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In Town Report 2 26 2009


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In Town Report 2 26 2009

  1. 1. February 26TH, 2009
  2. 2. This Wee k ... The fundamental things apply, as time goes by A Cut above the rest? It Ain't Necessarily So Meet the Candidates Odds and Ends
  3. 3. Hot Time In The Old Town (Halls) Tonight! Housing Authority proposals move on to Town Meeting By Robert Moreau/Correspondent Chelmsford Independent Tue Feb 10, 2009 CHELMSFORD - Amid a public outpouring of frustration about the Chelmsford Housing Authority’s Town Hall devel- opment proposals for the old Town Halls, the Board of Selectmen voted to send the articles to special Town Meet- ing scheduled for March 9. The Old Town Hall renovation plan, which would turn the historic Chelmsford Center building into a 14-apartment complex with parking and community space, was the target of special attention by town residents Monday night, who filled the room and voiced concern over the recently announced plan. Bernie Ready stated his desire to see the Center building remain owned by the commu- Bernie Ready nity. “I’m a student of Chelmsford history, I believe in our town motto of ‘Let the children guard what the sires have won,’” he remarked. He emphasized the history of the building he referred to as “Chelmsford’s Faneuil Hall” and asked the board not to put the article onto the Town Meeting warrant. “This is what happens when good people try to do a bad thing,” he said of the plan. In contrast, Veterans Agent Regina Jackson said, “the Regina Chelmsford Housing Authority was certainly thinking. They were thinking Jackson about our future” by creating a proposal that would provide needed affordable housing while providing the unused Town Hall buildings with a new purpose. Jackson, who used to work in the building, said there were still issues such as lead paint. She suggested that the food pantry’s location should be moved to the West- lands Community Center, and that rent issues for the Chelmsford High School Per- forming Arts Center be resolved to accommodate arts groups. Susan Gates of Trotter Road argued that the Center Town Hall should not be considered Susan abandoned. “That building was in use until the first week of December,” she said. Gates “This was not an unused building.” She added community arts organizations have an interest in using the building. Gates mentioned that an e-mail address she created,, received several supportive messages soon after being set up, and that historic preservation restrictions from use of Massachusetts Historical Commission renovation money were an issue. After the residents’ comments during open session, Chelmsford Housing Authority Executive Director David Hedison addressed the meeting regarding the proposals. Hedison opened by saying “I don’t know what’s more difficult, hearing comments made by residents at the meeting or telling people on the organization’s waiting list no housing is available.” After the public debate and some discussion, the Board of Selectmen agreed D AV I D H E D I S O N to turn the proposals over to discussion at Town Meeting during its March 9 session. FOR THE COMPLETE STORY CLICK HERE 02-9-09 Chelmsford Board of Selectmen Open Session People comment on the Center and North Town Halls redevelopment plan by David Hedison and the Chelmsford Housing Authority CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO
  4. 4. Chelmsford puts housing issue to vote By Rita Savard, 02/10/2009 CHELMSFORD—It was a trip back in time. For some, it was the place where they watched their first movie. For others, it was where they cast their first vote, or where their parents got hitched. Whatever the memory, one thing was clear from the crowd packing inside the Board of Selectmen meeting room last night—they aren’t prepared to let go. Following a round of passionate pleas against converting two former town halls into affordable housing, the Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to send the issue to a Special Town Meeting vote on March 9. The proposal from the Chelmsford Housing Authority (CHA) to place affordable rental units inside the old Center and North town halls seeks to fulfill an overwhelming need for housing as nearly 1,400 Chelmsford residents remain on a wait list seven to 10 years long. But residents came out in full force last night, saying that using two of the town's most historic buildings is not the right move. “Once it’s gone, it’s gone forever,” said resident Dennis Ready. “I urge you not to do this.” D E NN I S READY By redeveloping the sites for housing, CHA Executive Director David Hedison said that more than $1 million of funding from state historical tax credits can be used to preserve the exterior of the buildings. CHA's proposal shows 17 studio apartments for the Old North Town Hall, and 10 one- bedroom units and four studios for the Center Town Hall, which was closed for the winter to save Chelmsford thousands of dollars in utility costs. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the proposal is something for the town to consider since renovating the town halls would be an enormous cost burden. The North Hall has sat empty for a generation, Cohen said. At the old Town Hall in Chelmsford Center, the cost of heat has been a big drain on town coffers. PA U L If the problem came down to money, the town could do what it has in the past, suggested COHEN Ready, and rent out office space on the first floor of the Town Hall in Chelmsford Center. C L ICK HERE “I have already been approached by people that would rent it,” he said. “It doesn’t FOR make sense when money gets tight to give away a million-dollar asset.” VIDEO Town Meeting representative Peggy Dunn said she’s tired of hearing that the Center hall was a “mothballed” building. In 1981, the Old Town Hall in Chelmsford Center was restored to its 1879 glory. “It took a lot of research, time and money just to get the chandeliers correct,” Ready added. G e orge Town Meeting representative George Dixon talked about his childhood, back when he could buy Dixon a bag of popcorn and catch a double feature for 25 cents at North Town Hall. Dixon urged select- S e le ct m a n men to give the issue more thought before taking any kind of vote on converting the historic C andidate buildings into apartments. C L ICK BILL D A LT O N HERE FOR Selectmen Bill Dalton, who supports the affordable-housing C L ICK VIDEO plan, said you couldn’t do one without the other, otherwise it H E R E FOR would divide the town. VIDEO Selectman Eric Dahlberg was opposed to the CHA proposals for both buildings, but, like the rest of the board, supported letting the town’s legislative body, Town Meeting representatives, debate the issue and take a vote. ERIC Hedison said nothing in his proposals is etched in stone, but to receive the state funding, he needs to DAHLBERG send in the CHA’s application by the end of May. “Regardless of whether these proposals go through or not, if they got people talking about how to use these buildings again then that’s a great thing,” Hedison said.
