and Architects that are familiar with fire station design and the current standards reviewed our operations and needs and came up with the space requirements for our department's needs both current and into the near future. Keep in mind the current station was built over 55 years ago for a volunteer department. It was not built to provide the type of services we provide today. Currently we house seven (7) pieces of apparatus in the Center Station: Engine 1 (Quint), Rescue 1, Rescue 2, Shift Officer's Vehicle, Brush Engine 1, a boat and a large trailered electric generator. The following pieces of equipment were in the Center Station before we lost the basement and would again be stored in the new center station: Reserve Engine 6, the Fire Alarm Truck, the Chief's car and the Operations Deputy's car. They do not fit in the station anymore because of the shoring in the basement. I think you need to remember that we had 6 bays of space before we lost the basement. The new plan calls for centralizing our operations and relocating Fire Prevention in the new station. This would require space for the fire prevention office and room for the Fire Prevention Deputy's and Fire Pre- vention Captain's car inside. In addition, we need to house the Special Operations trailer (for Haz Mat and trench rescue, which is now outside) and the arson investigation car inside. The reason to house the staff vehicles inside is that they all respond to various emergencies and in the winter you have to brush snow and scrap ice off of the windows before we can respond. In addition, all the battery operated equipment, i.e., meters, computers, etc. freeze in the winter and will not function properly until they warm up. This is no way to operate a business when someone's life could be on the line. All in all, I think if you look at the proposed floor plan the office space is very conservative. We are not looking for more than we need to do our jobs properly. The apparatus floor and storage area accounts for one third of the over all space. There are two rooms on the floor plan that may create some confusion because of the way they are la- beled, the "MEP" room is the mechanical, electrical and plumbing room and the "FP" room is for the fire protection systems (fire alarm and sprinkler). Replacing this station is not a new idea, the 1996 Town Master Plan called for a new Center Station. A link to the recent Firestation & DPW briefings is as follows: For FIRE DEPT. CLICK HERE For DPW CLICK HERE
  11. 11. ASK THE MANAGER In-Town Report : What is your opinion on what the town of Tewksbury did as far as dealing with their unions and health-insurance? "Tewksbury takes tiff with union to court" "At issue is whether the town has the right to implement health-insurance concessions without approval from municipal employees -- a question that has heavy precedent-setting potential. " If the court upholds the town of Tewksbury's actions, would Chelms- ford consider following their lead? Town Manager Paul Cohen : The Town of Tewksbury’s health insurance negotiations were conducted under a coalition bargaining process that differs from the process followed by most other communities in Massachusetts. I imagine that if Tewksbury were successful in this effort, that many other communities, including the Town of Chelmsford, would explore this alternative. As the news story indicates, there is a difference of legal opinion and a lack of case law in this matter. Therefore, the outcome is unpredictable and the Superior Court decision will likely be appealed by the losing party. Therefore, it may be several years before this matter is fully resolved. In-Town Report : What is the current status as far as union negotiations and contracts go? Which unions have settled their contracts so far? Town Manager Paul Cohen : The Town of Chelmsford’s General Government union contracts, with the exception of the police patrol offi- cers, expire at the end of the current fiscal year on June 30, 2010. The police patrol officers’ contract ex- pired this pa st June 30. The School Department’s contacts expired this past June 30. The School Committee is in the midst of contract negotiations with its union employees. Thus far, there have been no increases in the compensation plans for the Town’s union or non-union employees. In-Town Report : What is the most important thing Town Meeting Representatives should remember as they walk into Town Meeting on August 17th? Town Manager Paul Cohen : Town Meeting Representatives will address important issues at the upcoming Special Town Meeting. It is important to remember that all of the revenue from the proposed local option meals and room occupancy taxes will remain in the community. These monies will help preserve important town services such as educa- tion and public safety. The proposed DPW and Fire Department facilities present an opportunity to save considerable amounts of monies while addressing the community’s two major capital needs. The Alpha Road building is a unique opportunity to save almost $20M as compared to the cost to construct a new facility. The proposed Fire Department Headquarters would address the needs for 21st century fire department operations at a time of favorable construction costs and interest rates. The failure to act now will likely mean that the Town will pay more and get less in the future.
