In-Town Report June 21 2009


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Attached to this email is 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 publication. This IN TOWN REPORT should be useful to anyone interested in the town of Chelmsford.

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

* Memorial Day in Chelmsford
* Pond Street beach cleanup
* 4th of July Celebration Schedule
* Town Manager Update
* Hotel & meal Taxes
* Sex Offender Registry - VIDEO
* Nashoba Tech Budget - VIDEO
* School Department News
* "Politically Incorrect" Show - VIDEO
* "Town Talk" Show - VIDEO
* Asphalt Plant Updates - VIDEO
* 40B News - VIDEO
* Chelmsford Master Plan - VIDEO
* North Chelmsford Water Plant - VIDEO
* Town Hall Utilization Study Committee

This IN TOWN REPORT also includes a number of other local topics of interest.

Thanks to all of you who help make Chelmsford such a wonderful 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 June 21 2009

  1. 1. IN-Town Report Old Town Hall - 1905 JUNE 21 2009 st
  2. 2. CHELMSFORD MEMORIAL DAY 2009 Photos by T. Christiano
  3. 3. D - D ay re m e m b e re d Walter Hedlund talks about landing on Omaha Beach June 6,1944 CLICK HERE for Video Chelmsford Independent Thu Jun 04, 2009 u ************************************************************ ************************************************************ For Chelmsford vet, a weekend of milestones By David Perry, 06/08/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Walter Hedlund turned 88 yesterday, and no one was more surprised than he. Courtesy photo : 2nd Lt. Walter Hedlund, April 1, 1945 in Paris. The day before Hedlund turned 23, he was one of thousands of American GIs, working the sands of Omaha Beach, on D-Day. There was no time for cake, nor a rousing chorus of "Happy Birthday" from his brethren. "I don't even know if I realized it was my birthday," he says in the living room of his Chelmsford home yesterday. "Your mind is on other things when somebody's firing bullets at you." He wears a crisp button-down shirt, and tie, the letters WBH sewn neatly on the breast pocket. Men of his stripe don't look for a reason to dress up. Saturday, as the world observed the 65th anniversary of the battle that shaped history, Hedlund quietly called the last remaining war buddy from his Army Rangers unit. They chatted for about 45 minutes. Yesterday morning, he opened The Sun, and on page three, saw Bob Slaughter's picture, taken at the National D-Day Memorial. God, it took him back. In 1939, Lowell-born Hedlund was freshly graduated from Lowell High, working at the A&P in Cupples Square, making 31 cents an hour. He was preparing for a career in the funeral business when the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. He was inducted into the Army on May 1, 1942. From Fort Devens to Fort Meade to Pennsylvania, to Fort Blanding to New York and a trip to England on the Queen Elizabeth in September 1942. Hedlund served with Company I of the 115th nfantry of the 29th Division. They kept training for beach landings. "Long-range plans we never knew at the time," he says. "We're 19, 20 years old, how the hell are we supposed to know what's going on?"He volunteered for a new unit of Army Rangers, spending three-and-a-half months training with British commandoes. "The training I got there is the reason I'm alive today," he says. In the middle of a snowstorm, they trained him with a log tied around his waist. They put him in a truck, took everything but a compass, mess kit and knife. They dumped him in the mountains. It took three days to find his way back. There were 25-mile marches, where "they'd fire a few rounds at you if you didn't pick up your feet." And more landing training on lakes. "They'd fire at you, blow the paddles right out of your hands," says Hedlund. At night, commanders sent the troops in rafts to retrieve bags of sand from French beaches. "Now I know, they wanted to see the consistency of the sand for vehicles, but we couldn't figure it out then," says Hedlund. On June 5, 1944, Hedlund and thousands of other troops sat in ships off the coast of Normandy, a storm making them sick. Hedlund was in the second wave of troops who landed on French beaches on June 6. Troop carriers dumped them in neck-deep water. They wore more than 50 pounds of equipment and supplies, and bandoliers of ammunition across their chests. Some drowned. Hedlund kept passing men he knew. Dead, wounded, but he could not stop. "A lot of my good friends," he says quietly. One of the wounded was Bob Slaughter, his buddy from Virginia. "That's the awful thing. You had to keep going, past guys you trained and lived with." The beach air smelled acrid, the water ran red, and Hedlund compared the sound to the grand finale of a fireworks display, "going on all day, right over you." German mortar fire and bullets rained down from concrete turrets. It felt like forever to Hedlund for the logjam to break. After the first day, he could still turn around and throw a stone into the ocean. Allied sol- diers finally scaled the bluffs. He was wounded three times in the war, got three Purple Hearts, a Silver Star and two Bronze Stars. He got a battlefield commission as a lieutenant. He went on to Brest where the last wound, a bullet in his left foot, nearly claimed his leg and landed him in a hospital for three months. He still returned to his unit, by then fighting in western Germany. He headed home after the war, used the GI bill for a degree in funeral directing and embalming. "All we wanted to do was get back home and get on with it," he says. "I was like a computer. Back to the U.S. off the boat, I forgot everything I did and saw. I still can't remember things I don't want to." He went to see Saving Private Ryan when the film came out. The battle scenes didn't bother him as much as the rows of white crosses in the American cemetery there did. "Too many of my buddies there," he says, fingering his tie. He married Edna in March 1947, and the couple had a son, living happily until her death in 2002. He bought Saunders Funeral Home in 1965, and ran it until he retired in 1990. He has headed Chelmsford's Emergency Management Department since 1972. He talks to school kids about the war every so often. At a division reunion in 2005, someone told him a guy was looking for him. Bob Slaughter. "I hadn't seen him since that day on the beach," says Hedlund. "I found him. Boy, you want to see two grown men cry..."
  4. 4. Cleaning up Chelmsford’s new beach front property Pond Street Photos by P. Stanway
  5. 5. Submitted by Jeff Hardy Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 FOURTH of JULY Chelmsford Style 3rd of July 5:00 - 11:00 p.m. - Country Fair - center common 6:00 p.m. - Hot Air Balloon rides - rear of fire station 6:00 - 8:00 p.m. - Train Rides - rear of fire station 6:00 - 10:00 p.m. - Art Festival - old town hall 6:00 p.m. - Dance Unlimited - center common 6:30 - 7:00 p.m. - Suburbanette Twirling - center common 7:00 - 9:00 p.m. - Chelmsford Community Band - center common 9:00 - 10:00 p.m. - The Meanies - center common 4th of July 7:00 - 10:00 a.m. - Coffee Shop - Universalist Church 8:00 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. - Country Fair - center common 8:30 a.m. - Flag Raising - center common flag pole 9:30 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. - Art Festival - old town hall 9:30 a.m. - Annual John Carson Road Race 10:00 a.m. - 42nd Annual 4th of July Parade Road Rally featuring motorcycles, classic cars, antique fire trucks and other fire trucks from around the Merrimack Valley. Immediately following the Road Rally the 42nd Annual 4th of July Parade, sponsored by The Chelmsford Parade Committee, Inc., lead by the Chelmsford Police Department Honor Guard will begin! 12:00 noon (immediately following parade) - Chelmsford Parade Committee, Inc. Cash and Sports Extravaganza Raffles. Will be held in front of reviewing stand. Jeff Hardy - Co-chair Brian Reidy - Co-chair Lynn Marcella - Secretary Chelmsford Parade Committee, Inc. Photos by: Don Miffitt
  6. 6. ASK THE MANAGER : In-Town Report : As the Town prepares to enter into fiscal year 2010, and considering the current tough economic times, what can Chelmsford residents expect during the next 12 months? Paul Cohen : The next 12 months will be a challenging time for the Town’s operating budget. The troubled economy will hinder the State’s ability to provide adequate levels of local aid to the Town. Local revenues will also be limited due to the depressed automobile sales (motor vehicle excise taxes), lack of new construction (permit fees and new property tax base), PAUL COHEN CHELMSFORD and low interest rates. TOWN MANAGER Meanwhile, the Town’s assessments for pension benefits, health insurance, and utility costs are expected to continue to rise at rates greater than inflation. Therefore, the Town will continue to seek out grant funding for energy efficiencies, alternative revenue sources, and ways to further reduce costs. In-Town Report : Has Chelmsford received any government stimulus money thus far? If so, how much and for what purpose? If not, do we expect to actually receive any, and, if so, how much? Paul Cohen : The federal stimulus funding has largely been limited to education purposes. The Town expects to received over $2M in education funding for regular education, special education, and pre-school special education purposes. The Town has already received a $21,102 for police purposes. In-Town Report : Over the last year, with all the dark clouds concerning the economy hanging over the town, what if any silver linings do or did you see? Paul Cohen : The economic downturn presents an opportunity for the Town of Chelmsford to address its two major capital facility needs in a very cost-effective manner. The Town needs to address the antiquated and structurally-deficient Center Fire Station and the deteriorated DPW facilities on Richardson Road. The current economic recession offers a favorable bidding climate for construction, reduced cost for real estate acquisition, and low interest rates for borrowing. The taxpayers could save millions of dollars in project costs and not experience a significant increase in the debt service costs related to these projects until after the economic recovery arrives in a couple of years. In-Town Report : There is a possibility of a special Town Meeting near the end of July could you explain to us what articles would be on the agenda if it were to happen? Paul Cohen : The timing and content of warrant for a special town meeting will be determined by the State budget. The Town Meeting may be asked to consider adjustments to budget appropriations, local revenue options, and other monetary considerations. The Town may also be asked to consider capital expenditures such as a new center fire station and DPW facility.