  5. 5. LOWELL SUN POLITICAL COLUMN 2-15-09 DIVIDE AND conquer. That's what some were shouting following last Monday’s Board of Selectmen meeting in Chelmsford, where a large crowd debated turning two former town halls into affordable housing. After many gave passionate arguments for keeping the old Town Hall in Chelmsford Center a community cultural spot, a few longtime North Chelmsford residents, including Town Meeting rep George Merrill, felt snubbed. “We’re part of this town, too,” Merrill said. The issue drove a wedge between a couple of board members, with Selectman Bill Dalton accusing Selectman Clare Jeannotte of favoring conversion for one building and not the other. “Don’t put words in my mouth Bill Dalton,” Jeannotte said. “I never said that and I don’t know how you think you know what I feel.” Dalton, who supports the project, said you have to convert both buildings or scrap the whole proposal. He has been accused of being biased toward the proposal, because his wife works for the Chelmsford Housing Authority. Dalton has denied the accusation, and the state Ethics Commission reported there was no conflict of interest for Dalton to vote. Selectmen voted unanimously to let Town Meeting decide the issue. The redevelopment of the old Town Halls continues to be the hot topic on the local cable talk shows. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF TOWN HALL SEGMENT POLITICALLY INCORRECT 2-10-09 The Panelists discuss the redevelopment proposal for the two Town Halls Panelists include: • Colleen Stansfield Planning Board Member & Candidate • Bernie Ready Town Meeting representative Candidate—Precinct 7 • Danielle Evans Town Meeting representative Candidate—Precinct 9 • Al Thomas Town Meeting representative Candidate—Precinct 5 CLICK HERE FOR THE COMPLETE POLITICALLY INCORRECT SHOW FROM 2-10-09 CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO OF TOWN HALL SEGMENT Town Talk with Dennis Ready 2-12-09 The Topic: The Town Halls conversion into Affordable housing. Guests include Bernie Ready and Shelly Constantino
  6. 6. North pushes to save its Town Hall By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Thu Feb 19, 2009 Chelmsford—North Chelmsford resident Matt Sheehan thinks the plan to turn the two old Town Halls into housing provides a way to end the us-against-them squabbling in the community. “We are looking to turn the page on the whole Hatfield vs. McCoy thing,” said Sheehan. With less than three weeks before Town Meeting votes on the Chelmsford Housing Authority’s proposal to convert the buildings into affordable rental units, Sheehan has helped to organize North residents to stop the plan. “There will be two separate votes so we need two different groups working on it,” said Shelley Costantino. “But we oppose both of them being converted into housing. Both of them are historic buildings.” Another group of residents spearheaded by Bernie Ready and Peggy Dunn is already at work to save the building in the Center. Besides planning group meetings and petition drives, Sheehan said organizers need to make sure residents and Town Meeting representatives understand the differences between the perception and reality surround- ing the North Town Hall. “There is a perpetual myth about this building that nothing has been done with it during the last 20 years,” said Sheehan. That was right around the time Washington Street resident Laura Lee moved to town. She said over the last two decades, there have been numerous Chelmsford Town Halls on Local Cable attempts to renovate the North Town Hall and restore it to a Show quot;People & Placesquot; community center. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO About 10 years ago, rehabilitation work including the removal of the inside walls started, using donated materials and free labor from Middlesex County House of Corrections, said Lee. “It was all going to be at a minimum cost to the town,” said Lee. “There has been continual work as town funds allowed.” Although the walls are stripped to the studs, the building is ready for electrical and plumbing upgrades. The group understands those upgrades cost money but point out state funding is not limited to the Chelmsford Housing Authority. Community Preservation Funds could be utilized to cover costs, said Costantino. Plenty of residents can also provide legal, architectural, fundraising and organizational skills toward the group effort. “There is somebody in-house who can do whatever pro bono,” said Karen Dussourd. “We need to think outside the box and not get caught up in the politics so we can move forward.” Although the North group has secured enough private donations to keep the heat and electricity operating for the next two years, part of moving ahead entails figuring out a way to make the buildings self-sufficient. “There are a lot of ideas out there,” said Costantino. “But one of the biggest concerns is that this is being rushed through. This idea should be a much more thoughtful process. Let’s put the brakes on this process.” Once the housing approval process slows down or even stops, residents who want to see both buildings preserved can take their time and come up with a plan to accomplish that, said Dussourd. “We are one town and should work together,” said Dussourd. “What a powerful place Chelmsford would be if we unite. Just look at all we could do.” Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at
  7. 7. Chelmsford Budget Woes and the *************************************** Schools told to cut more By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Thu Feb 12, 2009 Chelmsford—Town Manager Paul Cohen presented a preliminary fiscal 2010 budget to the Board of Selectmen Monday, which would cut municipal spending by $97,885 and the school depart- ment’s funding by more than $1.5 million. Paul Cohen Across the board, most line items will be slashed anywhere from 1.48 percent to 44.71 percent in 2010. The only increases will be in Snow and Ice Removal, which Cohen proposes in- creasing 36.04 percent up to $1.1 million for 2010; Nashoba Valley Technical High School Assessment, which would go up 11.01 percent; Non-excluded debt, which would increase by 7.49 percent; Benefits and Insurance, scheduled to increase by 5.48 percent and the Cemetery Commission’s personnel budget, slated to go up 3.03 percent. Although these cuts would not go into effect until July 1, Town Meeting will have to vote on pro- posed reductions for fiscal 2009 in order to keep the town’s budget balanced. Cohen had recommended dipping into the town’s Stabilization Fund for an additional $1.5 million to cover fiscal 2009 expenses, but the selectmen would like to see a smaller number presented to Town Meeting in March. School Committee members have offered $487,000 in cuts to its current budget but will have to look again for additional savings. Philip Eliopoulos “We have to ask them to do better,” said Board of Selectmen Chairman Phil Eliopoulos. “The superintendent found an additional $100,000 in cuts that could be made and the School Committee said no. That is not a good message to send.” School Superintendent Donald Yeoman is on vacation this week and could not be reached for comment. Because the school department will need to reduce its budget by more than $1.5 million next year, Cohen and the selectmen agreed some of those cuts should be made now. “They need to follow the example of the town manager and bring forward every possible cut they can make in 2010 and make it now,” said Eliopoulos. “Or Paul (Cohen) will set the number.”
  8. 8. Selectman Eric Dahlberg questioned some of the school’s first round of cuts, such Eric as no longer providing caps and gowns to faculty for the graduation ceremony. Dahlberg “That’s like one-thousandth of their budget,” said Dahlberg. “The message has been laid out and they may not agree but have to understand. Develop a budget and rollback what you can.” Although Selectman Clare Jeannotte agreed the school budget for this year needs to be reduced, she wants the School Committee to make the decision on where and how much to cut. “I don’t want them to feel they have to take classroom teachers out in the middle of the year,” she said. “I’d much rather not say, ‘Here’s our number, hit it.’” Jeannotte made a motion that Cohen “should communicate with the School Committee to approach potential cuts for fiscal year 2009 in the same Clare Jeannotte methodology that the town has used.” The Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to support the motion. “Sharpen your pencils, $487,000 is not going to do it,” said Eliopoulos. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at N a s h o b a Va l l e y Te c h n i c a l H . S . e y e s 3 percent budget hike for FY10 The Lowell Sun 02/19/2009 By Pierre Comtois WESTFORD—The superintendent of Nashoba Valley Technical High School is seek- ing a 3 percent budget increase for the school for next year. Klimkiewicz has submitted a budget of $10.2 million, up from the current budget of $9.9 million. Individual assessments for each of the school’s member towns for fiscal year 2010 are estimated at: $1,790,816 for Chelmsford, which accounts for 25 percent of the student body; $1,032,171 for Pepperell (23 percent); $901,276 for Townsend (20 percent); $591,918 for Westford (10 percent); $412,155 for Shirley (8.3 percent); $495,948 for Littleton (7.2 percent); and $469,457 for Groton (7.2 percent). Klimkiewicz told committee members recently that she had already contacted dis- trict towns’ managers to inform them of the preliminary budget numbers and “re- ceived very positive responses.” Klimkiewicz said she will hold a breakfast for town officials Friday, Feb. 27, followed by a public hearing on the budget to be held with the School Committee on March 10. For the whole story ...