  12. 12. ************************************************************* The following is a recap of the In-Town Report's ASK THE MANAGER section from the last couple of months. ************************************************************* In-Town Report : Over the last year,with all the dark clouds concerning the economy hanging over the town, what if any silver linings do or did you see? Town Manager Paul Cohen : The economic downturn presents an opportunity for the Town of Chelmsford to address its two major capital facility needs in a very cost-effective manner. The Town needs to address the antiquated and structurally-deficient Center Fire Station and the deteriorated DPW facilities on Richardson Road. The current economic recession offers a favorable bidding climate for construction, reduced cost for real estate acquisition, and low interest rates for borrowing. The taxpayers could save millions of dollars in project costs and not experience a significant increase in the debt service costs related to these projects until after the economic recovery arrives in a couple of years. In-Town Report : Could you explain the difference between a"debt exclusion"override and a override like the voters voted on in the town's 2008 election? Town Manager Paul Cohen: An override is a permanent increase in taxing authority. It increases the Town’s property tax levy limit and becomes part of the base for calculating future years’ levy limits. A debt exclusion increases the amount of property tax that the Town may raise for a temporary period of time in order to fund specific projects. It does not become part of the base for calculating future years’ levy limits. In-Town Report : In the last issue of In-Town Report you wrote that a special election would cost the town approximately $18,000. Given the history of previous debt exclusion overrides in town, do you believe that the debt exclusion ques- tion for a Fire Station and Department of Public works building has a chance and is worth the gamble and cost of a special election. Town Manager Paul Cohen: Yes. The special election cost of $18,000 will pale in comparison to the hundreds of thousands of dollars that can be saved annually if these projects are constructed simultaneously during this period of a favor- able construction bidding climate and low interest rates.
  13. 13. In-Town Report : If Town Meeting turns down the proposal or if it goes to the voters and is voted down, what happens next? How do you address the problem then? Town Manager Paul Cohen: If the DPW proposal is defeated, then I anticipate that the Town will be asked over the next several years to consider a piecemeal approach to the renovation and/or construction of the buildings at the Richardson Road si te. Such a solution could be up to three times more expensive that than the unique opportunity presented by the existing commercial building located off of Alpha Road. If the Fire Department Headquarters proposal is defeated, then I anticipate that the Town would revisit the decision within a couple of years as to what action to take when the floor of the fire station needs to be re- placed. Replacing the floor of the center fire station does not address the inadequate space, fire training facilities, administrative offices, locker facilities, male and female living quarters,ADA is- sues and other deficiencies of the current fire headquarters. The center station was built over 50 years ago when the town had a much smaller population with less commercial development. I can not justify a significant investment into the current land-locked location. Therefore, the Town may once again be confronted with the need to pay considerably more at a future date to provide an adequate fire headquarters facility. In-Town Report : Does the town have any idea what the center fire station property is worth on the open market if it should be sold off in the near future? Town Manager Paul Cohen: An appraisal of the center fire station is in process. I expect to have the results in advance of the special town meeting. In-Town Report : And how much would it cost to replace the center station's floor? Town Manager Paul Cohen: The estimated cost to replace the center fire station's floor is $590,000.
  14. 14. In-Town Report : Concerning the additional hotel & meal tax that Town Meeting will be voting on next month, has the revenue from that tax already been figured into the 2010 budget? Town Manager Paul Cohen: Yes. I have included the $287,715 in additional meals and hotel taxes in the adjustments to balance the Town’s current (FY10) operating budget. If the Town Meeting does not approve the local option taxes, then I will propose that the School Depart- ment’s budget be reduced by an additional $200,000 and the Town’s public safety personnel budget (police and fire) be reduced by $87,715. In-Town Report : Isn't that plan kind of like Deval Patrick figuring in his Casinos revenue plan into the State's budget before it came up for a vote? Town Manager Paul Cohen: My responsibility is to submit a balanced budget to the Town Meeting. I am requesting that the Town Meet- ing adopt the local option taxes. If the revenue is not available from the local option taxes, then the budget will be reduced. I am providing specific details on how the budget will be reduced. This is no different than the recent action by the State legislature to consider new revenue sources as part of its balanced state budget. In-Town Report : How does the town figure out projected revenue from a tax that is not on the books yet? Town Manager Paul Cohen: The projected revenues from the local option meals tax is provided to the Town by the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The State has access to corporate income and sales/meals tax filings by food establishments to develop its estimates.