  7. 7. Hotel, meal tax hike in near future. Chelmsford considers options By Rita Savard, 06/03/2009 CHELMSFORD -- Bracing for big state spending cuts, Chelmsford officials are poised to call a Special Town Meeting on raising hotel-room and restaurant-meal taxes. The tax increase would be a way to help fill a budget gap that could be anywhere from $1.27 million "to maybe double that amount," said Chelms- ford Town Manager Paul Cohen. As town officials await final numbers on state aid, which are expected to trickle down from Beacon Hill in the coming weeks, Cohen said further cuts in town services will now weigh heavily on the schools side, where dozens of layoffs could be in order. Chelmsford officials estimate that local hotel and meal taxes, if approved, have the potential to generate about $600,000 from restaurants and $70,000 from hotels. When asked what the alternatives were, Cohen told the Board of Selectmen, "I don't have a detailed Plan B (in) my back pocket that I'm not putting out there," adding that the budget is a moving target until the very end. "I'd suggest calling a Town Meeting to vote on the local options taxes," Cohen said. "I can't imagine any scenario where we wouldn't give voters in town that choice." Lawmakers have called the 2010 budget the most difficult to balance in a generation, with large cuts in local aid and social-service spending coupled with huge state transportation deficits. State. Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, D-Lowell, has said legislators have been looking at every option available to make the best of a very bad situation. But some local business owners say increasing taxes would be a drag on the economy and their establishments. "It's already difficult for small businesses to be competitive," said Lynn Marcella, president of the Chelmsford Small Business Association. "There is no question that raising taxes will hurt, especially for those (businesses) that are just barely hanging on." Chelmsford has seen newer restaurants like the Village Grill and Infusions Bistro disappear over the past year. And Mar- cella, also the owner of the Chelmsford Copy and Secretarial Center, said the town's two hotels have had a significant drop in business. Kathy Kelley, owner of the Best Western Chelmsford Inn, reports a 20 percent decrease in guests at the 115-room hotel from a year ago. Considering the economy, Kelley said the hotel is doing well, but that would change if taxes increase. Currently, there is a 9.7 percent hotel room tax, of which 4 percent goes back to the town, Kelley said. In New Hampshire, the room tax is 8 percent. "There's no other way around it, if there's even a 1 percent increase, hotels will have to lower their rates to offset it," Kelley said. "People are only willing to pay so much." The House version of the budget includes a sales-tax increase, but no local option taxes, while the Senate budget includes both a sales-tax hike and local option taxes. Cohen told selectmen that while the voters of Chelmsford should have the final say, he doesn't think that increasing the current 5 percent meals tax 1 to 2 percent will drive diners across the border to Nashua, where meals tax is already 8 percent. Either way, some residents said any tax increase will not be a long-term solution for the state's financial woes. "To be blunt, I think it stinks," said Beverly Slavin of Chelmsford. "If you peel back the cur- tain, you'll find state and city employees getting great health insurance, big paychecks and perks, not to mention the pensions some get after they retire. Then they go and work a new job somewhere else. And so the solution for all this wasteful spending is raise my taxes? No wonder people are moving out of this state. I might be next." "Let's raise taxes," said Alan Andersen of Chelmsford. "That's the state's answer for everything. It's a Band-Aid, not a long-term solution."
  8. 8. Legislature OKs budget calling for tax hikes By Matt Murphy, Updated: 06/20/2009 09:06:55 AM EDT BOSTON -- The state sales tax is going up. So is the meals tax, taxes on alcohol, satellite TV and possibly hotels. Both the House and Senate yesterday delivered an on-time budget to Gov. Deval Patrick that hikes the state sales tax from 5 percent to 6.25 percent and lifts the exemption on beer, wine and spirits. The budget makes deep cuts to almost all areas of government, from local aid and public safety to services for the dis- abled and mentally challenged, and relies heavily on new taxes to make up for dramatic drop in tax revenue over the past several months. The meals tax, like the sales tax, will increase statewide to 6.25 percent and cities and towns will have the local option of tacking on another .75 percent to raise additional revenue for their own budgets. The House voted overwhelmingly in favor of the spending plan, passing the budget on a 110-46 vote with more than two- dozen Democrats dissenting. The Senate followed suit with a 31-8 vote. Nearly the entire Greater Lowell delegation in the House voted against this budget, turned off by the plethora of new taxes, including the sales tax on alcohol. "I could not in good conscience vote for a budget balanced predominantly on an anti-border tax increase," said Rep. Kevin Murphy, D-Lowell. Rep. Thomas Golden, D-Lowell, said he felt more could have been done to find savings through reform before turning to taxes, and Rep. David Nangle, D-Lowell, said there was no way he could support an alcohol tax that will hurt small businesses in his district. "For me, for us in particular in the Greater Lowell community, we might as well hand the keys over for all the mom and pop stores that sell alcohol," Nangle said. Reps. Colleen Garry, D-Dracut, William Greene, D-Billerica, James Miceli, D-Wilmington, Robert Hargraves, R-Groton, and Jim Arciero, D-Westford, also voted against the budget, while House Speaker Charles Murphy, D-Burlington, Rep. Cory Atkins, D-Concord, and Rep. Barry Finegold, D-Andover, voted "yes." Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, was one of three Democrats to vote "no" in the Senate. The budget also slashes funding to the controversial Quinn Bill from $52 million last year to $10 million this year. The Quinn Bill provides police officers with salary incentives to pursue higher education, and the cost is shared between the state and municipalities. Cities and towns now may have to pick up the difference, depending on whether their union contracts requires the pay- ment. FOR THE WHOLE STORY CLICK HERE
  9. 9. Submitted by Police Chief James Murphy SEX OFFENDER REGISTRY UPDATE Recently, the Police Department has had several inquiries regarding sex offenders, & how we handle both the registration & dissemination process. As a result of these inquiries, as well as input from Board of Selectmen members, I thought it might prove informative & helpful to present an overview of the Sex Offender Registry, & explain how mem- bers of the public can obtain information on registered sex offenders living and/or working in Chelmsford. Sex Offender Registrations & Dissemination of Information guided by Massachusetts General Law, Ch-6 Sec-178C-Q. Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) is charged with classification of convicted sex offenders. Essentially, the classifi- cation is based on the offender’s risk of reoffense & dangerousness posed to the public. These offenders have been convicted of certain “Sex Offenses” as designated by statute. Sex Offender Classifications include: Level 1 Offender / Level 2 Offender / Level 3 Offender / Sexually Violent Predator Level 1 Offenders: Are individuals whose risk of reoffense is LOW, & the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is not such that a public safety interest is served by public access to information pertaining to the offender. Level 1 Offenders register by mail with the SORB. This information is NOT available for public dissemination & is only available to law enforcement personnel & other Criminal Justice agencies. Level 2 Offenders: Are individuals whose risk of reoffense is MODERATE, & the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a public safety interest IS served by public access to sex offender registry information. Information on Level 2 Offenders can be obtained at the police department by anyone over the age of 18. Form & affidavit must be filled out & signed by the person requesting the information, & a positive form of identifica- tion must be presented. The request usually takes several days, & the information is mailed to the requestor. There is no cost to the request, & the request is kept on file at the police department, with the requestor’s information remaining confidential. Offender information includes name, date of birth, home, work & school address, photograph, & offense convicted of. Level 3 Offenders: Are individuals whose risk of reoffense is HIGH, & the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety in- terest IS served by active dissemination & community notification of sex offender registry information. Information on Level 3 offenders can be obtained at the police department (posted in lobby) & viewed on the SORB web-site. The information is also disseminated by the police depart- ment to a variety of organizations throughout the town that include: School Department, Daycare & Pre-school providers, Churches, Libraries, Town Offices, Senior Center as well as two local newspapers. With input from the BOS, we have also started sending notice to nearby neigh- bors on Level 3 registrations. Sexually Violent Predator : Are individuals who have been deemed to suffer from a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the of - fender likely to engage in predatory sexually violent crimes. (Chelmsford does not currently have any registered SVP). Web-sites for obtaining Level 3 Sex Offender Information: (link on Police Department Homepage) (link on Homepage) CLICK (direct access to information) HERE Currently, Chelmsford has: for VIDEO 26 Registered Level 2 Offenders 4 Registered Level 3 Offenders (1 residing, 3 working) The police department is required, & we have a process in place to conduct periodic audits on all Level 2 & Level 3 offenders. Registration continues for 20 years after conviction. Certain offenders can be required to register for life. Certain offenders can petition SORB after 10 years for waiver to register. This information is not meant to alarm or instill fear in the public, but rather, serve as a tool to raise awareness levels as to convicted sex of- fenders living or working in Chelmsford. I would urge all residents to periodically check the web-site or visit the police department to obtain in- formation on Level 2 & 3 offenders. I would caution those obtaining information that the information cannot be used to threaten, harass or intimidate a registered offender. Anyone with additional concerns or seeking additional information can contact Crime Prevention Officer Jennifer Bellissimo or Inspector Gail Beaudoin at the police department. *********************************************************************************************************************************************** Thank you Chief Murphy for keeping the public informed! Level-3 sex offender moves to town For more info on protecting your children and child safety please visit By Andrew Weiner/Correspondent Wed Jun 17, 2009 Roy CLICK HERE
