MAY 20 2009
On May 1st the FOX morning show
visited Chelmsford

for some of the segments that morning

Chelmsford’s EARTHDAY    2009

Photos : T. Christiano
Residents of the mobile home park
                                                                               talk with...
in a white van with his company name on the side, Cote mostly did odd jobs and yard work. When the economy went south, he
His friends at the trailer park say that work will not be forgotten.

Others, like Latham, Denise Sorese and Rachel Harvey...
Economists: State's financial crisis
                    could last until 2014        By Matt Murphy,
Strange bedfellows:
Housing chief:
  Chelmsford needs truly affordable homes
  Housing plan has Billerica officials in uproar
Billerica panel: Builder's traffic plan is snarled
Residents in Chelmsford, Westford rip Rte. 40 plan
Westford Planning Board member Fred Palmer said the proposal is in the preliminary stages, with many more
questions to be ...
While the Planning Board's role in evaluating the proj-
ect is clear, the Board of Health is in a different position.
ON THE BORDER                                                                        POWER PLANT BUZZ

      Power comp...

                                    14 May 2009

In a stunning turn of events, the developer...
The quot;Politically Incorrectquot; local cable TV show
            celebrated its 14t...
Ribbon Cutting grand opening of the Russell
                                        Mill Reservation Mountain Bike Trails,...
We have also started a blog to create another communication avenue for
Submitted by Peggy Dunn

                                          Chelmsford Farmers' Market -
   quot;Logic is the beginning of
     wisdom; not the end.quot;

          -- Mr. Spock

In-Town Report 5-20-09
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In-Town Report 5-20-09


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The latest IN TOWN REPORT, as prepared and edited by Roy Earley, a Town Meeting Representative from Precinct Six. Thank you Roy, for doing such an outstanding job with this IN TOWN REPORT. It contains a great deal of information about current issues facing our town, and many video links to local TV shows and meetings, all contained in one convenient place. It should be very useful to anyone interested in the town of Chelmsford.

In this issue of the IN TOWN REPORT the focus is primarily on the following:

* Fox Morning Show visits Chelmsford
* Earthday 2009 in Chelmsford
* Mobile Home Park Taxes
* Remembering Steve Cote
* Verizon is coming to town
* Pat Wojtas - on the issues
* Financial Crisis & Local Aid
* 40B & Affordable Housing
* Newport Materials Inc. asphalt expansion proposal
* Billerica Power Plant
* "Politically Incorrect" 14th Anniversary Show & April 28th Show Videos
* Russell Mill Mountain Bike Trail grand opening
* Pond Street Beach Cleanup
* Other local topics of interest

Thanks go out to all of you who make Chelmsford such a great community.