  15. 15. Chelmsford residents appeal to stop planned Billerica apartment complex By Chris Camire, 08/01/2009 BILLERICA -- A lawyer representing a group of Chelmsford residents is appealing the Billerica Zoning Board of Appeals' recent approval of a proposed 384-unit apartment complex on Rangeway Road. The controversial 40B project, situated on the Chelmsford line, could significantly increase Billerica's affordable-housing stock. It was approved by the board last month. Attorney Dan Hill, of Charlestown, is now requesting that a Middlesex Superior Court annul the board's decision to grant a comprehensive permit to K&K Developers Inc. In the appeal, Hill writes that the ZBA's decision "exceeded the board's legal authority, was arbitrary and capricious, and was an abuse of the board's discretion." "The board abused its discretion by unnecessarily approving a project that threatens to flood the plaintiff's properties, threatens the environment, threatens to overload Billerica's public water and sewer systems, and threatens the safety of the project's own residents," Hill wrote. The ZBA's decision came after eight months of debate. The final vote was 4-1, with Ralph McKenna voting in opposition. Chairman Doris Pearson, Joseph Shaw, Patricia Flemming and Ellen Sargent voted in favor. The appeal claims the board hastily closed its public hearing on June 17 despite advice from its own peer-review engineer that talks should continue until the developer tested the soil for drainage issues. It also alleges that ZBA members held pri- vate, one-on-one meetings to discuss the project with the developer in order to skirt open-meeting laws. "We feel that the board had a lot of options that it chose not to take," said Hill. Reached by phone yesterday, Pearson refused to comment on the appeal. "We've already expressed our support of the project as we've approved it," Pearson said. "Now that it's been appealed, I don't think it would be appropriate to comment." The complaint's claims could be addressed through a trial or a motion for summary judgment, in which a judge decides a case without a full trial, said Hill. The ZBA granted a comprehensive permit to the developers believing it would give the town "breathing room" with its af- fordable-housing goals, The permit to build the eight-building Aspen Apartments complex was granted under the state's Chapter 40B guidelines and represented a significant downsizing from an original proposal that called for 672 units as recently as mid-June. Chapter 40B enables developers to obtain comprehensive permits that bypass zoning bylaws in towns where less than 10 percent of the housing stock qualifies as affordable. Developers must then set aside 25 percent of housing units in the de- velopment as affordable. In the case of Aspen Apartments, that means at least 96 units must be affordable. In explaining her vote in favor of the project last month, Pearson noted that Billerica has a goal of putting 95 units of afford- able housing on the market each year. "This will give us some breathing room," she said. That sentiment was echoed by Sargent. Throughout the proceedings, concerns were raised about the technical feasibility of the project based on soil quality and traffic considerations. Bill Griffin, Town Meeting Representative precinct 9 Speaks to the Town Manager and Selectmen about the proposed 40B complex on the border of Chelmsford CLICK HERE for VIDEO CLIP
  16. 16. From John Belskis - Chairman of the coalition to Repeal 40B August 4,2009 A citizen's Initiative Petition to repeal MGL 40B Secs 20 - 23 was filed this morning with the office of the Attorney General. After a 20 day appeal period the AGO will issue a letter authorizing the Secretary of State to provide petition forms for the collection of the required 66,000+ signatures required to place repeal on the ballot. We anticipate approval as we withstood significant legal challenges in the 2007 filing and I can't imagine what other ar- guments could be provided. I expect that DHCD, CHAPA, MassHousing, REBA, etc,etc, already have teams of lawyers preparing new objections. Until you folks gather the required signatures, we cannot get on the ballot and repeal this law! Between the stimulus funding and what appears to be an improving housing market there will no doubt be a resurgence of 40B projects. Don't wait for that to happen! We'll put the petitions in your hands by mid September. Get us the signa- tures that can protect you from future 40B abuses. Please let us know that you will work on the collection campaign. If you have not done so already, reply to this message, or sign up on the web site John Belskis ************************************************************************ The citizen’s initiative Petition 09-02 has been posted on the Attorney General Office site with a copy of the filing and signers. (Also of note, a petition has been filed to repeal the Sales Tax On Alcohol) CLICK HERE TO VIEW ************************************************************************ Low-cost housing law targeted By Christine McConville Wednesday, August 5, 2009 An initiative to remove a controversial affordable housing law from the state’s books may go before voters in 2010. Yesterday, the nonprofit Coalition to Repeal 40B submitted its preliminary petition to the Massachusetts Attorney General’s office. “All we want to do is let the citizens decide if it’s a good law,” said coalition director John Belskis, whose members represent 184 Massachu- setts communities. Phil Hailer, spokesman for the state Department of Housing and Community Development, which oversees the 40-year-old law, declined to comment on the petition, saying he had not seen it yet. Under Chapter 40B, builders may bypass local zoning