  10. 10. NASHOBA BLUES Karen DeDonato speaks before the Board of Selectmen CLICK HERE on June 1st about the Nashoba Tech budget for Video Nashoba Tech questions legality of Chelmsford's budget move By Rita Savard, Updated: 06/06/2009 06:35:48 AM EDT CHELMSFORD -- It was the only town to reject the Nashoba Valley Technical High School budget. Now members of Nashoba Tech's School Committee say Chelmsford might have violated the law when changing its share of the regional school's budget. Letters and videos of Chelmsford's Annual Town Meeting in April went out Monday to some of the state's major law-en- forcement departments, including the attorney general and the Municipal Finance Law Bureau chief. Calling the town's amendment to reduce the school's assessment by $49,350 a "de facto rejection," the School Committee is seeking legal clarification to avoid a repeat of the incident in the future. "From what we understand, the town can vote to accept or reject the budget, but they can't change the amount of the budget," committee Chairman Raymond Riddick of Westford said Thursday. "The way the funds are spent is the purview of the School Committee and not anybody else." Nashoba Tech's budget sparked debate in Chelmsford, with some residents arguing that the school was asking for $100,000 from its member towns that it could easily pay for by drawing from its own cash reserves instead. Chelmsford Town Meeting easily passed the rest of the town's $92.7 million budget, only drawing battle lines over the Nashoba piece. Town Meeting Representative Karen DeDonato made the motion to amend the budget by reducing the high school's amount, which was also embraced by the majority of representatives. "They're sitting on a rainy-day fund of $2 million while it's pouring here in Chelmsford," DeDonato had said. While Nashoba Tech Superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz promised that any federal stimulus money the school receives will go back to member towns, including Chelmsford, DeDonato argued that if Nashoba Tech drew additional funding from its own cash reserves, it could later use the stimulus money to build them back up. Some supporters of the Nashoba Tech budget said the act seemed to discriminate against students who attend Nashoba, even if people didn't want to admit it. Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen said that because the town does not have any extra dollars to spend on an attor- ney, he will wait and see what kind of verdict stems from the attorney general's office. "If there's any questions from any of the state agencies, we will help in any way we can," Cohen said. "Our town counsel saw no violation of the law, so at this point it's a matter of opinions." Cohen also said he was puzzled as to why Chelmsford's vote would matter at this point, now that the town has to pay the school's original assessment after five of the seven towns in the district voted in favor. Groton, Littleton, Pepperell, Westford and Townsend all approved the budget. Shirley is the last town to take a vote on the budget, which it could do as early as Monday at its Town Meeting. But approval from only five towns is needed. Riddick said the committee wanted to cast a wide net over each agency that might have a hand in making such decisions for the purpose of clearing the air on the issue, not just for Nashoba, but for other technical high schools in the state. Beyond a $25,000 increase to Chelmsford's minimum contribution, Nashoba Tech billed Chelmsford $1.7 million for the new school year, up $166,326 from last year's $1.6 million assessment. The budget increases in each member town was mainly due to a jump in Nashoba Tech's enrollment, Klimkiewicz has said. The number of students from Chelmsford increased from 117 to 133 this year. On average, the tech school's enrollment has been increasing every year by 7 to 10 percent. The Chelmsford Finance Committee also rejected Nashoba's budget, arguing that the school could have drawn on re- serves in tough fiscal times. "There's no hidden agenda here and no vindictiveness at all," Riddick said. "We just want to clear the air because our inter- pretation of the law is different from Chelmsford's. Going forward, we want clarification to avoid any further confusion."
  11. 11. Clear the air Lowell Sun Editorial 06/09/2009 Members of the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Committee made a prudent decision by choosing to find out, once and for all, if it is illegal for a member community to alter its share of the regional school's budget. Chelmsford did just that in April when Town Meeting representatives voted to reduce the amount the town was ex- pected to contribute to the regional school by $49,350. That vote was rendered meaningless, however, when five other Nashoba Tech communities agreed to support the budget. Once five sign on, all seven must contribute. But Nashoba officials are wise to request a ruling from various law-enforcement departments, including the attor- ney general and the Municipal Finance Law Bureau chief. The issue will likely rear its head again as local budgets are expected to face cuts for at least another year or two. We recognize that the national economic downturn and state local-aid reductions have forced communities to deal with declining finances. However, it is also important that local municipal and school leaders realize that regional technical schools, and charter schools, are in fact public schools. They are serving a subset of the same con- stituency the regular public schools serve. Why shouldn't regional technical and charter schools get their fair share of public dollars? There should not be an adversarial relationship between standard public schools and technical and charter schools. They are all in the business of educating local students, and they are all using tax dollars to complete their educa- tional missions. Interestingly, a significant factor in Chelmsford's Nashoba Tech minimum contribution is that the number of Chelmsford students attending Nashoba Tech increased from 117 last year to 133 this year. On average, the school's enrollment has been increasing every year by 7 to 10 percent. The tech school has also been able to save $2 million in its rainy-day fund, while many other schools have nothing left. Should Nashoba Tech be punished for its success? The Sun doesn't think so. At the same time, we also think it is important that the various community representatives on Nashoba Tech's School Committee strive harder to represent the interests of their respective towns, and not just lobby for Nashoba Tech. They should have a better balance of priorities. Meanwhile, we look forward to the legal rulings on Nashoba's budget issue as they may have ramifications on re- gional schools statewide. *********************************************** LETTER TO THE EDITOR Nashoba Tech should listen to Town Meeting reps The Lowell Sun 06/13/2009 The recent Sun editorial praising the Nashoba Valley Technical High School Committee misses the point. As a Chelmsford Town Meeting representative, I attended the meeting in question. It is clear to me that the only bias here are the Town Meeting representatives that work at Nashoba Tech and now the Sun editorial staff. Every time someone questions Nashoba Tech at Town Meeting the immediate response is a cry of discrimination against technical education. This is not true. The fact is all the "easy" budget items have been cut. The community is reaching deep into its pockets to help save essential services and to raise revenue. We have already considered ambulances, billboards and closing schools to name a few. Nashoba needs to consider itself part of the community and realize that the services being cut will impact its school. Already the closest fire station to the school is closed, police patrols have been cut, and the children entering Nashoba Tech will come from larger class sizes.
  12. 12. The Nashoba Tech School Committee's decision to further the issue will cost the town even more in legal ex- penses. The Sun points out that this may be a good move for the school, but to me it sends a negative message to the town of Chelmsford. If Nashoba Tech truly wants to be part of our community, it should be willing to listen to the concerns of Town Meeting now and in the future. STEVE MITCHELL Town Meeting Representative Chelmsford *********************************************** Q&A with Mary Frantz Finance Committee member and Town Meeting Representative Precinct 6 In-Town Report: Do you think if the Nashoba Tech Budget was a separate Town Meeting article, it would have made it easier for an up or down vote as opposed to having Nashoba's budget contained with-in the Town's budget? Mary Frantz: If the Nashoba budget came up as a separate Town Meeting article, I think it would be clearer to all involved (including the Nashoba School Committee) that we were either accepting or rejecting their budget. As part of the town budget we have a number (the requested appropriation) attached to this line item. By rejecting this number, we are in fact rejecting their budget, which is Town Meeting's right, but in amending the number, it may imply that we are amending their budget, which only the Nashoba School Committee can do. I would argue that in amending the Nashoba number, we are rejecting their budget, but appropriating an amount that we do support.