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

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In-Town Report 5-20-09

  1. 1. MAY 20 2009
  2. 2. CRAZY LIKE A On May 1st the FOX morning show visited Chelmsford CLICK HERE for some of the segments that morning Chelmsford, MA 01824 Located in Middlesex County approximately 30 miles northwest of Boston, Chelmsford is a town of about 33,000. It was founded in 1653 by settlers from Woburn and Concord and was incorporated in 1655. It originally contained the neighboring towns of Carlisle and Westford, as well as parts of Lowell. Chelmsford is named for Chelmsford, England and is the only town in the United States so named. Historical Highlights 1653 Citizens from Woburn and Concord settle and found Chelmsford. 1655 - Chelmsford is incorporated, as are nearby Billerica and Groton. 1718 - The first one-room school house is built on the Forefathers Burying Ground. 1798 - The first post office in town opens. 1802 - The Chelmsford Glass Works is established. 1803 - The Middlesex Canal is completed connecting Chelmsford and Boston. 1835 - The first Lucifer matches to be produced in Amer- ica are manufactured in South Chelmsford. 1879 - The Town Hall is built on North Road. 1893 - The Town votes to establish a Free Public Library. 1901 - The Chelmsford Ginger Ale Company is founded. 1955 - The Drum Hill Rotary at Route is built. 1989 - The legislative body of the town is changed from an open town meeting to a representative one. 2005 - The town celebrates its 350th anniversary.
  3. 3. Chelmsford’s EARTHDAY 2009 Photos : T. Christiano
  4. 4. Residents of the mobile home park talk with Dennis Ready about the the town’s attempts to assess the mobile homes CLICK HERE Paul Cohen defends the taxing of the mobile home park by the town on Town Talk CLICK HERE He fought the good fight By Rita Savard, 05/17/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Some days, the white van was like a ghost. DeeDee Reynolds didn't always see it. But she knew when it had been there. quot;In the afternoon, I'd look out the window and my lawn would look like a jungle,quot; said the 82-year-old. quot;The next day, I'd wake up and it would be beautiful.quot; Whether it was mowing the lawn, fixing a wobbly table or repairing a leaky roof, carpenter Steve Cote left his mark on the Chelmsford Mobile Home Park. Friends and neighbors say Cote looked out for the park's elderly and disabled, often doing repair work at no charge. And last year, when the Board of Assessors made Chelmsford the first community in the state to tax an entire mobile home park, Cote went before town officials more than once to defend those who could not leave their homes. quot;He had a heart of gold,quot; said neighbor Connie Latham. quot;He loved the seniors and took it upon himself to look after many of them.quot; But as generous as Cote was, his family said he shouldered the problems of others as if they were his own. It was a heavy weight to carry. On April 1, a year after Cote began fighting against the park's tax increases, he ended his life in his parents' Westford home. His death shocked his family, and has left a hole in the close-knit mobile home park community on Littleton Road. Because Cote, said his sister Donna Cote, quot;was so loved.quot; The line at the Healy Funeral Home spilled out the door and wrapped around the building.Nearly 1,000 people. His parents, Fran and Ernest Cote, had no idea Steve knew so many people. Cote was the quiet child of their six. The introvert. quot;He was quiet, but he was thoughtful,quot; said Fran Cote. Looking out the window of her Cape-style home, she points out the lawn that her son labored over. quot;He did everything for me,quot; Fran says, her eyes tearing up. quot;He was about to order loam for new grass. But he never got around to it.quot; Cote's daily uniform was painter's pants and a baseball cap. He ran his own business, Steve's Carpentry. Going house to house
  5. 5. in a white van with his company name on the side, Cote mostly did odd jobs and yard work. When the economy went south, he filled the time by working on his neighbor's trailers. quot;Steve knew the people struggling through these tough times, and that the majority of elderly residents in the trailer park are on fixed incomes,quot; Latham said. quot;He was known for doing work, and never returning to collect any money for it. He felt good knowing he did something to make somebody else's life a little easier. It's who Steve was.quot; Instead of money, Ernest Cote said his son would open his own door to find homemade cakes and cookies on his porch. quot;He thought that was nice,quot; Ernest said. His younger sister, Donna, of New Sharon, Maine, said her brother cared deeply about the world around him. He wrote her let- ters, talking about the world changing fast around him. How it disturbed him to see people putting their own needs above others less fortunate. Cote knew the faces. He often sat with his senior neighbors who lived alone. Some relied on an assortment of medications to get through the day. Some affixed TV dinner trays to antennas to watch their favorite shows at night. Some skipped dinner to pay bills in the winter. Cote would buy them groceries. quot;My brother was a stubborn man who also stood up for what he believed,quot; Donna said. When his older neighbors began to panic after receiving a notice about the town imposing an unprecedented tax on mobile homes, Cote grilled town officials. But he was hoping for a different outcome. The Department of Revenue called it a first. Under state law, homes on wheels -- much like vehicles -- are generally exempted from real property taxes. But that changed in Chelmsford last year, when the Board of Assessors began taxing the park's 255 trailers like permanent homes. Chief Assessor Frank Reen said many homes have attached patios and decks, and appear permanent. quot;When mobile homes take on the characteristics of a permanent home, they become taxable property,quot; Reen said. Assessors looked at the average sales of mobile homes in the area and inspected the park. They voted unanimously to assess the trailers at $30,000 each, increasing the park owner's taxes from $3.8 million to $11.5 million a year. DeCotis filed a lawsuit against the town, but was required by law to pay the