restrictions, as long as at least 20 percent of the housing units are set aside for people who make less than 80 percent of the community’s median income. The law also stipulates that developers’ profits be capped at 20 percent. In most cases, any excess profit is to be given to the community that houses the developments. Supporters say the law is the only way to build lower-cost housing in pricey suburbs, while critics say the developments it brings are too big. Two years ago, the coalition tried to place the same question on the ballot. That effort failed when the group could not secure the necessary signatures. Since then, the housing market has collapsed, and 40B developers’ profits have come under scrutiny. Massachusetts Inspector General Gregory Sullivan has said 40B developers owe cities and towns $100 million in excess profits, and a Sen- ate committee has called for tougher accountability standards for developers. If the Attorney General determines that the petition is legal, coalition members must secure signatures from nearly 66,600 Massachusetts residents. If those signatures are deemed valid, then voters will be able to decide the future of 40B at the polls. ************************************************************************ John Belskis will be a guest on Tom Christiano’s local talk show “POLITICALLY INCORRECT” this fall to talk about the Repeal 40B petition and process. Along with State Representative Jim Arciero and Planning Board member Colleen Stansfield
  17. 17. Affordable Housing Plan Committee The Chelmsford Board of Selectmen will accept applications for appointment to the Affordable Housing Plan Committee until August 31, 2009. CLICK HERE FOR APPLICATION Chelmsford’s first Affordable Housing Plan was certified in July 2005, and must be recertified by July 2010. By having a certified Plan, the Town is able to manage affordable housing projects that are presented to local boards under Chapter 40B regulations, provided a specific number of units are created each year. The 2005 Plan presented a comprehensive overview of existing housing in Chelmsford, as well as data regarding demographics, housing needs, regulations and permitting, and strategies for achieving the Chapter 40B mandated affordable housing inventory of 10% of the Town’s total housing units. The need to have a certified Plan in place is further indicated by Department of Housing and Community Development regulations which state: If a community has a DHCD approved Housing Production Plan and is granted certification of compliance with the plan by DHCD, a decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) relative to a comprehensive permit application will be deemed "consistent with local needs" under MGL Chapter 40B. "Consistent with local needs" means the ZBA's decision will be upheld by the Housing Appeals Committee. Requirements for Affordable Housing Plans have changed since 2005. The next version must include more detailed information, including a numerical goal for annual housing production. That goal must be sufficient to increase the Town’s number of affordable housing units by at least 0.50% of its total units during every calendar year included in the Plan. The Plan must include Implementation Strategies by which the Town will achieve its housing production goals, and a schedule for implementation of the goals and strategies for production of units, including the following strategies, if applicable: 1. The identification of zoning districts or geographic areas in which the municipality proposes to modify current regulations for the purposes of creating affordable housing developments to meet its housing production goal 2. The identification of specific sites for which the municipality will encourage the filing of Comprehensive Permit applications 3. Characteristics of proposed residential or mixed-use developments that would be preferred by the municipality (examples might include cluster developments, adaptive re-use, transit-oriented housing, mixed-use development, inclusionary housing, etc.) 4. Municipally owned parcels for which the municipality commits to issue requests for proposals to develop affordable housing 5. Participation in regional collaborations addressing housing development The Affordable Housing Plan Committee will consist of nine members: one member each from the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, Conservation Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, and Housing Authority Board of Directors; and four citizen representatives. Resources available to this committee will include staff of the Community Development Department and the Chelmsford Housing Authority. In addition, DHCD holds periodic Housing Production Plan workshops, and posts copies of approved plans from other communities on their website. NMCOG has worked with member communities to develop plans, and recently hired a staff person to focus on area housing issues. The expected timeline for the committee is as follows: August 2009 – Board of Selectmen solicit volunteers for appointment to the Affordable Housing Plan Committee September 2009 – Board of Selectmen make appointments to the AHPC October 2009 to April 2010 – committee revises current Plan to meet all necessary criteria specified in DHCD regulations March 2010 – committee submits Plan to Chelmsford Planning Board and Board of Selectmen for endorsement April 2010 – updated plan submitted to DHCD for approval June 2010 – committee will be disbanded when the new Plan is certified DHCD regulations state that the Department must notify the community of acceptance/rejection of its Plan within 90 days of submission. If possible, the Committee should complete and submit the revised Housing Plan no later than April 1, 2010.