  9. 9. Chelmsford school board cuts another $89G, eliminating jobs By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent Posted: 02/25/2009 CHELMSFORD -- A reluctant School Committee has added another $89,000 in cuts to its current budget, bringing the total of midyear reductions to $591,000 and eliminating 16 School Department employees. After slashing the 2009 budget at the board's last meeting, Superintendent of Schools Don - ald Yeoman met with Town Manager Paul Cohen and learned that the town needed deeper cuts. The cuts he proposed last night had been on next year's list for reductions. The committee voted 4-1 to approve the cuts, which include eliminating library aides, a Chelmsford High School secretary, two middle-school secretaries and two nurses. The board also eliminated after-school detention, directed the removal of kitchen appliances from classrooms and ended the purchase of bottled water. More austerity will be required in the fiscal year 2010 budget, when the department faces a $2.9 million deficit, owing in part to step increases spelled out in the teachers' union contract. Yeoman and others in the school administration began planning for midyear cuts in the fis - cal year 2009 budget last July. After the town failed to override Proposition 2 1/2, the School Department closed the Westlands School and eliminated 44 jobs in the 2008-2009 school year. quot; The failed override made me a believer, quot; Yeoman said. When he moved to Massachusetts, he thought the schools would be adequately funded. Instead, he found a system that allows revenues to go up and down without much predictability. quot;It is most painful for us to bring this to you tonight,quot; Yeoman told the Dr. Donald committee. quot;But now we are told we need to cut some more. I hope Yeoman this amount is enough for now. quot; Remember that none of us wants to make these cuts, quot; he added. quot; Remember that none of us believes these cuts are good for children .quot; Every town department has to make cuts, however. The budget crisis is affecting the Fire Department, snowplowing operations and other town functions. Angelo Taranto School Committee member Angelo Taranto said quot; an argument can be made to preserve every single one of these cuts and the potential im - pact on the schools. quot; One area that received particular attention involved a proposal to further defer replacing
  10. 10. outdated textbooks. This $50,000 cut was actually approved at the last Dr. Karen meeting, but came up again as Assistant Superintendent of Schools Karen Mazza Mazza described the effects it will have. In prior years, the School Committee had asked her to institute a five-year cycle of replenishing texts. But it will now take two years to purchase a year's worth of texts, thus effectively putting the town on a 10-year cycle. She related a recent request from the English coordinator at Chelmsford High School to purchase 70 new literature anthologies for the ninth grade. That request was cut to 35 new anthologies to serve 400 high-school freshmen. The last time any anthology was purchased was 1985. The purchase of new science texts for fifth-graders will be postponed despite concerns about MCAS testing results in that subject. Katherine Duffett School Committee member Kathy Duffet said her eighth-grade daughter recently asked her to guess the age of the book she received as her class was reading Johnny Tremaine. Duffet was surprised to learn that her daughter's book had been in use since at least 1974. It might have been in use for many more years, but signouts prior to 1974 were covered up and taped over. Kevin Porter Calling the textbook situation quot; atrocious and it has been for years, quot; committee member Kevin Porter made a motion to reconsider the earlier vote. The motion was defeated. Duffet argued, quot; Our goal has to be to improve education, but in this situation we also have to mitigate the impact on students. We're in a unique economic situation. These cuts are what we need to do in this crisis. quot; Evelyn Thoren Committee member Evelyn Thoren asked the board to consider going to taxpayers for targeted, one-time tax increases to help with textbooks and similar well-defined objectives. quot; People vetoed the override because they felt they had no control over where the money would go, quot; she said. Taranto agreed. quot; We have to starting thinking of different avenues quot; to solve the budget crisis,quot; he said. quot; We're not getting a ray of hope from the Legislature. quot; Taranto also said that a 190-page document now circulating at the Statehouse indicates that any stimulus money coming to school districts will go toward construction and not quot; coming into the classrooms .quot; _________________________________________________________________________________ To see the DRAFT: FY 2010 POTENTIAL BUDGET REDUCTIONS CLICK HERE
  11. 11. Chelmsford and the 40B Law 40B = Affordability ? It Ain't Necessarily So Chelmsford mailing fuels housing debate By Rita Savard, 02/22/2009 CHELMSFORD— A mailing raising questions about the state's 40B affordable housing laws has fired up the six-man race for two open Board of Selectmen seats, The letter that landed in nearly 14,000 mailboxes calls on residents to give selectmen an ultimatum: Tell Town Manager Paul Cohen to stop Chapter 40B projects, “or find a new town manager that has the guts and knowledge to stand up to the development industry.” Sent by the non-profit group Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative, the mailing inspired two candidates to run in this year's selectmen's race. But as building projects grind to a halt in Chelmsford, town officials say the mailing is driven more by politics than the truth. “Look around Chelmsford,” said Cohen. “How many 40B projects do you see going on? There aren’t any.” Cohen said the mailing, which included a map of at least six 40B projects slated for Chelmsford, contains many inaccuracies. First is the number of “planned” projects listed in the mailing. The letter blasts Cohen and Community Development Director Evan Belansky for “rubber stamping” several projects. But a town manager has no such authority. That task falls in the hands of the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals. And since becoming town manager two years ago, Cohen said only one 40B has been approved—a 48-unit affordable housing project on Riverneck Road that was tied up for six years as the town locked horns with developers. Hillside Gardens, another 40B on Boston Road, was also approved after years of litigation but remains on hold following an appeal. “The approval (of the Riverneck Road 40B) was the result of a remand by the court,” Cohen said. “The town has fought many proposals to try and make the best of a bad situation. In the end, the town has to abide by the law.” Fred Marcks, spokesman for Slow Growth, said the only way a “flawed” law will change is if town officials put more pressure on Beacon Hill. Marcks' mailing prompted residents Steven Roberts and Jim Murray to jump into the selectmen's race. “The letter brought more awareness on the issue,” said Roberts. “But I don’t think it was fair to single out Paul and Evan.” Marcks, who helped craft the Chelmsford mailing, said he realizes that it may make some public officials uncomfortable, but it was a reaction following two years of frustration over a lack of action. In the past, Marcks has challenged the selectmen to follow in the footsteps of selectmen in Norwell. Calling 40B a “pro-developer, anti-community character, anti-home-rule weapon,” Norwell selectmen sent a letter to Gov. Deval Patrick last year asking him to intervene on 40B practices. vThe selectmen can virtually do whatever they want,” Marcks said. “Whether it will be upheld in the end is another story. The point is sending an assertive message to lawmakers that it’s time to change a law that is clearly broken.”
  12. 12. Slow Growth has asked town officials to adopt a policy demanding that 40B developers make 75 per- cent of the units in a project affordable, instead of the state-mandated 25 percent minimum. If that is not feasible for developers, than Marcks suggests town officials require they downsize the total number of units. “We have 40Bs everywhere, yet there’s a huge need for affordable housing,” Marcks said. “This is not right, we have to stand up and demand for something more.” Selectman Clare Jeannotte agrees that the state’s affordable-housing law needs changing. She even signed on in support of Slow Growth’s earlier goals for sustainable development. But Jeannotte said she was shocked when she found her signature from that earlier petition attached to the recent mailing slamming Cohen and Belansky. “Before this mailer went out, I supported changing 40B,” Jeannotte said. “And I still support changing 40B, but the mailing makes me look at this group very differently. What they sent out was fear tactics, supported by a lot of false information.” Jeannotte said the closing of a fire station and an elementary school last year had nothing to do with 40B, as the mailing suggests. She also questions the number of planned projects listed on the mailer. Marcks confirmed that two projects listed on a map were only parcels hat developers had eyed in the past—not actual 40Bs in the works. The controversial mailer also refers to selectmen candidate Donald Van Dyne as a “40B developer.” Van Dyne, a property investment manager, worked on the Village of Glen Isle, a 40B in Chelmsford. “You didn’t hear about that project because no one complained about it,” said Van Dyne, agreeing that the law needs to be repealed. “It was a good project that had support from abutters and opened up affordable units to teachers, firefighters and police officer who live and work in Chelmsford.” Despite backlash from officials, Marcks said Slow Growth stands by every statement in the mailing as fact. “People can get mad at us for asserting that officials aren't doing their job,” he said. “Or they can get mad at the officials for not doing their job.” Lowell Sun Political Column 02-22-09 WANTED: CANDIDATES for Slow Growth. Election season is heating up in Chelmsford, with affordable housing taking center stage. A controversial mailing blasting Town Manager Paul Cohen and Commu- nity Development Director Evan Belansky for “rubber stamping” 40B affordable-housing proposals had officials fuming last week. Cohen, who said town managers have no authority in approving 40Bs, dis- missed the mail from Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative as “misleading, political propaganda.” The mailer told voters to give selectmen an ultimatum: Tell Cohen to stand up against developers, or hire a new town manager with guts. Ouch! In the mailer, Slow Growth also asked potential candidates concerned about stopping undesired growth to contact their organization. But Slow Growth spokesman Fred Marcks told The Column that the organization has no intention of supporting a candidate. “We're nonprofit, so we won't do that,” he said. “The most we would ever do is send out a flier encouraging people to vote. Beyond that we’re not going to do more.” Last Tuesday, Marcks showed his lack of support by helping Steve Roberts collect the 50 signatures needed for Roberts to become a contender in this year's race for Board of Selectmen.