taxes until the court rules. DeCotis said he was left with no choice but to raise his tenant's rents by an average of $500 a year. Cote was outraged. quot;There are people who live here that are old and disabled, they struggle just to pay for their medications in winter,quot; Cote told a Sun reporter last year. quot;They don't have an extra $20 to pay, let alone $500. An increase like this is really going to hurt these peo- ple, I just don't understand it.quot; Cote attended selectmen's meetings to challenge the assessor's decision. In Massachusetts, as in many states, a mobile home is licensed like a vehicle, with owners receiving a title instead of a deed. Much like a vehicle, the market value of a trailer can de- preciate every year depending on age, model, size and condition. Cote had piles of papers on the costs of different homes. He couldn't understand why assessors fixed a single assessment, when neighbors like Barbara Curran, 84, paid about $18,000 for her home on wheels nearly 10 years ago. quot;They didn't want a sob story,quot; Cote had said, referring to the assessors' announcement that personal hardship stories would have little bearing on their decision. quot;So I brought them numbers,quot; he said. He had stacks of classified ads, showing trailers costing $10,000 to $165,000. A Superior Court on Wednesday dismissed a lawsuit from DeCotis that alleged the town violated an agreement on how trailers should be taxed. A trial is now scheduled for the state Appellate Tax Board this fall. Donna, who describes her brother as a quot;hard-working, simple man, who lived a simple life,quot; said his lost hope reflected in his let- ters. quot;He recently wrote to me and addressed the current changing world, the declining economy and that the simple things in life started to become very difficult for him,quot; she said. quot;But he would continue to wake up every day, hammer and rake in hand and make a difference for those less fortunate than himself.quot; Over time, that became too much. Life wore him down, and his depression took over. quot;Despite his differences with the world around him, he made big contributions while here,quot; Donna said.
  6. 6. His friends at the trailer park say that work will not be forgotten. Others, like Latham, Denise Sorese and Rachel Harvey have picked up where Cote left off. quot;As long as we speak up for others who can't, we will,quot; Latham said. quot;Steve would have liked to see that.quot; Last month, park residents and Bentley University professor John Edward, of Chelmsford, met with state Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford, to ask him for help at the State House. Arciero has been working on the issue, and said he be- lieves the issue can be resolved in favor of the residents. Chelmsford assessors said they based their decision on to change the tax on two cases, Wright vs. Peabody from the 1950s and Ellis vs. Acushnet from 1961. In the Acushnet case, the manufactured home was considered an improvement to the land and therefore assessed along with the land. Reen said the trailers on DeCotis' property can also be considered an improvement to the land. DeCotis' lawyer argues that the law says a mobile home is not given the characteristics of a taxable home unless the owner builds a foundation. In the Acushnet case, the mobile home in question was taxed as real property after it was set atop a foundation. In the Peabody case, assessors tried to count all trailers in a mobile home park as permanent property. The town lost the case and was forced to pay legal fees. The town, said Town Manager Paul Cohen, believes the new tax is not excessive. As residents of the park prepare to stick out a long legal battle, they say Cote's mark runs deeper than Steve Cote he could have ever imagined. Reynolds said just last week, when she looked out her window, her brush- scattered yard had been cleaned. Cote's family isn't surprised. quot;Steve's heart was big,quot; Donna said. quot;His generosity touched and inspired the people around him.quot; Paul Cohen on Chelmsford cable’s TOWN TALK talks with Dennis Ready about Verizon coming to town to offer competition to Comcast CLICK HERE Paul Cohen talks about his Board of Selectmen CLICK HERE Chelmsford Board of Selectmen - 5-11-09 Pat Wojtas speaks on Asphalt and 40B projects on the border of Chelmsford in Westford and Billerica CLICK HERE
  7. 7. Economists: State's financial crisis could last until 2014 By Matt Murphy, 05/06/2009 BOSTON -- Deep cuts to local aid along with health care and education are all possibilities for next year as the state's financial picture seems to be getting worse by the day. Economists warned Senate lawmakers yesterday that the financial crisis could last as long as four years, with state revenues not climbing back to 2008 levels until at least 2014. Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, chairman of Senate Ways and Means, called for the emergency hearing as he prepares to release the Senate budget next Wednesday. quot;There will be cuts to local aid, no doubt about it,quot; Panagiotakos said. COMPLETE STORY AT Senate plan will cut school funding by $80M By Matt Murphy, 05/13/2009 BOSTON -- State aid to local schools will be cut by 2 percent in the Senate budget plan to be unveiled today, which reflects a harsher finan- cial climate than either the governor or the House had to deal with when crafting their budgets. Both Gov. Deval Patrick and House leaders managed to level-fund Chapter 70 aid in their budgets, but the Senate's plan will slash funding to schools by $80 million. Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, a Lowell Democrat and the Senate's budget chief, said the Senate will ask Patrick to use $181 million in federal stimulus funds to make sure every district reaches quot;foundation level,quot; as mandated by the 1993 Education Reform Act. Cities and towns, however, will still receive less money for schools than provided by the House because the Senate used a lower, more accu- rate inflation rate to calculate foundation spending. quot;The bottom line is that with $1.5 billion less to spend than either the House or the governor, there was no way we could hold that number,quot; Panagiotakos said. Though the House estimated inflation at 4.5 percent, the actual rate of inflation has slowed, making it closer to 3 percent. Details of the budget, which will be announced this morning, are also expected to include deep cuts in local aid to municipal government through lottery aid and additional assistance that is often used to supplement the schools. COMPLETE STORY AT Senate plan for deep local-aid cuts set up tough choices By Matt Murphy, 05/14/2009 BOSTON -- Harsh cuts to local aid and other state programs unveiled yesterday in the Senate budget will serve as the backdrop next week as legislators debate whether to raise taxes. Senate leaders unveiled a devastating budget yesterday morning that will force cities and towns to dig deep if they hope to avoid layoffs in schools and government offices and cuts to public services. The $26.7 billion Senate budget, crafted by Ways and Means Chairman Steve Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, includes a 2 percent cut to Chapter 70 aid for schools and a 30 percent reduction in other local aid. quot;This is an economic situation that we have not faced in generations,quot; Panagiotakos said. quot;No person or issue has escaped unaffected. These budget recommendations address those realities.quot; The Senate will ask Gov. Deval Patrick to use $181 million in federal stimulus funds to make sure every school district reaches quot;foundation level,quot; as mandated by the 1993 Education Reform Act. COMPLETE STORY AT
  8. 8. Strange bedfellows: Eric Dahlberg's Blog Today's State House hearing on One Selectman's occasional municipal relief package thoughts on news and issues im TUESDAY, MAY 12, 2009 pacting Chelmsford and the Commonwealth... This morning, I attended a crowded State House hearing on the lat- est proposed municipal relief package (discussed in a previous blog post here). Testimony was submitted by a number of state and local officials, union reps and other concerned parties. I found myself in strong agreement with Boston Mayor Tom Menino, whose testimony led off the hearing. Mayor Menino asked the legislators in attendance to give cities and towns the same authority to control health plan design as is currently enjoyed by the state itself. I agree with him 100%, and I'm not just saying that because the guy has an astronomical approval rating. I submitted testimony on behalf of the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen. Here it is in its en- tirety: I am Eric Dahlberg, a member of the Board of Selectmen in the Town of Chelmsford. My col- leagues on the Board and I discussed this testimony at a public meeting last night – please consider it to express the sentiments of the entire Board. First things first: We thank the members of this commission for all of your hard work on behalf of Chelmsford and the other 350 cities and towns in the Commonwealth. The legislation you have proposed is comprehensive. It includes many provi- sions that we applaud, especially: broadening incentives for regionalization, tightening local tax collection processes, and creating a state local aid stabilization fund. Should this legislation become law, we will implement or carefully consider all of the new tools you have presented to us. There is one piece of this commission’s legislative proposal that we find to be a huge disappointment: municipal health in- surance reform. For some perspective on our disappointment, consider Chelmsford’s circumstances. Our town now spends more than 10 cents of every dollar of its roughly $100 million budget on health insurance for municipal employees. Last year, we tried earnestly to work with our unions to join the GIC – as authorized by the powers that were granted to us by the state in 2007. Had we succeeded, we could have achieved a total annual savings in excess of $1 million. Regrettably, we were un- able to win the approval of the required super-majority of our unionized employees. This is a prime reason why we so ea- gerly awaited the release of this commission’s set of recommendations. Upon its release, we were surprised to learn that not only would unionized employees retain the ability to block any effort to achieve health insurance savings, but they would also gain at least indirect influence over the local aid our community receives annually from the state. What’s more, this proposal institutes a complicated process necessitating the achieve- ment of “benchmark standards of affordability” and binding arbitration for communities that fail to reach such an achieve- ment. In this time of extremely limited resources, such a heavy administrative burden hardly qualifies as relief. We implore you to revisit and revise the sections of the legislation that address the hugely important issue of municipal health insurance reform. Please remove the administrative burdens and local aid penalty triggers that would be created. Please give the cities and towns of the Commonwealth the same authority to control health insurance costs that is enjoyed by the private sector and by the state itself. Through this legislation, you are starting to treat cities and towns like adults when it comes to important matters like local taxes, regionalization and municipal investments. Don’t continue to treat these same communities like children when it comes to health insurance. ********************************************************* Chelmsford's Rep. Golden takes a stand against 40B Tom Golden MAY 2, 2009 The Massachusetts House is in the midst of the fiscal year 2010 budget process (House budget page is available here). House members filed a total of 1,003 amendments to the budget. The vast majority of these amendments are totally pointless (and expensive, given that the state is flat-broke, but that's a story for another time). One amendment is worth mentioning: Chelmsford's own Representative Tom Golden filed an amend- ment that would put a one-year moratorium on 40B developments in the state. Chelmsford Reps. Arciero and Nangle co-sponsored the amendment. The amendment (#727 - text available here) has been withdrawn, which means it's dead, but it's worth noting that it was a Chelmsford representative who filed it and, in doing so, took a small stand against 40B, the state's absolutely absurd af- fordable housing law.