  18. 18. Rough road for asphalt plant By Peter Costa/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Wed Aug 05, 2009 CHELMSFORD - Trouble arrived by the truckload Monday for a proposed asphalt plant in Westford. Dozens of Chelmsford and Westford residents opposed the plant at Monday night’s Westford Planning Board Meeting, held at the Abbot School in Westford. Leading the Chelmsford charge was Selectmen Chairwoman Clare Jeannotte, who read a letter from the Chelmsford selectmen to the Westford Planning Board that received rousing and sus- tained applause from the hearing attendees. “Chelmsford citizens have submitted a significant number of petitions and other correspon- dence to the Board of Selectmen documenting their opposition. They have expressed legitimate concerns about this industry and its operation and location in such proximity to residents. Their objections concern potential impacts to the local environment, air quality, our aquifers, impacts to property values, public health, traffic safety, noise and truck traffic and maintenance of roads,” she said, reading from the letter. Jeannotte pointed out Chelmsford already has an asphalt plant and asked why there is a need for two plants within six miles of each other. “Our residents will receive no direct benefit from the construction of the plant and yet the com- munity is faced with a myriad of risks and concerns,” Jeannotte said. The 4-acre plant proposed by Newport Materials LLC would be located at 540 Groton Road in Westford, just over the line from Chelmsford. Douglas Deschenes, the attorney representing the plant applicants, said the facility would produce about 1,000 tons of asphalt per day, which would require an estimated 84 daily truck stops. Not included in that figure is the number of trucks needed to carry in raw material from a quarry next door, which would include eight truck- loads of new and 10 truckloads of recycled product, according to Deschenes. Deschenes said that a typical day would mean that the plant would open at 6 or 6:30 a.m. and manufacturing would begin. The facility would have the capability for storing 800 tons of material in silos on the site and the silos could be filled in 2 1/2 hours, Deschenes said. Westford Planning Board member Andrea Peraner-Sweet expressed her concern about the early hours when trucks would be competing with school busses. “If we start to see 10 trucks per hour at 7 a.m. then I am wondering {what happens} when the buses start running for the kids both in Chelmsford and Westford,” she said. Other board members expressed concern about dust, noise, traffic, storm water drainage and manufacturing hours. Deschenes said the plant would probably operate for 39 weeks of the year. “There is a seasonality to it. The typical season is from March 15 to December 15 or 39 weeks,” he said.
  19. 19. Letter from the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen to Westford town officials opposing the construction of an asphalt plant on Route 40 cc: Chelmsford Board of Selectmen Westford Board of Selectmen P. Cohen, Chelmsford Town Manager J. Ross, Westford Town Manager State Representatives: J. Arciero C. Atkins T. Golden D. Nangle State Senator Susan Fargo Atty. Deschenes
  20. 20. Shouting, name-calling overshadow Tsongas health-care forum By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent 08/09/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Emotions ran as high as the temperature inside and outside Town Hall auditorium yes- terday as more than 1,000 people converged on U.S. Rep Niki Tsongas' forum on health-care reform. Tsongas expressed hope for a "moderated discussion," which quickly dissolved as the room erupted into boos, jeers, and catcalls. Supporters tried to counter with applause and cheer, but could not compete with the decibel level of the plan's opponents. "We're turning into a Communist country," declared Jeri-an Butal of Methuen, saying that the Obama ad- ministration's plan will force the elderly into hospices rather than hospitals. "Don't pass this bill. Let us vote on it." Tsongas said that forcing elderly people into hospices is not part of the bill, but she said, "There comes a moment when people need to talk to their families and their doctors about their end-of-life choices." That drew boos, jeers and complaints that the government would make these decisions. Other opponents complained about illegal aliens, and said that people over 60 will have their health care rationed. Originally planned as a "Congress on the Corner" meeting at a local supermarket, the forum was moved to Town Hall as Tsongas and her staff saw what was happening at similar events across the country. Arrests and injuries have been reported when some members of Congress have held public meetings on health care. On Friday, one congressman reported receiving a death threat because he had not scheduled such a meeting with constituents. Yesterday, President Obama argued that Congress was close to finalizing "real health insurance reform" but, as he has for weeks now, he warned against listening to opponents who he said were spewing mis- leading information and outlandish claims to defeat "the best chance of reform we have ever had." Chelmsford Town Hall gym has a posted capacity of 220, and police were forced to keep hundreds outside in the parking lot. Some expressed outrage at being kept out, but police stood firmly in the doorway. The Democratic National Committee has charged the Republican Party with orchestrating disruptions at other forums on health care and bringing in nonresidents make noise. Some members of Tsongas's staff specu- lated that opposition was bused in from New York and Connecticut. But Brian Martin, Tsongas's chief of staff, downplayed that possibility. (Cars parked in the Town Hall lot carried Massachusetts plates.) Tsongas said the