  13. 13. State: Town Meeting vote on Nashoba's budget was OK By Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Writer Chelmsford Independent Thu Jun 18, 2009 CHELMSFORD - The Massachusetts Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has sided with Chelmsford’s Town Meeting over its vote on the Nashoba Valley Technical High School fiscal 2010 budget. In a letter received at Chelmsford Town Hall Tuesday, Associate Commissioner Jeff Wulfson wrote, “It is my conclusion that the town of Chelsmford’s consideration of the proposed Nashoba Valley budget fully complied with the statues and regulations governing re- gional school districts.” Wulfson’s letter addressed concerns raised by Raymond Riddick, chairman of the Nashoba Valley School Committee. Riddick asked the commission to rule on whether Nashoba’s request should be part of the war- rant article dealing with the town’s operating budget — which is how Chelmsford voted it — or considered separately. He also asked if Town Meeting’s vote to reduce Nashoba’s request was legal. “Neither the statute nor the regulations require a separate warrant article for the appro- priation of the town’s assessment, although towns can choose to do so if they wish,” wrote Wulfson. As to the point of amending Nashoba Tech’s budget request, Wulfson said under state regula- tions, towns are allowed to vote a lower amount for a couple of reasons. First, it gives the regional school committee guidance in the event it needs to reconsider and recertify a new budget. Secondly, if the school committee does propose another budget and that number is equal to or less than the town’s appropriation, another Town Meeting is not necessary. “Based on this regulation, the vote by the Chelmsford Town Meeting to reduce the as- sessment amount constituted a rejection of the regional district budget,” wrote Wulfson. On Wednesday morning, Riddick said he couldn’t comment until he had a chance to speak with Nashoba’s Superintendent Judith Klimkiewicz and the school’s legal counsel. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the town is pleased to have received a favorable decision from the state’s education department. Cohen said he would consider placing a separate warrant article for Nashoba Tech’s budget request on the spring 2010 meeting. To Read The “But at this point, let’s move forward,” said Cohen. “We have chal- Letter lenges ahead for us, both the town and Nashoba.” CLICK HERE Kevin Zimmerman can be reached at
  14. 14. Chelmsford school officials hoping for stimulus money Fingers crossed for funds By Rita Savard, 06/11/2009 CHELMSFORD -- School officials are gritting their teeth as they wait for last-minute federal stimulus money to save some of the 56 jobs targeted for layoffs. The layoffs, expected to help close a $2.2 million budget gap in Chelmsford schools, are the largest number of job cuts town schools have seen in more than a decade. "We're swinging in the wind, watching the clock," said Superintendent of Schools Don Yeoman. "But we're going to be ready for whatever comes. We've been preparing for a year." year. Chelmsford elementary schools absorbed most of the budget reductions last year, with the deepest cut resulting in the closure of Westlands Elementary School. This year, layoffs are expected to hit hardest at the middle and high schools. The last day of school in Chelmsford is June 25. Yeoman said school officials are hoping to learn whether Chelmsford will receive approximately $1.4 million, or less, in stimulus money by June 30. But school officials are preparing for the worst, and have asked school employees to do the same. According to the school district's contract with teachers, a two-week notice regarding a layoff would be received before the start of a new fiscal year. Yeoman said the school district's legal counsel has advised that an unprece- dented economic hardship -- midyear budget cuts -- has changed everything. When the state cut local aid halfway through the current fiscal year in January, Chelmsford was forced to lay off 11 municipal employees and make other reductions to help fill a $2.2 million gap for the current year. Town officials were scrambling to avoid making immediate cuts to teachers in the classroom, which would have had a negative impact on students halfway through the school year, Yeoman said. "When you have a special situation, one just like this that we haven't had since the Great Depression, there's a way to downsize staff legally if need be," Yeoman said. Unless more aid comes into Chelmsford, further staffing cuts in the town's schools will be unavoidable, because the town's other departments have already been whittled down as far as they can go, said Town Manager Paul Cohen. Cohen said all eyes are on Beacon Hill, where House and Senate legislators are finalizing the state budget. That budget is expected to land on the governor's desk by June 19, allowing the governor a 10-day window -- as re- quired under law -- to accept or reject it. The governor may also veto particular line items or sections of the budget, but he can't add anything to it. In the meantime, Yeoman said he is anticipating that some school employees will not have jobs in the new fiscal year, beginning July 1. School officials are identifying those positions according to contract and law. "We will be ready in telling people soon that these positions have been cut," he said. "We're working through that." Layoffs throughout the district are expected to include 11.5 positions at the middle schools and about 20.5 posi- tions at Chelmsford High School. Special education will lose one teacher, one nurse and 17 professional support personnel. Yeoman said staff have already been notified of the possibility of layoffs. While job cuts loom, school officials are also wrestling with fixed costs, including annual incremental salary in- creases to teachers below the top of the pay scale. According to the school district, more than 57 percent of its professional teaching staff is not at the top of the pay scale.
  15. 15. Politically Incorrect with Tom Christiano On the May 26th episode the panelists were: Selectman George Dixon, State Rep Cory Atkins State Rep Jim Arciero and former State Rep Geoff Hall Topics Included : The Economy State Sales Tax State Pensions The 40B Law Click Here to watch the Show
  16. 16. Chelmsford State Representative Tom Golden talks with Dennis Ready on Town Talk Tom talks about the State budget,local aid, Chelmsford redistricting, 40B along with other current topics CLICK HERE for VIDEO Board of Selectmen Chairman Clare Jeannotte talks with Dennis Ready about the town’s budget crisis, the proposed asphalt plant in Westford on the North Chelmsford border and the construction of a new fire station and Department of public works building CLICK HERE for VIDEO
  17. 17. WAKE UP AND SMELL THE ASPHALT It’s been a year since Aggregate Industries was fined by the State for Violations of environmental laws and locally proposed plans to expand their asphalt plant on Littleton road ... Aggregate Industries fined $500K for violations Aggregate looks to grow business Construction material supplier Aggregate Industries will pay more than $500,000 and step up compliance with environmental laws to Aggregate Industries will meet with the Planning Board settle Clean Air Act violations alleged at 10 of its 28 facilities in Mas- Wednesday to discuss plans to upgrade its asphalt construction sachusetts, including its Chelmsford site. facility on Littleton Road. Thu Apr 17 2008 Thu Apr 17 2008 Planning Board looks at Aggregate expansion proposal After nearly two hours of questions and discussion, the Planning Board voted to continue its hearing on Aggregate Industries proposed expansion of its site in town. Fri Apr 25 2008 Aggregate's plan to grow Residents raise health worries over Aggregate Aggregate Industries presented its case to the Board of Selectmen on Many people have a loved one affected by cancer. For those Monday, seeking approval to expand the Littleton Road asphalt facility’s who live near a smokestack, it is easy to draw conclusions. storage tanks. Residents-raise-health-worries-over-Aggregate gates-plan-to-grow Thu Jun 19 2008 Fri Jun 06 2008 Aggregate plan still concerns residents The Board of Selectmen continued its public hearing on Aggregate Industries’ request to in- crease its fuel storage capacity at its Littleton Road site and heard again from residents who are determined to stop the plan. cerns-residents Tue Jul 01 2008 Health concerns remain over Aggregate plan Express concerns to board The Chelmsford selectmen did not mince words Monday night To the Editor: The stack test results of the Aggregate Asphalt as they prodded Aggregate Industries for specifics on smog Plant on Littleton Road are due to be available at Town Hall this and public health concerns. week. alth-concerns-remain-over-Aggregate-plan press-concerns-to-board Thu Aug 14 2008 Wed Sep 24 2008 15:05:58 GMT-0400 (EDT) Aggregate study does not allay neighbors' concerns New emissions tests, medical data and expert opinion didn’t satisfy residents who turned out Monday night for another Aggregate Indus- tries hearing. gate-study-does-not-allay-neighbors-concerns Wed Oct 01 2008 14:43:19 GMT-0400 (EDT) Asphalt maker puts Chelmsford storage--expansion plan on hold By Rita Savard, 10/24/2008 CHELMSFORD ---- A tug--of--war between Aggregate Industries Inc. and abutters over whether the asphalt manufacturer should be allowed to store more hazardous materials at its Oak Street plant has ended ---- for now..