  9. 9. Housing chief: Chelmsford needs truly affordable homes By Rita Savard, 05/12/2009 CHELMSFORD -- To comply with the state law for affordable housing, the town needs 336 more units. What does that look like? Imagine 27 more projects the same size and density as Hillside Gardens, a 59-unit condominium complex at 311 Little- ton Road, said Chelmsford Housing Authority Director David Hedison. quot;It would be a nightmare,quot; Hedison said, following a presentation he gave to selectmen last night about the town's af- fordable-housing problem. quot;That's a plan that the residents of this town wouldn't likely embrace.quot; But with about 1,400 of the town's own residents on a waiting list for affordable housing, Hedison said Chelmsford offi- cials need to take action on a plan that not only protects the town from being overdeveloped, but one that provides truly affordable housing. Hedison, along with Community Development Director Evan Belansky, said the first step in getting there is to appoint an affordable-housing committee charged with establishing a rule book and design guidelines aimed at giving the town more teeth when dealing with developers. quot;The demand for affordable rental units is huge,quot; Hedison said. quot;But one major problem is affordability. The units in a lot of these 40B projects aren't affordable for low-income earners.quot; Under that state's 40B affordable-housing law, 10 percent of a municipality's housing stock must be affordable. Chelms- ford has 12,981 housing units, according to the 2000 census, meaning the town is required to have 1,298 affordable units. It currently has 973, or 7.5 percent. Because the law defines affordable at up to 80 percent of median income, Hedison said rents are still out of reach for many. With those projections, Hedison said a one-bedroom apartment would cost $1,153 per month, $1,383 for a two- bedroom and $1,598 for a three-bedroom. Pricing rents at 50 percent of the median income, would still put a three-bedroom apartment at $1,102 a month -- a price still unaffordable for many, Hedison said. quot;The question is, what is good enough for Chelmsford?quot; Hedison asked selectmen. A growing wait-list of local people in need of affordable housing prompted the Housing Authority to put forth a proposal in January to turn the interior of two former Town Halls into affordable housing units. The plan was scrapped after being widely rejected by residents. But it opened doors to Chelmsford's housing problem and spurred all six candidates run- ning for two open seats on the Board of Selectmen last month to support forming an affordable-housing committee. quot;The selectmen are in the driver's seat on making this committee happen,quot; Hedison said. Selectmen Chairwoman Clare Jeannotte said the board plans on addressing its goals over the next few weeks for the new fiscal year beginning July 1. Housing, she said, will no doubt be one of its priorities. David Evan Hedison Belansky Clare Jeannotte George Dixon CLICK HERE for Video of Presentation
  10. 10. ON THE BORDER Housing plan has Billerica officials in uproar By Chris Camire, 04/27/2009 BILLERICA -- Members of the town's Housing Partnership Committee are criticizing a large 40B development proposed near the Chelmsford line, and at least two board members say they probably won't recommend the project. Critics say the 14-building, 672-unit development will put a strain on police and fire depart- ments and the town's wastewater-management plant. quot;As far as I'm concerned, I don't want them hooking up to the town sewerage,quot; said Select- man Mike Rosa, who is also a member of the Housing Partnership Committee. quot;They cannot take capacity from residents who have been waiting for it for 30 years.quot; Developers of the project, known as Aspen Apartments, say it would push Billerica's afford- able stock over 10 percent until at least 2020. The town's affordable-housing stock is cur- rently about 6 percent. quot;They're acting as if it's a helpful thing,quot; said Selectman Marc Lombardo, who is also a mem- ber of the Housing Partnership Committee. quot;We see it as a devastating thing. Most boards seem to feel that way.quot; Selectmen have already voted unanimously not to recommend the project, saying the town's water-treatment facility and wastewater-treatment facility may not be able to handle it. Passed by the state Legislature in 1969, 40B allows developers to bypass many local zoning requirements in communities that have not met the state-mandated 10 percent affordable- housing threshold, as long as the developers set aside a portion of the development as affordable. While the Zoning Board of Appeals is the only town board that can vote to approve or deny such a project, several other boards in town, including the Housing Partnership Committee, must recommend or discourage the project's approval to the ZBA. quot;It doesn't appear that anyone is in favor of this project at all,quot; Lombardo said of his fellow board members. quot;We have too many concerns with density, traffic, sewer infrastructure.quot; Vanasse, Hangen and Brustlin, the engineering firm that has been providing the Housing Partnership Committee with information on the project, could not be reached for comment. The units are 633 square feet to 1,611 square feet. The site will feature a clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis court, recreational area and walking trails.
  11. 11. Billerica panel: Builder's traffic plan is snarled By Michael Wurm, Sun Correspondent 05/19/2009 BILLERICA -- Aspen Apartments, the affordable-housing project proposed along Rangeway Road, received a unanimous thumbs-down from the Traffic Management Committee last night. Billerica police Sgt. Martin Conway, chairman of the committee, presented the findings to the Board of Selectmen last night. The board agreed to forward the committee's report to the Zoning Board of Appeals for that board's action. The 672-unit development was filed under state Chapter 40B, which was designed to make it easier for developers to get projects passed at the local level as long as a certain percentage of the units are deemed affordable. Conway summarized the company's traffic report, stressing that traffic data show an unusu- ally high number of accidents at Rangeway Road's nearby intersections with Chelmsford, Nashua and Sterling roads. He said the project, as proposed, would only increase those traf- fic dangers. The report gives these additional