health-care plan allows everyone access to quality care. When more people are healthy, the cost of care goes down as well as insurance premiums. Opponents were in no mood to hear Tsongas explain any benefits of the legislation. Shouting to be heard over everyone, Larry Bavis of Billerica demanded, "Let us talk. Let us talk." Tsongas' explanation of the bill was cut short as people rushed the microphone to ask questions. Lee Libbey of Lowell asked about a provision of the bill that he said would give the government access to people's bank accounts through electronic transfers. Tsongas explained that the bill is in transition and ex- ists in "three different pieces" among committees. Language that is in the bill now could easily come out during the legislative process. Dorothy Kalil, also of Methuen, and Butal's mother, said, "I do not support this at all. There are not enough rich people in this country to pay for this bill." She complained that Tsongas receives top-notch health care as a member of Congress. Tsongas said that she does have a tremendous array of choices as a participant in the federal employee's health-care plan. "We're your employer. We don't have any choice," someone in the crowd shouted back. David Dubinsky of Chelmsford was cheered when he identified himself as a retired U.S. Marine, then
  21. 21. booed when he said he favored health-care reform. But Lena Perez of Haverhill was booed when she said she was a cancer survivor and then cheered when she said she opposed the bill. Perez was on the verge of tears several times while telling her story. "She's an actress," one bill supporter shouted. Paula Van Dever of Concord said, "The Veterans Administration saved my nephew's life and my family from bankruptcy. Why is a public option (for health care) any more controversial than that?" Mary Phennice of Haverhill, a mother of three sons, said her oldest son graduated from college and cannot find a job, so he has no health care, she said. The young man also has kidney disease. She asked Tsongas to consider situations like her son's. "He can go to work for McDonald's," one bill opponent shouted. Bavis, a retired firefighter, did not speak during the forum, but said later, "She's (Tsongas) not going to worry about my family. I'm going to worry about my family, my children, and my mother. My mother is 86 and she's here, too. And she's against this. She likes it the way it is." Two Chelmsford seniors interrupted to support Bavis' arguments, but declined to give their names. One of them said, "I won't give my name because of the Gestapo politics. The Obama administration will be inves- tigating us if we give our names." After the forum, Tsongas said, "I knew this would be passionate. I knew it would be a significant meeting. There's so much at stake, so it is very, very good to have these forums. It's a highly complicated bill and people are asking all of us in Congress to listen." Tsongas plans another forum in Hudson this week. She's asking her staff to find a venue large enough to handle another substantial crowd., a nonpartisan project of the St. Petersburg Times, is fact-checking statements by members of Congress, the White House, lobbyists and interest groups on the health-care reform bill. Go to CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO FOOTAGE Photos by Tom Christiano
  22. 22. Submitted by: Extra!!! Timothy McIlvenna - P1 Town Meeting Representative & Finance Committee 2010 Census: Why fill out the census form? Source: Extras!!! Every household in the country will receive a questionnaire in 2010. To ensure an accu- rate and fair count of all populations at all geographic levels in the nation, the Census Bureau needs you or someone in your household to respond to the census question- naire. CLICK HERE ************************************** Submitted by: Nick DeSilvio - School Committee AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF SCHOOL ADMINISTRATORS Exploring the Possibility and Potential for Pay for Performance in America’s Public Schools In response to a growing dialogue at the local, state and national levels around the idea of restructuring teacher pay to include performance measures, the American Association of School Administrators surveyed a randomly selected sample of its members to gauge their feedback and interest in pay‐for‐performance programs. AASA launched this survey in light of the renewed national conversation and feedback from AASA members who sense a shift in the tide of teacher compensation. For the purposes of this survey, AASA used the term "pay for performance” to represent a compensation system that uses financial incentives/motivation for employees. Pay-for-Performance Survey ( PDF ) - AASA's latest research explores CLICK HERE the possibility and potential for performance pay in schools. From ************************************** The last picture show -- at last? By Kevin Zimmerman July 29 2009 Nearly a decade after it sold its last ticket, the Route 3 Cinema should be gone within a few weeks. On Wednesday, Town Manager Paul Cohen said he expects the own- ers of the vacant hulk on Chelmsford Street to “come in very soon” for a demolition permit. Cohen said the ongoing Stop & Shop/Valley Properties lawsuit that has stalled construction of a grocery store on the theater lot continues in the courts. Although if the Appeals Court sides with the town and Stop & Shop, Valley Properties only remaining option would be the Massachusetts Supreme Court. In the meanwhile, trucks that spend most of the day pulling in and out of the parking lot are part of the finishing work to the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail, which begins almost directly behind the cinema site. An Aug. 29, ribbon cutting ceremony for the rail trail is scheduled to occur at 10 a.m. at the Old Town Hall in Chelmsford Center.