  18. 18. And Aggregate continues to be in the news ... $4.2 million in stimulus money to Aggregate Industries to resurface Route 2 between Littleton and Harvard HTTP://WWW.BOSTON.COM/NEWS/LOCAL/MASSACHUSETTS/ARTICLES/2009/05/21/TIES_SET_IN_CONCRETE/ Ties set in concrete By Kevin Cullen Globe Columnist / May 21, 2009 Not long ago, our esteemed governor and estimable attorney general were waxing philosophic about the need to make sure nobody of dubious character got any of the state's $8 billion in federal stimulus money be - cause that would be, like, bad. And so the state has just awarded $4.2 million in stimulus money to Aggregate Industries to resurface Route 2 between Littleton and Harvard. Two years ago, Aggregate Industries pleaded guilty in federal court to supplying 5,700 truckloads of substandard con- crete for the Big Dig. In a deal worked out by federal prosecutors and Attorney General Martha Coakley, Aggregate paid a $50 million fine. Six former managers are awaiting trial for fraud. The company paid so they could play: Say you're sorry, pay a big fine, throw some middle managers under the bus, and everybody's back in business. You would think a company like that might be viewed through something less than rose-colored glasses. But on Beacon Hill, the view is not rose-colored, it's green, because when companies like Aggregate aren't spreading lousy concrete all over the Big Dig, they're spreading cash all over the Hill. Over the last decade, Aggregate and Bardon Trimount, the company it used to be known as, contributed tens of thousands to state reps and senators, especially to those who sit on committees that might be useful. For example, Senator Steven Baddour, Democrat of Methuen, the cochairman of the Joint Committee on Trans - portation and a member of the Legislature's stimulus oversight committee, has taken in thousands from Ag - gregate executives since 2004. Colin Durrant, spokesman for the state's Executive Office of Transportation, said Aggregate lost out on four other stimulus contracts, but it was low bidder for the Route 2 project "in a public bidding process that is devoid of any political influ- ence." So, if you're keeping score at home, the $500 Aggregate president Roberto Huet contributed to Governor Patrick four months ago meant nothing. Aggregate's ability to land contracts raises the question: Just what do you have to do to be considered dam - aged goods in this state? "Part of the plea agreement calls for ongoing independent monitoring, so we felt that the fine combined with the inde- pendent monitoring was punishment enough," Durrant said. So Aggregate will continue to grease pols and win con - tracts. It's all legit, because the rules are written by those who benefit most from them, the same people who say they're busy cleaning up Beacon Hill for us. For much of the last decade, many of Aggregate's political contributions were doled out by one of its marketing guys, Vin- cent J. Piro. That's the same Vinnie Piro who left office as a state rep 25 years ago in the midst of a bribery scandal and was able to use that ignominious exit to triple his pension by exploiting a device legislators may or may not get rid of in their incredible, relentless drive to clean up government excess. Give Vinnie some credit. He knew when to give back money: when he figured out the cash he took was from an under- cover FBI agent. It didn't save his political career, but it got him acquitted. So now we know the guy who once told an undercover agent he needed 5 large to "grease a few guys" for a liquor li- cense was up on Beacon Hill greasing a few guys - this time legally. For a concrete company. You can't make this stuff up. I called the great Vinnie Piro and he cheerfully acknowledged he was the guy who wrote the campaign checks, but as- sured me he was no longer in the employ of Aggregate Industries. "I retired two years ago," he said. "The company down- sized. The company's a shell of what it was." So they stiffed you, Vinnie? "Nah," Vinnie Piro said. "I got a severance package." Kevin Cullen can be reached at
  19. 19. And speaking of Asphalt ... Residents tour Westford site of proposed asphalt plant By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent 05/31/2009 WESTFORD -- With the intermittent rumble of trucks in the background, some 30 local residents and public officials yesterday toured the site on Groton Road where two companies plan to build a controversial asphalt manufacturing plant. The early-morning walk at 540 Groton Road, arranged by the Planning Board as part of an ongoing public hearing, drew members of the Route 40 Clean Air Coalition, a local group formed in opposi- tion to the project, and others who live nearby. Representatives from the proponents, Newport Materials LLC and 540 Groton Road LLC, detailed their plans and took questions on the project which, if approved, would produce up to 1,000 tons of asphalt per day. The plant would be next to an existing recycling facility for which the companies already have Zon- ing Board of Appeals approval. It is also near similar operations that use the same road. Attorney Doug Deschenes, representing the proponents, stressed that the trucks seen yesterday were not working for the two companies. "They're going to other facilities," he said. Armed with site plans and illustrations, Deschenes led a trek over the property, pointing out where a silo and other structures for the asphalt plant would be located. "We're a long way from answers to all our questions," Planning Board Chairman Mike Green questions told the gathering. Green has asked residents with questions to submit them in writing to the board so they can be ad- dressed during the pubic-hearing process. The asphalt proposal has stirred opposition this spring from residents in Westford and Chelmsford concerned about the potential for noise, foul odors and smoke pollution from trucks coming and going from the site. Representatives with Newport Materials say a study by the company shows traffic will hardly be af- fected by their delivery trucks.
  20. 20. According to the 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 rush hour and seven to the afternoon rush hour. The Groton Road site is zoned as a heavy industrial area, with an existing rock quarry and a cement production plant. The residents yesterday had plenty of questions for Deschenes and the developers. Asked about any plans to clear trees on the property, Deschenes said that extensive wetlands in the area will protect most of the trees, "but this is a 115-acre site, so I won't say this will be the only new use on the site." site Most future development would occur on areas previously disturbed by other operations, he said. Green told residents that the Planning Board will look at any plans for tree clearing. "It's one of our questions for discussion." discussion Deschenes addressed what he called "confusion" over the variance obtained from the ZBA in Feb- confusion ruary and the permits he is now seeking from the Planning Board. The variance from the ZBA is separate, he said. It limits hours of operation and daily truck traffic, but the limitations apply only to the recycling operations. At times, the manufacturing facility will need to run at night to serve night-paving operations, Desch- enes said. It will only be during those night operations that "any sound would be audible" to the clos- est residential neighbors, he said, adding that the sound would be insignificant and not wake anyone. He based this information on a sound study that the developers commissioned and that is on file and available on the town Web site.
  21. 21. Residents grill lawyer over plans for Westford asphalt plan By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent Updated: 06/03/2009 WESTFORD -- For 2 1/2 hours, the questions kept coming. About 50 Westford and Chelmsford residents concerned about an asphalt plant proposed for 540 Groton Road grilled the lawyer representing the proponents at a community forum last night. Doug Deschenes, representing Newport Materials LLC and 540 Groton Road LLC, described the re- sults of sound, emissions and traffic studies. The studies Deschenes presented were performed by consultants for the two companies. But as he advised residents several times, the Westford Planning Board is using its own consultants to evalu- ate the potential impact of the plant. Deschenes and the principals of the companies arranged last night's meeting to give the public a chance to hear information about the proposal. The meeting was held at the Nabnassett Lake Coun- try Club, a short distance from 540 Groton Road. Last night's meeting followed a site tour on Saturday arranged by the Planning Board. In addition to the Planning Board, interested residents walked the site along with members of the Route 40 Clean Air Coalition, a group formed in opposition to the proj- ect. Chelmsford residents, some of whom live at Scotty Hollow about 1,500 feet from the site, expressed concern that none of their town boards are involved in the permitting process. Christine Scaplen, a Scotty Hollow resident, asked about the involvement of Chelmsford officials in the process. Deschenes said, "We are listening to Chelmsford residents. We have had Chelmsford officials at meetings and at site walks. We are happy to talk to the Chelmsford police about traffic ." Many questions were raised about traffic projections on Groton Road (Route 40). During peak hours of operation in the morning, from 7 to 9 a.m., an average of nine trucks would enter and leave the fa- cility, Deschenes said. During peak hours in the afternoon, from 4 to 6 p.m., an average of seven trucks would enter and leave the facility. On average, 75 trucks would enter and leave the facility daily. No more than 10 trucks an hour could enter, pick up asphalt and leave, according to Deschenes. Traffic flow on Route 40 is estimated at 13,200 vehicles daily.
