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In-Town Report 10 04 09


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The latest IN TOWN REPORT, as prepared and edited by Roy Earley, a Town Meeting Representative from Precinct Six.
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 TOWN REPORT Table of Contents

* State Tax Revenues - below expectations - local aid at risk
* Special Town Election, Tuesday, October 6th
* Jon Kurland & Building Committee - Ltrs to Editor - New Facility Election
* Center Fire Station - VIDEO
* 5th Annual Farm Fair - PHOTOS
* Politically Incorrect Show - VIDEO & PHOTOS
* Selectman Eric Dahlberg running for State Senate
* Zoning door re-opens for more 40B developments
* Selectman name affordable housing committee - VIDEO
* Town Manager Paul Cohen - Q & A
* North Chelmsford Church negotiating Billboard Deal
* Changes coming to town's trash collection
* Chelmsford Schools Foundation Spelling Bee - NOV 5th
* TM Rep's Public Input Session comments about schools - VIDEO
* Chelmsford receiving $7.28 million for school building projects
* 1,500 sign petition against proposed Rte 40 Asphalt Plant
* Support our Town - Coffee Talk

Thanks go out to everyone who volunteers to help keep Chelmsford one of the best communities in the State!

Tom Christiano
Town Meeting Representative
Precinct 9

Thurs 7:00 AM; Sundays 11:00 AM... Chelmsford Cable TV Channel 8

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In-Town Report 10 04 09

  1. 1. Deb Jones at the 5th annual farm fair September 26th 2009 Photo by Tom Christiano
  2. 2. Tax-revenue crunch raises threat of local-aid cuts, state layoffs cuts By Matt Murphy, 10/03/2009 BOSTON -- The deja-vu cycle of declining state revenue may force another round of local-aid cuts and state layoffs in this year's budget, Gov. Deval Patrick warned yesterday, as he announced that September tax revenue came in $243 million below expecta- tions. Patrick, after meeting with his Cabinet, said more layoffs are likely, and local-aid cuts are "certainly on the table." The state took in $243 million less than expected in September, one of the first big collection months in the fiscal year. The poor per- formance comes after Beacon Hill lawmakers hiked the state sales and alcohol taxes, doing little to blunt the ongoing effects of the recession. "We have more work to do, and we will get it done as we have in the past -- by being tough-minded about the tough choices in front of us, and by being mindful that these are not just numbers on a balance sheet we're dealing with, but people whose vital services and livelihood are at stake," Patrick said. The governor said he and his administration will work with the Legislature and economists over the next few weeks to revise his rev- enue estimates for the rest of the year, and offer a plan to close the budget gap by the end of the month. Last year, Patrick went through four rounds of budget cutting, including a $128 million slash to local aid in January. Patrick has already requested expanded budget-cutting powers from the Legislature that would allow him to consider cuts to local aid, but has thus far been rebuffed. "I think it's as bad as we could have possibly expected," said Sen. Steve Panagiotakos, a Lowell Democrat and chairman of the Senate's Ways and Means Committee. "It's disappointing and disheartening, but it's the reality of the current economic situation." Panagiotakos said cutting aid to cities and towns will always be a last resort, but it remains to be seen whether cutting from other areas of the budget will be enough. "Local aid is always an area we try to protect until that last moment, because it's always very difficult for schools, let's say, to cut teachers in the middle of the year," he said. "Whatever we do now, we need to do it looking at the whole year, solving the problem for the rest of the year. That number will dictate the choices." Income-tax collections were down $259 million, or 21 percent, over last year and came in $58 million below the monthly benchmark. The other major driver in the budget deficit was the slow pace of corporate and business taxes, which declined another $116 million from the same month last year and came in $144 million below projections. Sales-tax collections were actually up $46 million due to the increase in the sales tax to 6.25 percent, but those numbers still failed to match up to early estimates that had figured on an extra $37 million last month from the sales tax. "I'm not shocked by the numbers. We all knew we were going to have a challenging year. The problem is this. The governor has had three years to address what everyone knew was coming and he hasn't done it. It's almost like sticking your head in the sand and hoping for the best," said. Rep. Lewis Evangelidis, a Holden Republican. Patrick said his administration has already managed through a $7 billion budget gap over the past two years, combining spending cuts with the elimination of 1,400 state jobs. The state also used a significant amount of federal stimulus money and one-time "rainy day" funds to plug holes in the budget this year Patrick stressed that Massachusetts is not alone, with 47 other states facing similar budget crises, but said he is encouraged by positive signs in the housing market and the slowed rate of job losses. All local lawmakers contacted yesterday said cutting local aid would be a last resort, but many were not optimistic that it could be avoided. "That may have to happen," said Sen. Susan Fargo, D-Lincoln. "I don't know that we have much of a choice, and the problem is that once we give (the governor) the power, we have no say." Rep. Jim Arciero, D-Westford, cast his first vote as a member of the Legislature in January against giv - ing Patrick the expanded authority to cut local aid. "The situation right now is difficult and sobering, but it's the fiscal reality we're in," Arciero said. "We haven't found the bottom yet and everything is on the table, unfortunately. Cutting local aid is the last possible option."