  23. 23. NBC DATELINE A Stranger in the House: ‘All I could see was his eyes’ Chelmsford's Shea McDonough describes the night killer Adam Leroy Lane broke into her bedroom on Pine Hill Road. CLICK HERE for VIDEO CLIP To watch the full DATELINE episode CLICK HERE ************************************** Water district wins $3.8M for solar panels By Rita Savard, 08/06/2009 CHELMSFORD -- The sun is shining down on the Chelmsford Water District, where $3,783,000 of federal stimulus money will help create one of the largest municipal solar projects on the East Coast. The Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection has awarded the town the funding to install a new photovoltaic system that will harness enough sun to power the entire Crooked Spring Water Treat- ment Plant during peak operating hours. The solar-panel system is being funded as part of the Green In- frastructure portion of the federal stimulus package. "This will have a huge impact on the district's carbon footprint, reducing it by 132 tons of CO2 emissions annually," said Todd Melanson, environmental compliance manager for the district. "That equates to 111 acres of forest saved annually." The solar project was part of an energy-management plan that the Chelmsford Water District had been pursuing for 18 months. The goal was to help the district gain control over skyrocketing utility costs. By partnering with energy experts at UMass Lowell, the Chelmsford Water District came up with a "shovel ready" plan using 2,300 solar panels to generate about 500 kilowatts of electricity, or 100 percent of the plant's peak operating power.
  24. 24. What will likely become a model project for other water districts in New England, Melanson said, received its biggest push from Chelmsford legislators. Representatives Jim Arciero of Westford, Cory Atkins of Con- cord, Tom Golden Jr. and David Nangle, both of Lowell, along with Sen. Susan Fargo of Lincoln, sent a let- ter to the DEP in support of the green project. "This is a great win for Chelmsford," said Arciero. "In these tough fiscal times, any additional funding that we can get for a worthy project like this is a tremendous asset to the town." Chelmsford's slice of the Green Infrastructure funds was part of the $17.2 million total received by Massa- chusetts for similar energy-saving projects. Ultimately, said Melanson, the goal of green projects is to pro- tect natural resources and deliver renewable energy at a significant cost savings. Besides powering the Crooked Spring treatment plant, the solar panels will also produce extra energy, which means an even higher savings on the water district's National Grid electricity costs. The primary goal of the district, said Melanson, is to reduce its energy reliance on National Grid by 25 percent. ************************************** You want fries with that office? From By Kevin Zimmerman 08/05/09 Apparently the key to Chelmsford’s future lies with lunch. During a recent joint session between the Board of Selectmen and the Master Plan Committee, the concept of allowing businesses aimed at workers along Billerica Road popped up more than once. “I’d like to see Route 129 zoned for restaurants,” said Selectman Sean Scanlon. Scanlon wasn’t allow in that assessment. Master Plan Committee Chairman Jim Lane said his board agrees Billerica Road from Route 3 to Commu- nity Tree should be rezoned to allow eateries that cater to the 9-to-5 crowd. The committee didn’t get into a lot of specifics about how many or what types of restaurants would work best there, Lane said Wednesday afternoon. “Probably a fast-food type,” said Lane. But that doesn’t mean strictly counter service, said Lane. He could envision chain restaurants, like a Chili’s or T.G.I. Friday’s, the kind of places that do quick table turns especially at lunchtime. When zoning along Billerica Road was changed to allow offices about a decade again, it stopped from allowing ancillary businesses such as restaurants because many believed that would hurt commercial developments in Central Square. That is no longer the thinking. “It is not going to pull business away from the Center,” said Town Manager Paul Cohen. “Those are two dif- ferent markets.” Cohen and Lane both said all you have to do is look at lunchtime traffic heading toward Billerica to know it’s time to make the zoning change. **************************************