  22. 22. Gagik Manukian of Chelmsford pressed Deschenes on those numbers. "You're adding a significant number of trucks," Manukian said. trucks "This would triple the volume of trucks." trucks. Manukian suggested that more than 6,000 trucks would be added to the traffic on Route 40 yearly. Deschenes said Manukian's numbers were "theoretical and not realistic." realistic Deschenes recalled that Modern Continental used the same site during the expansion of Route 3. People involved with that project estimate that 200 Modern Continental trucks entered and left the property for 400 trips a day. Some tough questions were directed at Deschenes regarding emissions from the plant. He said the plant would exceed the very stringent Massachusetts regulations on emissions. These regulations are tougher than either national or local regulations and are the third most stringent in the country, after California and Texas, he said. People questioned whether emissions would be nonhazardous because the plant will be burning oil. "Your plant will emits hundreds of chemicals. They are dangerous to every person," said one person man. A parent of an asthmatic child expressed concern about the impact of particulates on children's health. "Just because you can't smell it doesn't mean it's not harming you," he said. you The Westford plant would be built on 4.4 acres of a 115-acre site that abuts Fletcher's Quarry and similar operations. "We're participating in a big playing field out there," Deschenes said. there, He assured residents that he would provide answers to questions he was unable to answer. He also recommended that they look at relevant documents posted on the town's Web site and to check the Web site that Newport Materials has just made available. The Route 40 Clean Air Coalition, some of whom were present last night, will hold a meeting on June 15 at the Blanchard School to consider their strategy in the face of the proposed plant. The Planning Board meets that same night as its public hearing on the plant continues. North Chelmsford residents speak at “Open Session”during the June 1st Board of Selectmen meeting about the proposed Westford Asphalt plant on Groton road near the Scotty Hollow condiminiums CLICK HERE for Video
  23. 23. Hundreds pack school to protest asphalt plant By Rita Savard, 06/16/2009 WESTFORD -- It's bad enough they live within a mile of Route 3. And deal with traffic at the foot of their driveways every morning. And the convoy of construction trucks that drive past daily, leaving their homes and cars coated with dust. Now hundreds of neighbors who live along Groton Road near the Westford-Chelmsford line might have another unwelcome neigh- bor: an asphalt plant. About 200 people packed the auditorium at the Blanchard Middle School last night in the first organized effort to keep Newport Ma- terials Inc., from setting up a production plant in Westford that would churn out 1,000 tons of asphalt per day. Worried more about what they won't be able to see, many abutters expressed concern over pollution particles about one-30th the size of a single human hair. Although Newport Materials representatives have said there will be no visible plume of smoke stemming from the proposed facility at 540 Groton Road, neighbors said that doesn't mean there won't be emissions. "An asphalt plant will significantly increase air pollutants," said Dr. Michael Wang, a research scientist at the Harvard School pollutants of Public Health, who also lives in Chelmsford. "What worries me most is the particulate matter. The smaller the particle, the more dangerous it is because it can be more easily absorbed into the lungs."lungs. Particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or PM, is a complex mixture of extremely small particles and liquid droplets. Particle pollution is made up of a number of components, including acids (such as nitrates and sulfates), organic chemi- cals, metals, and soil or dust particles. Wang said that according to the Environmental Protection Agency, once inhaled, these particles can affect the heart and lungs and cause serious health effects, including cancer. A representative for Newport Materials, who was not allowed to speak at last night's meeting, said that neither Wang nor any mem- ber of the asphalt opposition group, The Route 40 Clean Air Coalition, has looked at the company's own emission reports. Alisa Nakashian-Holsberg, a member of the Clean Air Coalition, had asked representatives from Newport Materials not to partici- pate in the discussion at the start of the meeting, because last night's meeting was just "for the community." "We agree that the people in both communities should be involved in the process and get as much information as possi- ble," Newport Materials spokesperson Scott Tranchemontagne said after the meeting. "However, this group has showed again and again they put out misinformation to create fear." Tranchemontagne then referred to Wang speaking about a toxic mix of dense fog that killed thousands of Londoners in four days. "I don't see what bringing up an event that happened in 1955 has to do with our proposed facility," Tranchemontagne said. "He made sure he said people died. That's irresponsible. That's creating fear." Wang said he brought up the "London smog" event because it changed the way the world looked at pollution, helping to spur the Clean Air Act. "People are very concerned about this plant going up, and some of us are afraid," said Connie Patrick of Westford. "If you have children, you don't want them breathing in cancer-causing agents. This plant will not be pollutant-free, and they can't claim that it will be." Representatives for Newport Materials said its asphalt plant -- proposed for an industrial zone next to an existing rock quarry -- will be environmentally friendly. Tranchemontagne said the company has addressed all issues, from traffic and noise to odor and emis- sions, in a series of studies. The Westford Planning Board is using its own consultants to conduct an independent study to evaluate the potential impacts of the plant. The plant is expected to generate $75,000 to $100,000 in annual tax revenue for Westford. Nakashian-Holsberg said neighbors also worry that Newport Materials, if granted the special permits it seeks to construct the plant, will try to expand the facility's production operations. In February, she said, the company's attorney told the Westford Zoning Board of Appeals that Newport Materials only had plans to "crush stone" on the Groton Road site, not make asphalt. "Look what we're dealing with now," she added. The coalition plans to continue marshaling forces to fight the plant, and asked all who attended last night's meeting to sign a petition opposing the facility. CLICK Nakashian-Holsberg told the crowd that in the past, Westford residents have suc- cessfully blocked a hazardous-waste facility as well as Wal-Mart from moving into HERE town. "Our numbers have grown," she said. "But we can't do this alone. We need you." for The next public meeting on the issue will be before the Westford Planning Board on VIDEO Monday at 7 p.m.
  24. 24. Consultant: Emissions at asphalt site not hazardous By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent 06/17/2009 WESTFORD -- A consultant for the Board of Health last night reported that based on current science, the levels of chemicals and compounds emitted from a proposed asphalt manufacturing facility will not pose a health hazard. But Dr. David McIntosh, a Needham-based scientist, raised a red flag over rock-crushing operations al- ready under way near the Route 40 site where Newport Materials Inc. has proposed the manufacturing plant. The issue could lead to a wider Board of Health study. Board member Susan Hanly, who is also a school nurse, reported that asthma levels at the nearby Miller School are already above average. She asked if information is available on particulates from existing opera- tions. Doug Deschenes, the attorney representing Newport Materials, said he would be happy to provide "a sem- blance" of that information. Deschenes reminded the board that Newport Materials is "next to a massive operation already," a reference to Fletcher's Quarry. Newport Materials is hoping to build a plant that would produce up to 1,000 tons of asphalt per day. Describing the health board's involvement as "very important," member Joanne Martel said the Newport Materials issue is "opening our eyes to what else is happening out there." McIntosh concluded that compounds reported to have odor thresholds are lower than levels that would be hazardous. "You would be able to smell things before hazardous levels were reached," he said. McIntosh found, however, that levels of particulates at monitoring sites for existing sites are elevated to the background, which he defined as what would normally be expected, but they are substantially below levels deemed acceptable in air-quality standards. The Department of Public Health has recommended that the Board of Health seek additional information, including further analysis of potential emissions; assessment of the health effects on sensitive populations in the vicinity; assessment of local meteorological records; and methods of mitigation, such as diesel en- gine retrofits for trucks. Project proponents will take their case to the Scotty Hollow condominiums tonight. Scotty Hollow is the closest Chelmsford site to the asphalt plant. The Board of Selectmen drafted a letter to the Westford planning board about the asphalt plant. CLICK HERE TO READ IT
  25. 25. 40B or Not To Be " Our conclusion is that Chapter 40B represents one of the biggest financial scandals in state history ," "Developer profits were routinely and substantially understated. The results, in many cases, were windfall profits to the developers which deprived the respective munici - palities of the excess profits." - Mass Inspector General Greg Sullivan / Boston Globe 06/01/09 / Lowell Sun 06/02/2009 "I don't want to see DHCD write any more regulations," "The last set of regulations al - lowed the profits to be negotiated between the builder and the lender. That was just horrifying. "I've lost all faith in DHCD," "They have been well aware of what's going on. They don't need the Legislature to tell them." - State Rep. Bill Greene, D-Billerica / Lowell Sun 06/02/2009 "Based upon spot-checks and looking at the evidence that we presently have, the type of oversight that can ensure absolute integrity was not in place,". "Every penny that ought to be recouped for the taxpayer should be, and it should be done as soon as possible." "Follow-up has been spotty at best over the years," "When nobody was watching, these developers would go along and do whatever they needed to do." “This program is long overdue for an overhaul,” - Senator Marc R. Pacheco, D-Taunton / Boston Globe 06/01/09 / Boston Herald 06/02/09 Our communities have been defrauded of tens of millions of dollars in excess profits rightfully owed to them and unlawfully pocketed by unscrupulous developers.” -Senator Robert Hedlund, R-Weymouth / Boston Herald 06/02/09 “Your estimate Mr. General was 100 million dollars , that money is looking awfully good right now” -Senator Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln / New England News Cable 06/01/09 "Unless we see some significant moves to tighten this thing up, to improve the law, to stop the abuses, we'll try to repeal it," - John Belskis of Arlington, chairman of the statewide Coalition to Repeal 40B / Boston Globe 06/01/09 ************************************************************************************************* Massachusetts Senate group eyes 40B reform By Matt Murphy, 06/02/2009 BOSTON -- A group of Senate lawmakers yesterday recommended an overhaul of the state's affordable-housing law that would limit the profits of developers and crack down on abuses that have cost cities and towns more than $100 million. The report, issued by the Senate Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, also called for the state to review its density guidelines and craft new regulations that would scale back the size of controversial developments. "Our conclusion is that Chapter 40B represents one of the biggest financial scandals in state history," history Inspector General Greg Sullivan said. Sullivan has been investigating Chapter 40B projects for the past two years and published his own findings in late 2007 that led to the Senate investigation. Lawmakers said some developers have been scamming the system by inflating costs and underreporting profits, without proper oversight, at the expense of local communities.