reasons for the committee's negative recommendation: * The project would be just 445 feet from a dangerous curve on Rangeway Road. * Rangeway Road has poor drainage that has washed away parts of the roadway. * Rangeway Road would not be wide enough to include a left-turn lane for the project's sec- ond entrance near Sterling Road. * Rangeway Road is poorly lit. * In addition to the three intersections already mentioned, there would also be increased risks at the Treble Cove Road-Republic Road intersection. Among a number of recommendations the committee made to the developer were: * To move the main project entrance because it is too close, as proposed, to a neighboring landscape-material business. * To improve considerably the hazardous curve on Rangeway Road. * To move utility poles farther in on Rangeway Road. * To improve drainage on Rangeway Road in order to reduce road erosion. * To install traffic signals and make other improvements at the impacted intersections. The committee had voted 9-0 last week to recommend the project's rejection quot;as currently proposed.quot;
  12. 12. ON THE BORDER Residents in Chelmsford, Westford rip Rte. 40 plan By Rita Savard, 05/13/2009 WESTFORD -- From foul odors and smoke pollution to trucks banging past homes at dawn, residents in two towns are questioning a proposal that would place a 4-acre asphalt plant off Groton Road. If approved, the manufacturing plant at 540 Groton Road would set production in motion for up to 1,000 tons of asphalt per day. Abutters in Westford and Chelmsford are fired up over the proposal that they argue would put their homes along a delivery route where an average of 150 trucks are expected to drive past daily. quot;What really irks me is that the town of Westford will not let trucks coming out of the plant take a right turn into their town, forcing all the traffic into Chelmsford,quot; said Scott Leedberg, whose home on Groton Road (also Route 40) straddles both towns. quot;I challenge anybody to try and pull out of my driveway at 7 a.m., during the week. You're taking your life into your own hands.quot; Leedberg and his neighbors in Chelmsford and Westford are swiftly forming a coalition to challenge the issues of truck traffic, air quality and noise that they say will arise with the building of an asphalt plant. But representatives for asphalt manufacturer Newport Materials LLC say a comprehensive study shows traffic will hardly be affected by their delivery trucks. quot;We have addressed all issues, from traffic to noise to odor and emissions,quot; said Scott Tranchemontagne, a com- pany spokesperson. quot;Most neighbors won't even know it's there once it's up and operating.quot; According to the company's traffic study, about 13,200 vehicles travel past the facility entrance at 540 Groton Road per day. The study, which looks at peak commuting hours from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m., and 4 p.m. to 6 p.m., would add nine trucks to the morning traffic rush and seven in the afternoon rush hour, the study says. Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen said it's the idea of trucks traveling on off-peak hours, such as 5 a.m., that has prompted e-mails from concerned residents on the Chelmsford side of Groton Road. While trucks would only have access to exit the facility toward the Chelmsford side, as Tranchemontagne pointed out, access to Route 3 is about a half-mile drive down the road in Chelmsford anyway. The Groton Road site is zoned as a heavy-industrial area, with an existing rock quarry and a cement-production plant. Groton Road resident Marie Burnham, who lives on the Chelmsford side of the proposed plant, worries about the plant's emissions in what she sees as a mainly quiet residential neighborhood. quot;They say you're not going to smell it because they deodorize it, but you're still getting the toxins,quot; Burnham said. quot;We have too many children, too many school buses. We have nice homes here in a residential area. They don't care about our health. They don't care about the economic impact. They don't care about the traffic- safety impact, and that makes me upset.quot; Tranchemontagne said the plant will use entirely quot;next-generation technology,quot; meaning only the most modern and efficient technology available would be used in construction. quot;Our asphalt facility will not emit odors that will bother neighbors,quot; he said. quot;It's designed in such a way where that is not an issue.quot; Chelmsford Selectman Pat Wojtas said she plans to attend the Westford Planning Board's next public hearing on the issue. Residents' concerns, she said, seem to echo an issue that came up last year in Chelmsford, when a group of residents fought against the expansion of Aggregate Industries, an asphalt manufacturer off Littleton Road. The tug-of-war between Aggregate and it neighbors ended in October, when the asphalt maker withdrew its request due to the crippled economy.
  13. 13. Westford Planning Board member Fred Palmer said the proposal is in the preliminary stages, with many more questions to be answered before the board reaches a decision. Key issues are truck traffic, emissions, noise and fire protection, he said. quot;It's a shame,quot; said Daphne Marsden-Kelly, a resident near Groton Road in Westford. quot;It's going to impact all those property values in Westford.quot; The Westford Planning Board will hold a public hearing Monday, at 7:30 p.m., at the Millennium Building, behind the Abbot School, 24 Depot St. CLICK HERE for Video Report Residents protest asphalt facility By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent 05/19/2009 WESTFORD -- Westford and Chelmsford residents last night descended on meetings of the Board of Health and the Planning Board voicing concerns about a proposed asphalt-manufac- turing plant on Groton Road (Route 40). Newport Materials LLC and 540 Groton Road LLC are proposing to construct an asphalt-manu- facturing plant next to an existing sand and gravel operation that also includes an asphalt-re- cycling facility. The site, on the Westford/Chelmsford line, is less than a half-mile from Route 3. The Zoning Board of Appeals granted approval for the recycling facility in February with limita- tions on truck traffic and hours of operation. The proposed manufacturing plant was not an