  25. 25. From O rder u p? By Kevin Zimmerman 8/8/09 Although Master Plan Committee member Phil Eliopoulos announced a couple of weeks ago Honey Dew Donuts is expected to move into the old Skip's site on Chelmsford Street, as of Friday the company had not pulled a building or Board of Health permit. It's no secret that Ryan Development, which built the plaza, envisioned a coffee shop with drive-through window as a tenant. That was always part of the Planning Board discussions, but Ryan never mentioned which coffee shop it might pursue. There's been some activity in the empty store fronts of the strip mall, but Community Development Director Evan Belansky said those workers are most likely from Ryan and not a new tenant. ********************************* ********************************* Tom Christiano: My Woodstock Anniversary It was 40 years ago this coming weekend that some friends and I rented a big truck and drove to the Woodstock Music Festival in New York. A few of my friends are no longer with us, however they enter my thoughts often, especially at times like this, when a Woodstock anniversary looms. I am lucky to have sur- Tom vived the many hazards along the way during the past 40 years and I try to Christiano enjoy each day of health that I am lucky to experience. Gary, one of my best friends (before and after the Woodstock Festival) succumbed to Cancer at the age of thirty-nine. I was the best man at his wedding. I often think about the additional years I have had beyond Gary's 39, and how life is so uncertain and seemingly random. How some of us make it to sixty and beyond, and some of us don't make it to forty. There is no rhyme or just is what it is. I try to remember to Live every day with thankfulness. Another one of my Woodstock friends, George, also didn't make it to forty. He died a self inflicted death (from self immolation) after suffering from some serious problems for a number of years. I often think of George when I read about someone committing suicide. It is hard for most people to understand mental anguish unless they have experienced it themselves. I try to Live every day with compassion for those experiencing difficult lives. The following NY Times article, about the Woodstock Festival, was pretty close to how I remember it. I was lucky to have had the big truck to sleep in, as it rained a lot that weekend. There were about ten of us who rented the truck together. We weren't very well prepared...we just pretty much took the clothes on our backs, a few bucks in our pockets, and we took off for New York, from Waterbury, CT. The Woodstock tickets cost $18.00 for the entire weekend. When we arrived there on friday night, they had already stopped taking the tickets, as there were so many people there they just decided to open it up to everyone. I still have my Woodstock tickets, framed in my home office, as a reminder of that crazy weekend forty years ago. Everyone at Woodstock seemed to be peaceful and friendly. It was a true gathering of Love and Peace... as the old cliches remind us of how the young people then seemed to have ideals about compassion and building a better society.
  26. 26. It's true...many of us thought that way. Yes, it's also true that we were young, inexperienced and irre- sponsible.....what young person isn't? However, in those days we also thought about building a bet- ter, more compassionate where LOVE consciousness is the highest goal one could ever achieve, and inner PEACE the primary reason to study philosophies from around the world. I often wish I saw and heard more of that idealism from Tom Christiano today's younger generations.....though I'm sure there are millions of young Americans that feel the same way today as we did forty years ago. Youth and Idealism al- most always go together. Someone once said: "Idealism is the final luxury of youth." There is always a need for more LOVE and PEACE, it seems to me. Happy Anniversary! Tom ********************************* ********************************* Every Thursday 2PM to 6PM at the Chelmsford Common thru September 24th
  27. 27. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: Politics is the art of looking for trouble, find ing it e ve ryw her e, di agnos ing it i ncorre ct ly and applying the wrong reme dies . - Groucho Marx CLICK HERE If you have friends, family or neighbors who you think would like to be added to this news update list just have them drop us a line at In-Town Report is on Facebook CLICK HERE : For Back Issues of the In-Town Report CLICK HERE :