  26. 26. Among the projects cited by Sullivan were the Salisbury Hill Estates in Billerica, where the inspector general said develop- ers understated profits by more than $3 million, and Crossroads in Acton, where he found that the town should have been paid $763,000. "It is clear that prior administrations let the 40B program go unregulated for far too long," said Sen. Marc long Pacheco, a Taunton Democrat who chairs the Post Audit and Oversight Committee. Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln, said the report's recommendations could help affordable housing in Massachusetts by restor- ing faith and transparency in the 40B program. Under Chapter 40B, developers can bypass local zoning restrictions in com- munities with less than 10 percent affordable housing, as long as they agree to designate 25 percent of the project as affordable units.Profits on such developments are capped at 20 percent, and any profits that exceed that limit are supposed to be returned to the city or town. Pacheco said his investigation showed that only $17,000 has ever been returned by a developer to a community, and more than two-thirds of the state's 40B projects have been audited. Housing Undersecretary Tina Brooks thanked the committee and vowed to work "with them and other 40B stakehold - ers, including the inspector general's office, to resolve to the best of our ability any ongoing issues." issues. The committee report recommends the creation of a database by the Department of Housing and Community Development to track all 40B projects in Massachusetts, and sanctions for developers who fail to submit timely and accurate cost certifi- cations. Furthermore, the panel called for lowering the minimum profit for a developer from 20 percent to 15 percent. The maximum profit margin would remain at 20 percent. The committee also called on the Department of Housing and Community Development to start a regulatory review of its density guidelines to limit the scope of projects that can sometimes grow to as large as 160 units per acre. Pacheco said the committee liked the idea of limiting the number of units to four times the number allowed under local by- laws, but said the public-hearing process should run its course. State Rep. Bill Greene, D-Billerica, said the committee's findings come as no surprise, but he questioned the wisdom in trusting the Department of Housing and Community Development to reform itself through new regulations. Greene has been a fierce critic of Chapter 40B. He favors scrapping the law entirely and writing a new law to promote af- fordable housing. "I don't want to see DHCD write any more regulations," Greene said. "The last set of regulations allowed the regulations profits to be negotiated between the builder and the lender. That was just horrifying. horrifying "I've lost all faith in DHCD," he added. "They have been well aware of what's going on. They don't need the Leg - DHCD islature to tell them." them DHCD last July put out new regulations that expanded the allowed density of some projects, barred local boards from re- ducing a project's scope by more than 5 percent, and increased the minimum profit margin. Pacheco and other members of the Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, however, praised the steps Brooks has taken recently to address abuses in the system, including audits being done on all eligible projects. ************************************************************************************************* Builders’ profits targeted State to review affordable projects By Christine McConville/Boston Herald Tuesday, June 2, 2009 (EXCERPT) In what is being hailed as a major crackdown on affordable housing abuse, a Massachusetts Senate committee has told a state agency to keep a closer eye on developers’ profits. “This program is long overdue for an overhaul,” Sen. Marc Pacheco, (D-Taunton) chairman of the Senate Post Audit overhaul and Oversight Committee, said yesterday. CLICK HERE FOR WHOLE HERALD STORY
  27. 27. ************************************************************************************************* Change urged to rein in developer abuses Senate panel says localities lose out By Brian MacQuarrie, Globe Staff | June 1, 2009 CLICK HERE FOR WHOLE GLOBE STORY (EXCERPT) At a September hearing before the committee, state Inspector General Gregory Sullivan said some developers had not ac- curately stated their affordable-housing profits, at a loss of $100 million for cities and towns. Sullivan testified that no mech- anism existed to track which projects had been certified for financial accuracy. Pacheco said the committee's work confirmed much of Sullivan's probe. "Follow-up has been spotty at best over the years," Pacheco said. "When nobody was watching, these develop - years, ers would go along and do whatever they needed to do." do Pacheco said Chapter 40B will remain controversial because the law allows builders to bypass jealously guarded zoning restrictions. However, he said, the program "at least should be something that is done the way it was intended to be done, in terms of accountability and profits going back to the communities if it exceeds a minimum num - ber." ber. Despite its flaws, the Post Audit committee concluded, "Chapter 40B has proven to be an innovative and effective method to encourage developers to build housing and at the same time meet the demand for affordable hous - ing in Massachusetts." Massachusetts. ************************************************************************************************* Sorry but I just had to comment on that last line . Despite its flaws, the Post Audit committee concluded, "Chapter 40B has proven to be an innovative and effective method to encour - age developers to build housing and at the same time meet the demand for affordable housing in Massachusetts." Massachusetts. Massachussetts is listed 49th out of 50 for providing truly affordable housing in the country according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.( ) I think the State could be a little more innovative and effective, don’t you? But hey! At least were not 50th . Roy ************************************************************************************************* CLICK HERE for a NEWS REPORT VIDEO from NEW ENGLAND CABLE NEWS June 1, 2009 Controversy builds around Chapter 40B ************************************************************************************************* If you wish to read the Senate Post Audit Committee's 40B report it is available on line at the below link. CLICK HERE *************************************************************************************************
  28. 28. Billerica ZBA upset with 40B developer By Chris Camire, 06/04/2009 BILLERICA -- Town officials decried a lack of information from the developer proposing a massive affordable-housing proj- ect on Rangeway Road at last night's Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. In one of the final public hearings before the board will be asked to approve the 14-building, 672-unit project known as Aspen Apart- ments, members raised concerns about traffic safety and drainage. Steve Ventresca of Nitsch Engineering, a consultant hired by the Zon- ing Board of Appeals, said he has not received enough information on the site's soil quality to ensure that it will drain properly. "At this point, we don't believe the project is technically feasible," Ventresca said. "There is more information that could be gathered that would make us feel more comfortable about the systems being proposed on the site." Ventresca's findings troubled ZBA members because abutters to the project who live at the end of State Street in Chelms- ford already experience problems with flooding. Steve Chouinard, an engineer with Vanasse Hangen Brustlin Inc., the project's manager, said his firm will do more soil testing. He encouraged the ZBA to approve the project on the condition that the developers ensure that all drainage issues will be addressed. Chouinard's appeal did not sit well with several ZBA members. "We're trying to approve something we don't know about," said an exasperated Joseph Shaw. "I'm concerned. It's been six months and we still don't know where the water table is. When do we get an answer?" The ZBA also heard from its traffic subcommittee, which has unanimously rejected the developer's traffic plan as it cur- rently stands. "The unit count was a concern, but it was mostly the increased flow of traffic that Rangeway Road would be re- quired to handle," said Tony Lucacio, chairman of the traffic subcommittee. Primary access to the development will be directly from Rangeway Road near the Chelmsford line. The units range from 633 square feet to 1,611 square feet. The site will feature a clubhouse, swimming pool, tennis court, recreational area and walking trails. The buildings will be wood-framed, four stories high, and contain 48 units each. The projected rental price for the one-bedroom affordable units will be $1,071 per month; $1,284 for two bedrooms; and $1,484 for three bedrooms. *************************************************************** The Lowell Sun Political Column 06/07/2009 By Rita Savard, Word of advice: Get on the agenda. A pricey engineer hired by Chelmsford was prevented from addressing the Billerica Zoning Board of Appeals at a recent public hearing for failing to do just that. Chelmsford has hired Scott Horsley, of the Horsley Witten Group, to study drainage at the site of Aspen Apartments, a 672-unit apartment complex proposed in Billerica near the Chelmsford line. Horsley sat through Wednesday's public hearing on the proposal, but when he got up to address the board toward the end of the night, he was told there wasn't enough time. Horsley and Chelmsford Selectman Pat Wojtas protested, saying Horsley had been working on Chelmsford's dime the whole night. ZBA Chairwoman Doris Pearson said she'd only give him five minutes to speak. "That's not enough time," responded Horsley, who then agreed to address the board at its June 17 public hearing in- stead. Chelmsford Town Manager Paul Cohen said Friday that the town will not be charged any more money for Horsley to attend a second public hearing.