  13. 13. CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO SEGMENT Chelmsford selectmen bite back on 40B letter By Rita Savard, 02/24/2009 CHELMSFORD -- A mass mailing that accused town officials of failing to take hard action against the state's 40B af- fordable-housing law sparked friction at last night's selectmen's meeting. Calling it a distortion of facts, selectmen took turns giving their view on the controversial letter that landed in about 14,000 mailboxes two weeks ago, and lit up phone lines at Town Hall. But when selectmen told the authors of the letter that they could not respond to comments, voices rose and tem- pers flared. quot;I think it's despicable,quot; said Selectman Bill Dalton. quot;There's lies all through their brochures. They went after the town manager, who has nothing to do with 40Bs.quot; The letter was sent out by a nonprofit group for sustainable development, Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative (SGI). It was a reaction following two years of pleas for help that fell on deaf ears, said Fred Marcks, the Director of SGI. It blasts Town Manager Paul Cohen and Community Development Director Evan Belansky for allegedly quot;rubber stampingquot; 40B projects, and calls on residents to give selectmen an ultimatum: Tell Cohen to stop Chapter 40B projects, quot;or find a new town manager that has the guts and knowledge to stand up to the development industry.quot; But a frustrated Board of Selectmen said the letter painted a picture that was far from the truth. Selectmen Chairman Philip Eliopoulos said the mailing neglected to point out what town officials have been doing tochange a law that favors builders more than cities and towns. The state's 40B law gives developers the power to override zoning rules in towns where less than 10 percent of af- fordable housing meets federal affordability requirements. If a developer plans to make 20 percent of his project meet state guidelines for affordability, permission to build can be granted by the state -- even if the town objects to the project. Eliopoulos talked about the hundreds of thousands of dollars that the town has spent while fighting to get large projects scaled back, and give Chelmsford more power over the process. quot;We've fought projects on inception and on completion,quot; he said, adding that the town is currently tied up in lawsuits over two built 40B projects where officials believe developers have pocketed excess profits. After Dalton called the authors of the letter quot;liars,quot; the two men behind the mailing, Marcks and Assistant Director of SGI Craig Chemaly, asked for an opportunity to respond. Not wanting to engage in a full-blown debate, the board denied Marcks and Chemaly any air time, but invited them to return to the next meeting and speak during open session. Marcks, who said all of SGI's data comes from the state Department of Housing and Community Development, still attempted to address some of the board's comments until Dalton shouted out: quot;I don't know what other lies they'll come up with and I don't want to hear it.quot; After the meeting, Marcks and Chemaly said they felt stonewalled, and stand by their position that the board has done nothing concrete to stop more 40Bs from going up in Chelmsford. Chelmsford, they said, has the most 40B developments of any community east of Interstate 495. SGI said it has asked town officials to create a 40B advisory committee, and to adopt a policy demanding that 40B developers make 75 percent of the units in a project affordable, instead of the state-mandated 25 percent mini- mum. If that is not feasible for developers, then Marcks suggests town officials require they downsize the total num- ber of units. Town officials said they can fight big developers, but at the end of the day, they are bound by the law. quot;This is why residents are upset,quot; Chemaly said. quot;The current board, for the most part, is fundamentally out of touch with the citizens of Chelmsford and what they want.quot;
  14. 14. Fireworks at selectmen's meeting over Slow Growth letter By Robert Moreau/Chelmsford Independent Correspondent Tue Feb 24, 2009 Chelmsford - A controversial letter recently mailed to residents from the Chelmsford Slow Growth Initiative (SGI) produced a flare-up at the Board of Selectmen’s Feb. 23 meeting, as members sought to rebut its claims that town officials were not making any progress in working to curb 40B projects. In the letter, SGI writes, “Time and again, Town Manager Paul Cohen and his appointed Development Director Evan Belansky have demonstrated a complete unwillingness to take the actions necessary to protect our town from Chap- ter 40B. Perhaps even more disturbing, Cohen continues to ignore feedback from residents.” “It was despicable, what they did,” said Selectman Bill Dalton, voicing anger of the letter’s mentioning of Cohen, who, “has nothing to do with 40B. They said we have six [40B] projects…I don’t know what they are.” Dalton said that he tried to look on the group’s Web site and could not figure out who was behind the organization, and that he felt the group could not be considered credible. Selectman Clare Jeannotte said she was surprised to see her name on the letter as a sponsor, and that she did not support what it said. She explained that she signed a 40B petition two years ago by the Slow Growth Initiative, and that was what led to her being listed. Selectman Eric Dahlberg said that he felt “any sane or literate person” would not support 40B, but “the [letter’s] tone was way over the top.” Chairman Phil Eliopoulos addressed those in attendance and watching on television about actions he said the board had taken to stop 40B development, while calling the letter’s claims “unfortunate.” Eliopoulos explained “some of the things” the board has done during his 12-year tenure, including supporting failed legislation to grant increased local control over certain types of 40B projects and counting the Chelmsford Mobile Home Park towards affordable housing. Eliopoulos also mentioned that the town has spent over $100,000 fighting the Riverneck Road development, which was passed with compromise after a court remand, and was cur- rently fighting two 40B development proposals. He said he felt that the board “was at the forefront” of fighting 40B projects. Dalton then continued, saying that he had heard from other people who found their names attached to the letter but did not agree to its content. The discussion brought an attempt at a response by SGI Director Fred Marcks and Assistant Director Craig Chemaly, who were in attendance at the meeting. They said Dalton’s remarks approached “slander” and wanted to discuss the letter and board remarks. Dalton stated that he did not care to hear what the two had to say, and Eliopoulos tried to calm the escalating tensions by en- couraging them to come to Open Forum at the next meeting and work to give a presentation to the new board after the election. They then said they wanted it in the record that SGI tried to respond to the comments but were unable to. Outside the meeting, after the chaotic scene played out, Marcks and Chemaly voiced shock, stating that they did not want to bring up the issue of the letter in open session and “did not know if it would be addressed.” Marcks defended the letter, stating that “we take care to make letters based on facts” and that attempts by the or- ganization to suggest proactive strategies including creating an advisory body to the Board were consistently ig- nored. “This is why nothing has happened in two years,” Marcks stated. Regarding Dalton’s statement about not knowing who runs SGI, Marcks said that the Slow Growth Initiative is a statewide nonprofit. “We’re not some secret society. We’re not The Skulls,” he said. Chemaly said that “we had 50 responses overwhelmingly in support of slow growth” soon after the letter’s publica- tion, and that the only criticism he had received were from public officials. He also said he wanted to discuss what SGI should do regarding the invitation to participate in open session during the next meeting, given the tension.