issue before the ZBA meeting. Nearly 50 people appeared at the Board of Health meeting at Westford Academy last night, then proceeded to the Planning Board meeting. At the Planning Board meeting another group was already waiting for the public hearing to begin. Board of Health members seemed caught off-guard by the residents. Director of Health-care Services Sandy Collins said in her 20-year association with the board she had never quot;seen a crowd like this.quot; At the Planning Board meeting, newly elected board Chairman Mike Green looked at the crowd and observed, quot;Well, there are a few more people here than at the last meeting.quot; An e-mail storm and a very active blog apparently contributed to the large attendance at last night's meetings. The Planning Board is conducting a continuing public hearing on the proposal that began on May 4. The board must decide whether to grant site-plan approval and a special permit for the project.
  14. 14. While the Planning Board's role in evaluating the proj- ect is clear, the Board of Health is in a different position. Members of that board said they had never been con- fronted with an issue like this and are trying to deter- mine exactly what authority they have. In the absence of certainty about their role, Health Board members urged those in attendance to make their concerns known to every appropriate board in town, starting with the Planning Board. Board member Joanne Martel suggested that they look at the successful effort in the 1990s to block a Wal- Mart from opening in town as a model for how to proceed. Westford resident Peter Severance spoke before the Board of Health and drew on his experi- ence at the Harvard School of Public Health. He said that one thing quot;had crystallized for himquot; regarding all the development in Westford. quot;No one has really looked hard at air pollution -- maybe it's time we did.quot; At the Planning Board, Attorney Doug Deschenes, representing the companies, gave an overview of the project. It included the information that the plant would sometimes operate at night in addition to daytime hours. This drew an audible gasp from the residents crowded into the hearing room. Deschenes explained that night paving operations require access to a manufacturing plant when crews run low. When Planning Board members had a chance to question Deschenes, member Andrea Per- aner-Sweet asked if the plant would be running quot;24-7, yearround.quot; Deschenes replied that typically asphalt plants shutdown in late October for the winter. Deschenes introduced a sound engineering expert and an expert on emissions. A sound engineer from Cavanaugh Tocci Associates spoke about a sound history done on the Groton Road site from March 6 to March 13 to determine the current background noise in the area. By using those measurements and measurements at an existing facility, it is possible to predict what the sound would be like when the plant is operating. He assured the board that the sound levels met all the strict criteria set out by the Massachusetts Department of Environmen- tal Protection. An expert on emissions gave similar assurances to the board. The public hearing has been continued as the Plan- ning Board gathers more information and seeks re- ports from third-party peer reviewers.
  15. 15. ON THE BORDER POWER PLANT BUZZ Power company puts Billerica plant on hold By Chris Camire, 05/12/2009 BILLERICA -- The company looking to build a power plant in North Billerica has withdrawn its application for two wetlands permits -- for now. Joseph Fitzpatrick, the CEO of DG Clean Power, the plant's developer, said his company will submit a new application in November that will address concerns raised by the town's Conservation Commission. Specifically, the board complained that the plant would disrupt nearby wetlands. Board members also suggested that the size of the plant should be reduced from six turbines to four. While there are no plans to change the scope of the plant, Fitzpatrick said a new plan will be submitted that addresses the wetlands issues. quot;In fairness, we're looking at a plant that won't be running until 2012 or 2013,quot; Fitzpatrick said. quot;It's not difficult for us to withdraw the application and reapply.quot; It was announced earlier this year that, if approved, the in-service date of the $200 million, 348-megawatt, natural-gas- fired power plant would be delayed due to dropping demand for electricity across New England. The state's Energy Facilities Siting Board issued a permit for the power plant on Billerica Avenue, near the Tewksbury town line, in February. The next phase of permitting must go through the Billerica Board of Health, Conservation Commission and Planning Board on the local level, and the Department of Environmental Protection and Executive Office of Environmental Affairs at the state level. DG Clean Power needs two permits from the Billerica Conservation Commission, one for the power plant and another for transmission lines. The company requested that the board grant it a continuance until November to make changes to address the wetlands is- sues. The board refused, agreeing to give the company until June 10 to alter its designs, according to Marcus Pinney, the town's director of environmental affairs. quot;The commission is not in a position to do this type of review on a piecemeal basis,quot; Pinney said. quot;For a filing this compli- cated, it's to the benefit of the applicant and the commission to do it in a cogent, comprehensive and reasonable time frame.quot; Fitzpatrick said the new application will address the removal of trees and the disruption of wetlands and vegetation that generated concern. It will also include testimony from independent, third-party sources explaining why the plant needs six turbines to be economically feasible. Several members of the Conservation Commission are calling on the plant's developers to reduce the size of the facility. quot;As far as I'm concerned, they couldn't minimize it enough,quot; said John Aliperta, who sits on the Conservation Commission and opposes the plant as currently proposed. But Fitzpatrick argues that the commission should not base its decision on what size the plant can be profitable at. quot;The irony here is the Billerica Conservation Commission wants to decide what's an economic power plant,quot; Fitzpatrick said. quot;It's out of their jurisdiction.quot; If the Conservation Commission denies the permits, DG Clean Power can appeal the decision. The appeal would be heard by either the state Department of Environmental Protection or a Superior Court, Pinney said.