  29. 29. Developer offers to reduce Aspen plans By Ed Burns, Sun Correspondent 06/18/2009 BILLERICA -- Facing tough questions from residents and town officials, a local developer offered conces- sions that would drastically scale back his proposed affordable-housing development. Eli Pechthold, developer of the Aspen Apartment project, told members of the Board of Appeals he would consider cutting six of the proposed 14 buildings, eliminating nearly 300 units, if it would keep the project alive. One of the main problems with the development is that the water table at the proposed site is very high, and will not support a development as large as has been discussed, said Scott Horsley of Horsley Whitten Group, a consultant service hired by Chelmsford. "There are lots of wetlands and difficult soils," said Horsley. "The site is highly constrained and I don't think it will work." Horsley's group was hired by Chelmsford because the proposed site is directly up hill from the town line, and many on the Chelmsford side have expressed concerns that the project will cause nearby wetlands to flood. According to Horsley, the amount of water going into the water table could go from a current average of 13 inches per year to as much as 40 inches if the development is built. "A lot of water is going to go into the surface," said Horsley. "The water table will come up higher." These concerns prompted Pechthold to offer eliminating the six buildings, because both Horsley and a consultant hired by Billerica said that a smaller area of development should minimize the increase in groundwater. But many remained skeptical about how much the cuts will help. Sandra Brock of Nitsch Engineering, a consultant group hired by the Zoning Board of Appeals, said it would be important which buildings get eliminated, not just how many. "If you still have the sprawl, you'll still have the issue. It doesn't make them go away," she said. Pauline Brown, of 93 Nashua Road, agreed. She said the high water table will be an issue no matter how many units are built. "Whether we have 672 or 384 units, the wetlands issue remains because the land is wet," she said. After closing the public hearing the Board of Appeals now has 40 days to decide whether to approve the plan as is, approve it with conditions, or deny it. The next meeting will be Wednesday at 6 p.m.
  30. 30. Chelmsford debates how much growth is good By Jessica K. Wilson, Sun Correspondent 06/04/2009 CHELMSFORD -- New growth, slow growth or no growth? All three options were discussed passion- ately by residents at last night's Vision Attorney Doug Hausler on the need Quest 2020 public forum on the new to re-zone the“ WESTLANDS ” Chelmsford master plan. along with other sections of the town The session allowed the public to com- ment on how land use and zoning, hous- CLICK ing and economic development will be regulated in the new plan. HERE FOR "Stay focused on the agenda," said Jim Lane, chairman of the Master Plan Com- mittee. "Tonight's session is not a de- VIDEO CLIP bate." But the ground rules couldn't stop heated statements from flying. Residents and service providers grappled with the best way to provide affordable housing. "I've lived here since I was 5, and I can't afford to live here anymore," said Elaine Cho- quette. "Prevent developers from building McMansions. They drove the price of every- thing up." "Rezoning of town-owned parcels to build multifamily, affordable housing without using 40B would help," said David Hedison, executive director of the Chelmsford Housing Authority. "People say if you can't afford to live here, you shouldn't live here," Hedison added. "But I think it's a community, and a community consists of people who make $15 an hour and $1,000 an hour." "Residential growth needs to be redevel- Affordable housing opment," resident Craig Chemaly said. instead of Ball fields? "Any new housing is a cost burden to Chelmsford." Conservation Committee Chairman David McLaughlan wondered if the group should Click Here discuss "diverse" housing instead of just af- for V IDEO CLIP fordable housing. McLaughlanwas particu- larly interested in two-acre zoning, which would present higher property values and, thus, higher tax revenues."We've heard of exclusive zoning -- that's income discrimination," said John Edward. Developers also had ideas.
  31. 31. "I'd suggest you look into cottage communi- ties that are high den- Mixed Zoning on route 129 to attract sity in the center of the town, so services will be more businesses to town? accessible," local devel- oper Howard Hall said. Cynthia McLain of the Bi- cycle and Pedestrian Ad- visory Committee wanted to see more improve- Click ments to Vinal Square in North Chelmsford, includ- Here ing a commuter station for with pedestrian and bicy- cle access. VIDEO CLIP In response, Chemaly said, "There are places where people can walk to things -- they're called cities. I don't favor being a city." Craig Chemaly of the Slow Growth Initiative and David Hedison of the Chelmsford housing authorty share their thoughts on the subject matter. Click Here for VIDEO CLIP Economic development was the final topic of the night, with plenty of recommendations from citizens on places to start. "On (Route) 129, the buildings are all empty," said Debbie Dery. "We need to focus economic development there." Resident Steve Fastert added, "We need to attract an anchor business for Route 129 and use green initiatives to draw a green company." Former Selectman Philip Eliopoulos suggested rezoning the Route 129 area for mixed use, a proposal that was rejected by a previous Town Meeting. "Rezoning to mixed use for support businesses is necessary," Fastert said. "People will want to go out to lunch." Resident Tom DiPasquale added, "Incentives should be available for start-up companies in hopes that if the businesses do develop, they can rent or buy larger properties in town." According to Lane, the entire master plan planning process, including consulting fees and ini- tial implementation, will cost $110,000. A draft of the master plan is scheduled to be available for the Spring 2010 Town Meeting.
  32. 32. Plans move forward for new N. Chelmsford water plant By Rita Savard, 6/02/2009 CHELMSFORD -- After making it over a major hurdle, the North Chelmsford Water District said plans to build a $7.8 million water-treatment plant are now moving forward. Giving their first report before town officials in years, representatives for North Water last night said the district is paying $15,500 to National Grid for rights to build an access road. National Grid failed to grant the district the easement last year, stalling construction on the new plant. Last week, National Grid finally approved access, said Paul Howard of Tata and Howard, the water district's consulting engineer. In the meantime, Howard said North Water has installed pH monitors at its well field off Richardson Road to meet mandates set by the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection for safe drinking water. The $7.8 million plant, designed to improve the quality of North Chelmsford's drinking water, was supposed to break ground in March but a string of setbacks has put the project months behind schedule. The district also has to contend with several abutters who have hired an attorney over the proposed 13,000- square-foot facility. The abutters, also water customers, argue that they already have received bills for the mul- timillion-dollar project, which they allege they didn't know was being built. They've raised questions about the need for such a plant to serve only 2,800 connections. Water customers also argue that notices detailing specifics on such a large-scale project should have gone out with their water bills. About a half-dozen abutters filed into the selectmen's meeting to hear the district's re- port. "We know they have a job to do, but we just don't like the way it was done," said Martha Gilchrist. "We're paying $7.8 million over 30 years," added Janet Spurrell. "We can't afford it. We don't need a new plant." Selectman George Dixon, who lives in North Chelmsford, asked Howard if building a new plant was necesary. Commissioners said the plant is necessary to improve the quality of North Chelmsford's drinking water. Howard said last night that a cost analysis showed taking water from Lowell would cost North Chelmsford resi- dents more in the long run, adding another $600,000 a year to operating costs. Lowell City Manager Bernie Lynch has previously called that cost analysis inaccurate, adding that Lowell would waive any administration fees for the connection. But Water Superintendent Bruce Harper has said that the current connection to Lowell is for emergency purposes only, and to draw water from the city regularly would also require a costly upgrade to the current water system. Selectmen Chairwoman Clare Jeannotte asked Howard why and when North Water began changing the way it bills municipal buildings. According to Town Manager Paul Cohen, North Water was providing the town with free water in exchange for an opportunity to buy into the town's health insurance until 2005, when the North District began sending bills to the town for municipal buildings drawing water in North Chelmsford. Harper said the town has always been billed for municipal use, but now with meters installed at every building, "they're actually being charged for what they use." The district said it would provide the town with more information on billing. Howard said the district expects to advertise for bids for construction on the plant in July. North Water will appear before the Chelmsford Planning Board for a public hearing on June 24. From the PLANNING BOARD MEETING CLICK MAY 27th with the NORTH CHELMSFORD WATER DISTRICT. HERE More Public Hearing? Close Public Hearing? Re-Open Public Hearing? That is the Question? for Planning Board to the North Water District.: VIDEO “Show us the Plan?”