  15. 15. Chelmsford ELECTION SECTION and the FYI: Nicholas DeSilvio from School Committee Candidate • 13 year resident of Chelmsford Nicholas DeSilvio • Happily Married, wife is Christine (employee of Chelmsford school system) • Proud father of 5 children, Frank (14), Nicholas (12), KristieAnn (11), Dominic (9), and Katelyn (7) all students of Chelmsford school system. • Active member of St. Mary's parish • Member of the Knights of Columbus (past Treasure r for 3 years) • Citizen representative for the School Building Committee • I have been coaching youth sports (baseball, basketball, and football) for 8 years • Grew up in New York City and educated in Catholic Schools • Attended Daniel Webster College, BS Business Management with a minor in aviation operations • Managing partner for Protium Technologies, Inc. (Vice President of Business Development) • 25 year experience in the private sector managing and directing different organizations both union and non-union. • Experience in negotiating contracts and organizational restructuring. • I inherently analyze ever ything, I tr y to gather as much information as possible and draw a logical solution. Nick DeSilvio sets his sights on the schools By Kevin Zimmerman/Chelmsford Independent Staff Writer Wed Feb 18, 2009 Chelmsford—School Committee candidate Nick DeSilvio believes it’s time to bring a bit of business thinking to the job of educating Chelmsford students. Instead of cutting personnel as a first option, DeSilvio would like to see the School Committee and ad- ministration try something new. “Their answer to everything is to lay people off. They keep doing things the same way and expect differ- ent results,” said DeSilvio, 48. “There needs to be a restructuring of the organization,” As the sole candidate for an open seat, the job is DeSilvio’s, but he is still wading his way through school administration policies and procedures and has already developed a money-saving strategy he hopes to implement. “It’s a three-phase approach,” said DeSilvio. “I’d like to see if there is some way the (union) step and grade program could be put on hold for at least one year.” Contractual increases cost the town about $1.75 million a year, said DeSilvio. Because the teacher con- tracts expire on June 30, he would encourage talks to put those programs on hold until the current eco- nomic situation improves. And, because he understands union employees shouldn’t be the only ones to sacrifice, DeSilvio would implement a salary freeze for non-union workers after requiring they each take a 5 percent pay cut.
  16. 16. “You have to lead from the front,” said DeSilvio. “How as a leader can you lay off dozens of people while you take a 3 percent increase? How can you honestly go in front of them?” DeSilvio would bring what he calls a business approach to the schools. As one of the founders and a current vice president of a communications technology company, DeSilvio said he expects accountability across the board. “I demand it from myself and my family,” he said. “And I’ll demand it from the school administration. You can’t go to the town and ask for money unless you can show the money they gave you in the past was spent correctly and wisely.” He points to the recent School Building Committee, where he served as a citizen representative, as an example of the right way to handle the town’s money. “We hit the budget and got $17 million back,” he said. “Now we could say, ‘The last time you gave me $32 million, I spent it correctly and didn’t go over budget, and I got you $17 million back.'” DeSilvio said he has a vested interest in seeing the schools succeed. He and his wife Christine, who works at McCarthy Middle, have five children in the system — three at Parker Middle and two at Byam Elementary schools. And although he believes his children are getting a good education, he wants see if there are other ways to ensure they continue to receive a quality teaching while saving the town money. “I don’t have all the answers and I’m going to ask a lot of stupid questions,” said DeSilvio. “But I’m going to be brutally honest with you. Actually that’s the best and worst thing you’re going to get from me.” Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at Five pull papers for selectmen spots By Kevin Zimmerman/Chelmsford Independent Staff Writer Thu Feb 12, 2009 Chelmsford—With less than a week before nomination papers are due, at least one town-wide office will be a race in April. Sean Scanlon, of 11 Sierra Drive, George Dixon Jr., of 15 Edgelawn Ave., and John Wadman, 23 Perham St., have all pulled papers for the two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. “I know the town is going through hardships and when I saw two vacancies and only two candidates running, I decided to run,” said Scanlon. “I wanted to give the people of the town more of a choice.” Scanlon, 28, grew up in Chelmsford and graduated from CHS. After earning a Sean degree in history from UMass-Amherst he was commissioned into the U. S. Air Scanlon Force. While on active duty, he served a six-month stint in Afghanistan. He is still currently a captain in the Air Force Reserve. And he works as a civilian for the Department of Defense at Hanscom. “I’m young but I have relatively unique experiences in leadership positions,” said Scanlon. He and his wife Nancy moved to town in 2006. For Sean it was a homecoming. “I grew up in town and went through the school system,” he said. “I understand that part of it. But I’m still sort of an outsider so I have a fresh perspective too.”
  17. 17. Scanlon is currently a member of the Chelmsford Cultural Council. In May, Scanlon was one of eight candidates to apply for an open Planning Board alternate position. During his interview with that board, he said he had grown up in Chelmsford and returned to raise a family. He served five years in the Air Force, where he was involved in research and analysis. “I’m looking for a way to help out the community,” he said in May. George Although already on a town board, Dixon believes there is still more he can do for Dixon Chelmsford. “I have a passion for the town and a passion for the people,” said Dixon. “I think I can make a difference.” Dixon currently serves as a member of the Sewer Commission, a position to which he was appointed about four months ago. Wadman could not be reached for comment on Thursday when he pulled papers. With the additional of Dixon, Scanlon and Wadman the Board of Selectmen’s race has five potential candidates for the two open seats. The Town Clerk’s Office has certified the nomination papers from Finance Committee member Donald Van Dyne of Brentwood Road and Matthew Hanson of Wedgewood Drive and their names will appear on the April 7 ballot. The clerk’s office has also certified the nomination papers of Coach Road resident Nicholas A. DeSilvio who became the first person to vie for the School Committee seated being vacated by current Chair- man Christina Walsh. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at Bill Dalton pulls nomination papers By Kevin Zimmerman/Chelmsford Independent Staff Writer Fri Feb 13, 2009 Chelmsford - Selectman Bill Dalton’s name will appear on the April 7 ballot, just not where voters might expect to find it. On Friday, Dalton pulled papers to run for the Sewer Commission. “I have a hard time seeing things go unfilled,” said Dalton. “I’m just going to put my name out there. I just wanted to see the slot filled.” Bill Sewer Commissioner George Dixon Jr. withdrew his name from that Dalton race once he decided to run for Board of Selectmen. If elected, Dalton would be one of the last commissioners as the entire town is expected to have sewer lines installed within the next two years. At that point, running the sewer system will revert to the Department of Public Works. Last November, Dalton announced he would not seek reelection to the seat he has held since 1994. Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at
  18. 18. Scramble on for Chelmsford seats By Rita Savard, 02/18/2009 CHELMSFORD—Concerns about a tanked economy, affordable housing and public safety led to a last-minute election scramble yesterday, creating a six-way race for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen. Political newcomers Steven Roberts and Jim Murray, beat the 5 p.m. filing deadline by minutes. Roberts took out nomination papers yesterday morning, and spent his day collecting signatures from voters at the library and local grocery stores. He said he decided to run after receiving a letter from the anti-40B group, Steve Roberts Slow Growth Initiative. The mailer talked about more than 20 affordable- housing developments in the pipeline for Chelmsford, which would spike the town’s population in the wake of a shuttered fire station and elementary school. vWith all the cuts the town has had to make, we need to look at preserving public safety and education as best we can,” said Roberts, of 11 Crooked Springs Road, a software engineer who turns 30 on Saturday. “There’s no question the town needs affordable housing, but not in the form of big developments that only really provide af- fordable housing for a handful.” Roberts moved to Chelmsford with his fiancée in 2007. He said he has a vested interest in Chelmsford’s future because he plans to raise a family there. He has volunteered with the nonprofit group Engineers Without Borders, with whom he traveled to southeast India to help tsunami victims rebuild their shattered communities. Murray, a longshoreman and 30-year Chelmsford resident, said he is run- ning for one reason: big housing developments. Jim Murray “I want to nail down the 40B problem,” said Murray, 60, of 331 Boston Road. “That’s the only thing I'm interested in.” Murray ran for the Board of Library Trustees in 1994, but lost the race. George Dixon Jr., 62, withdrew his name from the Sewer Commission race to run for selectman. “The biggest problem the town is facing is a budget problem and the only people that can help us is Beacon Hill,” said Dixon. “I'm the only candidate with connections on Beacon Hill. I can get a foot in the door.” Dixon, of 15 Edgelawn Ave., is a nine-year Town Meeting representative, and has served on several town committees, including the Superintendent Search Committee. He also spear- headed the effort to build the town's Vietnam War memorial in North Chelmsford. Sean Scanlon, 28, of 11 Sierra Drive, said a military background—he spent six months in Afghanistan with the U.S. Air Force—gives him a different perspective. The Chelmsford High graduate has also lived out of state, and in England for a couple of years. “My goal is to really examine what the town can slash before digging any deeper into the essen- tial functions of government, which I consider to be public safety and education,” Scanlon said.