  16. 16. 14 May 2009 In a stunning turn of events, the developer of the proposed Billerica power plant has withdrawn its Notices of Intent for the project. There were two Notices filed with the Billerica Conservation Commission, one for the power plant project and the other for the corresponding interconnection transmission line project. Both were with- drawn through their attorney, Keegan Werlin LLC. For now, there is no power plant project on file with the Billerica Conservation Commission. While the letter states that “new notices of intent will be filed when further evaluation of alternatives and necessary information has been developed” and the developer has alluded to a re- filing in the fall, time will tell what happens. In an earlier letter, Epsilon Associates, the engineering firm representing the devel- oper, requested a postponement of their June 2009 appearance in front of the Con- servation Commission to November of 2009. The Billerica Board of Health also received a request from the power plant developer to postpone hearings concerning the proposal until the fall of 2009. The developer, DG Clean Power, has publicly stated that the project is on hold due to economic conditions, lack of demand for electricity, and its failure to secure any bids for its power at the Forward Capacity Auction held in December 2008. Developer, Joe Fitzpatrick, is quoted in the Tewks- bury Town Crier as saying “Right now there is no market for this new capacity in New England.” On a related note, a concerned resident of the area recently traveled to Washington, DC and met with representatives of our legislative delegation. Topics of discussion with these Federal legislators included the proposed Billerica power plant, and the legislators were receptive to input. Please address your concerns with the power plant proposal to legislators representing the Merrimack Valley. Urge them to sup- port zero-emission energy sources. The links below will let you send your thoughts to each legislator: Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, click here Senator John Kerry, click here Senator Ted Kennedy, click here
  17. 17. The quot;Politically Incorrectquot; local cable TV show Incorrect celebrated its 14th anniversary recently. Participating on the show with Tom Christiano were: Paul Cohen, Town Manager George Zaharoolis, chairman of the Planning Board; Clare Jeannotte, chairman of the Board of Selectmen Angie Taranto, chairman of the School Committee. This was the 283rd P.I. Show. CLICK HERE to see the show CLICK HERE for the April 28th show Featuring Craig Chemely, Director of the Slow Growth Initiative ALSO Peggy Dunn Rick Mahoney Karen DeDonato Roy Earley T he “W e stl a nds Wa tc hdo gs” name Tom Ch ri sti ano hon orar y “ GODFATHER ” of Chel m s f o rd
  18. 18. Ribbon Cutting grand opening of the Russell Mill Reservation Mountain Bike Trails, May 16, 2009. In photo - L. TO R. Tom Christiano & Bob Giunta (Chapter V.P. of the New England Mountain Bike Association). The bike association worked on these trails for 18 months to get them ready for mountain biking. Submitted by Philip Stanway Life’s a Beach. The town will have a new Pond Street beach soon but right now it is full of junk. Saturday, June 6th, starting at 9 am will be clean up day at the site and we can use everyone who wants to help, even if just for 20 minutes. Scout Troops, families, and everyone who cares about our town's open spaces are invited. The quicker the place is cleaned up the quicker the town can let residents use this site. It should not take more than a few hours to pick up all the trash and toss it in the dumpster. So If you are interested please drop me (Phil Stanway) a line at just stop by on June 6th after 9:00 AM. The site is located at Pond Street behind Kate’s Corner in South Chelmsford.
  19. 19. We have also started a blog to create another communication avenue for Submitted by JIM LANE (MASTER PLAN COMMITTEE & PLANNING BOARD ) creative Master Plan dialogue. The web address is;
  20. 20. Submitted by Peggy Dunn Chelmsford Farmers' Market - On the Common Our Farmers' Market will be held on Cen- ter Common every Thursday, starting on July 9th, through the summer and ending on September 24th. Market hours will be from 2 pm to 6 pm. The market will feature a large variety of fresh, locally grown, in season produce ranging from Asparagus to Zucchini. We will also feature specialty items such as homemade Italian sauce & meatballs, spinach pie; wonderful cookies; candy and assorted sweet syrups; bagels; dairy products; goat milk soaps and lotions; cut flowers and plants; and much, much more. The mission of the market is to highlight local growers and give our community the opportunity to purchase local products at one place, on one day a week, through the growing season. We also plan to have a jolly good time doing it! We plan to have live music, story telling for children, and other fun stuff. Come and enjoy the day and help us cele- brate the farming legacy of Chelmsford and the fruits of this good earth! We are still looking for a bee keeper who is interested in selling honey, candles, etc. We are also looking for a local potter or other local artisans who make things that are useful in food preparation or presentation, such as wooden ware, table linens, aprons, etc. Applications and information are available on the town web site which is townof, then click on Town Related Links, then click on Farmers Market. You can also reach us at or by contacting us by mail or phone through Town Offices, The Market Managers are Susan Gates talks with Dennis Ready Susan Gates and Peggy Dunn. about the Chelmsford Farmers’ Market CLICK HERE We look forward to seeing all of you for video segment on July 9th!
  21. 21. QUOTE OF THE WEEK quot;Logic is the beginning of wisdom; not the end.quot; -- Mr. Spock William Shatner on the set of the new STAR TREK movie shows Chris Pine how to be Captain James T. Kirk CLICK HERE 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 For Back Issues of The In-Town Report