  19. 19. Getting a jump-start were candidates Matt Hanson and Donald VanDyne. Hanson, 20, of 16 Wedgewood Drive, announced plans to run in September. A graduate of Chelmsford public schools, Hanson said improving education tops his priority list. He was elected as a Town Meeting representative for Precinct 5 this year. Hanson, who will turn 21 after the April 7 town election, said he plans to pursue a master's de- gree next fall. VanDyne, 43, of 29 Brentwood Ave., is the vice chairman of the Finance Committee and has at- tended selectmen meetings regularly for a few years. He has said his financial background will be an asset. The Board of Selectmen's veteran members, Bill Dalton and Phil Eliopoulos, are not seeking re- election. Dalton is the lone candidate for a three-year seat on the Sewer Commission. The com- mission will dissolve once the entire town has sewer lines, during the next two years. The sewer system will fall under the authority of the Department of Public Works. There are no contested races in the town's 10 other openings for public office, including School Committee, which only drew one candidate, Nicholas DeSilvio, for a single three-year seat. Meet the Candidates The Board of Selectmen meeting 02/23/09 Click Here for Video
  20. 20. Q&A with the Selectmen Candidates ***************************************** QUESTIONS: 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? Please fully explain your answer. 2. September 1, 2009 is the first legal opportunity to attempt another citizen referendum on repealing Chapter 40B since it was last attempted in the fall of 2007. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? Please fully explain your answers (responses from candidates in order as received) Candidate for Board of Selectmen George Dixon Jr. 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? No, 40B does not work as intended. It should be called “no builder left behind.” It holds a gun to each town's head. It eliminates all the town’s regulations, not just density, setbacks, and height requirements. 40B doesn’t include many real affordable type of developments such as mobil parks! 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? YES. What is needed is a Law that allows the towns to zone areas that would work for affordable housing. Any project then should be 100 % affordable, therefore making a real contribution to the re- quired 10%. They should all be affordable units!
  21. 21. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Jim Murray 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? For the record, I do not oppose housing assistance for our single parents, those with two jobs or two incomes who do not qualify under the guidelines of 40B or any other deserving member of our community. What I do have a major problem with is developers targeting our town for projects they know will be approved in part due to the lack of control exercised by certain town officials and our ZBA, people who seem to have no regard to the costs of services and infrastructure these projects will generate ($20K - $80K per unit). We simply can’t afford it. One has to ask why Chelmsford has the largest number of 40B projects in the eastern half of the state, with no end in sight. 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? I will absolutely sign a petition and vote to repeal (or amend) the 40B law. If I am placed on the ballot for selection, I will focus on the following three points: 1. Declare an immediate moratorium on any existing or new 40B projects proposed until the vote of September 9, 2010, whether repealed or amended. 2. Require members of the Zoning Board to be elected like every other town official and not appointed as if they were judges or Supreme Court Justices. 3. Create a seven member citizens fact finding committee to investigate the environ- mental, financial and long term effects of the 40B projects. Some of the figures put forth by the initiatives need to be substantiated and verified. Our town has a com- plex series of wetlands and the watersheds need to be protected, not looked upon as building lots for multiple density projects. The build out scenario from the mas- ter plan has been exceeded and we need to control our population, main- tain fiscal responsibility and provide for our children and grandchildren a decent place to live and work and play. Thank you Jim Murray
  22. 22. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Sean Scanlon 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? No. Where it makes sense, government should function at the lowest level possible, enabling citizens the greatest opportunity for representation regarding decisions that affect daily lives. Allowing developers to circumvent a town’s Master Plan contradicts the very premise of strategic vision, undermines the authority of local government, and ultimately, the will of town residents to shape the community in which they live. Though I support affordable housing as a way for young professionals, veterans, and seniors to stay and thrive in Chelmsford, 40B is evidence of a law working in benefit of developers, sometimes from out of state, over those locally hoping to live in Chelmsford. 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? Yes. I would sign the petition and vote to repeal 40B. I would also work with other members of town government to craft a unified message to send to our state legisla- tors and the governor. In attempting to repeal 40B, we must offer changes to the sta- tus quo in order to send an effective message. Often, good ideas go unrealized simply because they were not heard. I would seek formation of a temporary committee to examine other ways to offer affordable housing so that in making our case, we present not only complaints of frustration against growth, but also propose well-considered alternatives for the betterment of all. Thank you for reading. I am still seeking volunteers to help with my campaign. Please visit my website at to learn more about me, and contact me at if you would like to get involved. —Sean Campaign Party: Sean Scanlon for Chelmsford Selectman Sunday, March 15, 2009 4:00pm - 8:00pm Chelmsford Country Club 66 Park Road Chelmsford, MA
  23. 23. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Donald Van Dyne 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? No, I’m not in support of the State’s Chapter 40B Law (Comprehensive Permit law) as it is currently drafted. I believe the law should be reformed. To clarify, the Comprehensive Permit Law also known as the ”anti-snob zoning law” was an attempt by our legislators in 1969 to increase the supply of affordable housing pro- duction, especially in communities where local zoning and other restrictions were a hin- drance. The intent of the law may have merit, but the mandated execution is unfair, unreasonable and untenable. The reality is the Town of Chelmsford is impacted by a poorly written state law that limits the power of our elected and appointed officials. Unfortunately, Chelmsford officials are blamed for upholding the law. Our focus should be on solving the problem. As a member of the Board of Selectmen, I will propose policy that all affordable housing projects in the Town of Chelmsford be consistent with our Affordable Housing Plan drafted and approved in 2005 and encourage 40R (Smart Growth Zoning) development. Further, I’ll work with the Board of Selectmen to send the message to all proposed applicants that the Town will not entertain development of any project that is not consistent with a LIP- Local Initiative Program. Developments choosing to follow the path of a hostile 40B will run into stiff opposition. The LIP process, established in 1990, allows many of the decisions to be made at the local level by a municipality. Within the guidelines of a LIP, the Town of Chelmsford will control issues such as financing, design and construction. All future affordable housing projects will be a marriage of elected/appointed officials and citizen ideas with the equity and sweat of the applicant. Further, we should direct energy toward our state legislators, by means of writing letters and making calls, so our united voice will be heard. We need to let Beacon Hill know the Chapter 40B law should be reformed and provide relief for our town. My two proposals will allow for increased community control, citizen participation and will benefit all taxpayers in Chelmsford. My proposals are fair, reasonable and sustainable. 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? Repealing the law is only half the job. We need to reform the law. Simply repealing the law keeps the door open for a new adverse law which may work against the Town of Chelmsford in the future. The Comprehensive Permit law must be reformed to give power to the municipalities. Elected and appointed officials in our town, working with the community, must be em- powered to control the development of responsible affordable housing. The Town of Chelmsford should not be forced by the State to submit to any unwanted affordable housing development. Because of this, I would only sign such a petition if it included reform. The two proposals I mentioned in Question #1- Chelmsford’s Affordable Housing Plan and a program similar to a LIP- are realistic approaches to dealing with the possible un- controllable growth and demands on town services from excessive affordable housing projects. Please Save the Date—Campaign Party Thank you, Sunday, March 1, 2009, 4pm-8pm Donald Van Dyne (978.256.6909) Chelmsford Country Club
  24. 24. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Matt Hanson 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? I support affordable housing and the idea of a 40B Law but I do not support the cur- rent 40B Laws. Currently, Chapter 40B has many flaws and everyone I have met agrees that the Laws needs to be changed. The term “local control” is sometimes used as a smokescreen when talking about Chapter 40B but there is definitely some validity to this argument. With the current Law, not only do towns not have adequate time to work with the developers’ requests, they are essentially powerless to change them. According to the current 40B Law, as long as a town has less than 10% affordable housing, even if the towns ZBA opposes it, it will still likely get passed by the state. Until a town has 10% affordable housing, they have virtually no say as to how they will reach that 10%. The Law with its current requirements does not promote responsible building, it promotes any project that has a certain amount of affordable housing and that follows a certain number of flexible standards. This is not the best way to go about bringing more affordable housing into our communities. Many towns are not against overriding their current zoning bylaws for the purpose of affordable housing, but under the current 40B Laws they are not given any control over this and that is unacceptable. The intent of the Law is good, but since it does not allow towns a say in the imple- mentation of affordable housing I cannot support it as written. I would also like to note that I understand the other impacts that 40B and other afford- able housing projects have on towns and if you would like to talk further about those, please email me at 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? I would rather support changes to the current 40B Law but since this is not happen- ing, I would therefore support a ballot question to repeal Chapter 40B Laws. This is not because I don’t believe in affordable housing, I simply believe that if the current Law is not going to be fixed to allow towns a say in the implementa- tion of affordable housing, it should be repealed until a new Law is passed. If the current Law stays in place, the ill effects that it brings about will continue and this is unacceptable. The current 40B Laws do not promote responsible building and they should be repealed until a new Law encompassing the existing concerns can take its place. Matt Hanson Campaign Kickoff—You’re invited to meet and talk with Matt Saturday, Febuary 28 2009, 4:00pm - 8:00pm Place: Chelmsford Country Club, 66 Park Road, Chelmsford Come in and discuss the issues with Matt. Voice your concerns and hear what he has to say. Refreshments will be served.
  25. 25. Candidate for Board of Selectmen Steve Roberts 1. Do you support the State’s 40B Law which allows developers to override a town’s existing zoning requirements? No, I do not support the State’s 40B Law in it's current form. I do support the need to make available affordable housing in every community but not through a process that circumvents every town planning & development board with the exception of the Zoning Board of Appeals, leaving the decision to an appointed official that may not necessarily share the majority view of our town’s residents or have the perspective that the other boards bring (ie. Conservation Commission, Planning Board, Historic District Commission, etc). 40B is heavily weighted to favor large developers without considera- tion of the fiscal burden on municipalities, ie. taxpayers. 2. Would you sign your name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot that would repeal Chapter 40B Laws? If it does get on the ballot, would you vote to repeal 40B? I would sign my name on a petition to place a question on the 2010 state ballot & vote to repeal Chapter 40B Laws if no progress is made to reform the existing law. Chapter 40B is a statewide issue effecting all communities, but Chelmsford has shown to be one of the most vulnerable communities to big development & abuse of the ex- isting 40B laws given the town’s attractive qualities like our education system, public safety record, location to major highways & vicinity to urban settings like Lowell & Boston. Chelmsford should be a leading community to push the state to reform 40B. Ideas like proposing amendments in having incentives towards redevelopment or counting mobile homes as a full 1.0 low income housing unit (I believe they currently count as 0.5 units) must be pushed by our town leadership and not left to our state of- ficials alone to lead. This is more evident now in tough economic times when the very qualities that have attracted commerce and families like mine to Chelmsford are being threatened by abuse of the very intent of the 40B Law.
  26. 26. The 13th annual Politically Incorrect selectmen debate With Tom Christiano CLICK HERE FOR DEBATE VIDEO
  27. 27. Chelmsford ’ s Bits & Pieces ****************************************************************************************************************************** ------- Original Message -------- Subject: [CPLfriends] The Chelmsford Library Needs Your Help TODAY Date: Mon, 23 Feb 2009 From: Chelmsford Library Friends <> Dear Friend of the Library, THE LIBRARY NEEDS YOUR HELP!!! The Friends of the Library just learned that severe cuts are planned for the Library's Fiscal Year 2010 budget. This budget cut will be a larger percentage than most town department cuts. This disproportionate cut will mean that the Chelmsford Public Library will almost certainly lose its State Certification. Loss of Certification means: Loss of $55,000 in State Library Aid All Chelmsford residents lose borrowing privileges from all other Libraries in the state Chelmsford students lose the ability to obtain materials from other towns' libraries to complete their school projects Town residents no longer have access to interlibrary loans. (Chelmsford is the largest user of in- terlibrary loan of any town in the consortium, and processed 150,000 requests last year.) When asked about the disproportionate cuts, town officials responded that it is the 'Library's turn' for deep cuts. This is an unacceptable penalty on residents and on our Library that serves the people of Chelmsford so efficiently, and has such a large presence in our town's culture. We acknowledge the town is having a tough time financially, and that the Library should do its part to help with this struggle. However, we ask the town to ensure that the Library budget will meet Certification requirements. SO – WHAT CAN YOU DO TO HELP? Show your opposition NOW to the disproportionate budget cut. Reply to this e-mail; a sample letter can be found below. Please include your name and address. We plan to present your letters to the Selectmen at the town information session on Wednesday of this week, February 25. Numbers talk. Forward this email to all your Chelmsford friends and neighbors. They should send their letters to Call the Town Manager, the Finance Committee members, and Town Selectmen to tell them you want the Library's budget cuts to be limited to an amount that will allow the town to keep its State Certification.
  28. 28. Ask your Town Representatives to call the Town Manager and Finance Committee members to express their support of the Library. Thank you for your support of the Library. Madeleine Needles President Chelmsford Friends of the Library ------------------------------------------------------ To Town Manager Paul Cohen, the Chelmsford Finance Committee, and the Board of Selectmen: I believe that the Library's mission is too important to our town to have drastic cuts made to its already small budget. Also, I am very concerned about losing my ability to use other town li- braries or to borrow materials from them through interlibrary loan if the Chelmsford Library loses its State Certification. This loss of Certification will also mean that the Library will lose an addi- tional $55,000 in state aid, making the impact of budget cuts even greater. Please restore enough of the Chelmsford Library's Budget to remedy this problem. (Please add your name and address here.) CHELMSFORD ROTARY CLUB BENEFIT CONCERT FEATURING BEANTOWN An outstanding ten member band that plays every- thing from Frank Sinatra to Justin Timberlake! They played for two Patriot Super Bowl parties! WITH SYNCOPATION A top jazz quartet that has performed at numerous venues including the Boston Globe Jazz Festival. FRIDAY MARCH 6, 2009 CHELMSFORD HIGH SCHOOL PERFORMING ARTS CENTER 8 P.M. TICKET LOCATIONS CHELMSFORD COPY AND SECRETARIAL CENTER ENTERPRISE BANK AT DRUM HILL ENTERPRISE BANK AT LITTLETON ROAD ALLEN THOMAS (TEL. 256-8772)
  29. 29. The Following Submitted by Phil Stanway - Chelmsford Open Space Stewardship Chelmsford Community Garden CHELSMFORD, MA—February 17, 2009—There has been a lot of buzz around town about a new community garden taking shape along Robin Hill Road in Chelmsford. So much so that plots, that will be prepared and ready for planting in early spring, are already being reserved for those who ask. To learn more about what the town has planned and to reserve a plot, the public was invited to an informational meeting at Jones Farm, 246 Acton Road, on Sunday, February 22nd. Dur- ing this meeting, Community Garden Manager Phil Jones talked about the town’s goal to keep the 22 acre land it purchased in 2008 as agricultural property, as well as water solutions, a community tool shed, parking, organizational details, and access to the garden from the new bike trail. The half acre Walter F. Lewis Community Garden at Sunny Meadow Farm, as it is now known, will have 31 plots, measuring 15’ X 30’ each. Each plot will have an annual fee of $50 to cover overall expenses of running the community garden. Five plots are reserved for non-profit groups that may wish to grow fresh vegetables for people in need in our community. It is ex- pected the community garden will quickly be self-sufficient and that the annual fees will then help to restore the property over time. For more information about the Walter F. Lewis Community Garden at Sunny Meadow Farm call Jones Farm at 978-256-8065. Contribute to Community Garden Tool Shed The new Walter F. Lewis Community Garden at Sunny Meadow Farm will have a tool shed for use by the gardeners who tend their own plots on the property. Some wood has been donated, but to keep expenses to a minimum, the following donations are being accepted: -lumber (project leftovers) -hinges -locks -cinder blocks -doors -roofing material -gardening tools for gardeners to share -money to purchase the items above -time to help construct the shed If you have anything to contribute, please call Jones Farm at 978-256-8065.
  30. 30. The Following Submitted by Sheila Pichette - Precinct 4 Town Meeting Representative Hi Roy, I want to ask some people in town to use the town pages (link noted below) in order to connect with our legislative representatives. This communication would be to ask for their support of the Reform Package as indicated in the Massachusetts Municipal Association's letter which is enclosed on the same town page. It would be great if you could send the link along to others who might connect with our legislators in a similar way. Sheila As To w n R epresen tati v e i n Ch elmsford, MA I urge you to support issues set forth in the Massach u setts M u n i ci pal A ssociation's letter regarding the Refor m Package. We, as a co m m u n i ty, are bei ng stretched too thin financially and urge y o u r su ppo rt to en abl e us to continue to ser ve our residents to a degree i n w h i ch th ey deser ve for public safety, educati o n an d o th er areas o f our town life. Thank y o u f o r y o u r co n ti n u ed work on behalf of our town. Sincerely, Sheila Pichette Town Representative Precinct 4 ************************************************************************************************************************************ The Following Submitted by Laura Lee - North Chelmsford Resident Take a tour of the North Town Hall Saturday, February 28th, 9:00 - 10:15am View the past, present and future value of this historic landmark Meet and Greet with Town Representatives and Constituents March 3rd, 7:00pm, St. John's Church, North Chelmsford Please join us to hear about a renovation and funding proposal with minimal impact to the town and participate in the discussion regarding alternate proposals for the future use of North Town Hall. Visit our website: quot;; Save Our History!
  31. 31. The Following Submitted by Jim Lane - Planning Board Member & 2009 Master Plan Committee
  32. 32. Mr. Hollywood Mon Feb 23, 2009 CHELMSFORD - Greg Marcks and Martin Sheen on the set of 'Echelon Conspiracy.' Mar- cks, who grew up in Chelmsford, will release his lat- est film, a thriller, on Feb. 27. Besides Sheen, the cast includes Edward Burns, Shane West and Ving Rhames. Chelmsford group states billboards equ al revenue By Rita Savard, 02/25/2009 CHELMSFORD -- In tough economic times, a few Chelmsford residents and some high-school students have drawn up a plan that could put $150,000 back into town coffers. By placing one to three billboards along Interstate 495 and Route 3 in Chelmsford, Sal Lupoli, owner of the Sal's Pizza chain, said the town could earn enough money to build a new athletic field and generate a substantial annual revenue stream. Lupoli attended Monday night's select- men's meeting with one request for town officials: quot;Let the people vote on it.quot; Tonight, the Chelmsford Planning Board will hear the proposal and vote whether to schedule a series of public hearings on the issue before Town Meeting on April 27. Sal Lupoli quot;This is a zero expense for the town but has the potential for making the town hundreds of thousands of dollars,quot; Lupoli said. The idea was hatched a few years ago, when Chelmsford High School students, coaches and
  33. 33. athletic directors were brainstorming ways to give their beat-up athletic field a face-lift. quot;We knew the town had no money to support this kind of project,quot; Lupoli said. Then they heard what happened in East Boston. The city approved a billboard that now stands near Logan Airport. The structure has paid for a new school athletic field and city park improve- ments. After hearing Lupoli's proposal for one billboard near CHS, town officials saw the potential for bringing in more money to a cash-strapped Chelmsford. The town's proximity to I-495 and Route 3 is a desirable location that's sure to draw competitive proposals from advertisers, Lupoli said. A billboard planning committee has suggested three lo- cations -- in North Chelmsford, abutting Route 3 on Oak Hill; at Chelmsford High School, in close proximity to the Drum Hill rotary; and on a diamond-shaped parcel at the interchange of Route 3 and the Lowell Connector. If the Planning Board agrees to move the proposal forward, the Board of Selectmen would need to approve a warrant article for Town Meeting on April 27. If two-thirds of Town Meeting ap- proves the plan, the town would begin looking at proposal requests from potential billboard companies. Any company the town selects would pay a monthly fee for the ability to advertise there. Chelmsford would have total control over revenue and advertising content, Lupoli said. That means forbidding certain types of advertisements, such as tobacco and alcohol, if it wishes. Chelmsford can even stipulate that a company carve out periods of time over the year to use a billboard for promoting Chelmsford's own events, like WinterFest. The plan also requires that potential advertisers pay to maintain any billboards. Ultimately, Lupoli said all revenue raised from advertisers could be used for any purpose the town chooses. He just hopes a piece of it goes toward a new athletic field that the entire town could use. Philip Eliopoulos quot;It's no surprise that money is scarce right now, and we have no idea when the state's economy will improve,quot; Selectmen Chairman Philip Eliopoulos said. quot;This is an opportunity worthy of being investigated.quot; The Chelmsford Planning Board will discuss the issue at its meeting tonight at 7, at Town Of- fices, 50 Billerica Road. (2/25/09)
  34. 34. “Quote of the week” “ Last year we said, 'Things can't go on like this', and they didn't, they got worse.” - Will Rogers A Trip Down Memory Lane Why can’t children’s TV be as intelligent as it was when I was a kid? CLICK PHOTO FOR VIDEO If you have friends, family or neighbors who would like to be added to this news update list, just have them drop me a line at