  3. 3. QUESTION 1: Shall the Town of Chelmsford be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds to be issued (i) to acquire four parcels of land, containing a total of 16.97 acres, more or less, and the 92,844+/- squarefoot building thereon located at 9 Alpha Road in Chelmsford, which parcels are shown as Lots 12,16,17 and 18 on Assessors' Map 86 Block 328, and constitute the entire premises described in deeds recorded in the Middlesex North Registry of Deeds in Book 20818, Pages 248 and 250, Book 6126, Page 30 and Book 6148, Page 230, and (ii) to fund the design and the redevelopment of such land and building into a Department of Public Works facility, including related appraisal, survey, legal and other costs incidental and related thereto? QUESTION 2: Shall the Town of Chelmsford be allowed to exempt from the provisions of proposition two and one-half, so-called, the amounts required to pay for the bonds to be issued in order to fund the design and construction of a new town center fire station headquarters facility on a portion of the 8.69 acre parcel of Town-owned land located at the corner of Wilson Street and Chelmsford Street identified as Lot 5 on Assessors' Map 73, Block 289, including related survey, legal, and other costs incidental and related thereto?
  4. 4. Projects in hands of voters Concern in Chelmsford about turnout with special election By Rita Savard, 09/30/2009 CHELMSFORD -- The fate of $25 million in municipal building projects rests in the hands of voters. But as town officials presented plans for a new Fire Department headquarters and a Department of Public Works facility to a nearly empty room last night, some wondered if turnout for Tuesday's special election will hit a record low. Fewer than two dozen people, most of whom were town officials, attended a public gathering held inside the Chelmsford Police Station's community room. "I've never seen anything like this before," said Town Meeting Representative Bill Dalton, also a former selectman. before "Usually with issues this big, people are climbing the walls. They're out holding signs and making their voices heard. Because it's been so quiet, it's hard to tell what's going to happen on Tuesday." Tuesday. Question No. 1 will ask whether voters want to relocate the DPW from its current location on Richardson Road to a larger building at 9 Alpha Road for about $13 million. Question No. 2 will ask voters to approve building a new fire station head- quarters on the corner of Chelmsford and Wilson streets for about $12 million. In August, Town Meeting voted to send both projects to a town-wide vote. Supporters have said the crippled economy presents a unique opportunity to save money on rehabbing two out-of-date facilities by taking advantage of the lowest con- struction costs and borrowing rates in years. Opponents argue the economy has taken its toll on taxpayers, who can not afford any more tax increases. Town Manager Paul Cohen said even if both projects are approved, it wouldn't impact the typical single-family tax bill until fiscal 2013, when it would climb $62. It's expected to hit its highest rate the following year, increasing to about $73. "Broken down, that's about $1.40 a week," said Fire Chief Jack Parow. week "That's less than the price of a cup of coffee." coffee. After fiscal 2014, the cost of the debt exclusion would continue to decline, until returning to current levels in 2020. In Chelmsford's case, current debt exclusions include funds borrowed for school building projects and the town sewer proj- ect, and cost the typical single family about $460 -- a slice of the $5,069 annual tax bill. Cohen stressed that Tuesday's vote is not a Proposition 2 1/2 override, which is a permanent tax increase. Instead, it's a debt-exclusion vote, which would increase taxes temporarily to cover payments for borrowed money. Taxes to pay for the loans decrease over time until the loans are paid off. If only one project is approved, it would keep the town under the current $460 debt exclusion mark as payments for school buildings and the sewer project also continue to decline. Permanent Building Committee Chairman Pat Maloney said the longer Chelmsford waits to move on both projects, "the worse off we are." Maloney said there's already been an increase in construction materials, including steel and copper. Once the economy improves, Maloney said it will tack on another $1 million to $2 million to construction costs every year. The proposed 27,041-square-foot fire-station headquarters would replace the 3,500-square-foot building on North Road. The new building would address the Fire Department's need for training and office space, and also include five vehicle bays. Maloney said the town can expect to save $20 million by moving the DPW from its current dilapidated facility into an exist- ing building, as opposed to building a new one. Although selectman voted against building a new fire station, 3-2, over the summer, Selectman Sean Scanlon said he made a mistake when shooting it down. After taking a closer look at the building plans, and touring the fire station to get an up-close glimpse of the crumbling cement floor, Scanlon said he now supports the move. Selectmen Clare Jeannotte and Eric Dahlberg voted against the fire-station proposal, while Pat Wojtas and George Dixon supported it. In a separate vote, selectmen voted 4-1 to recommend relocating the DPW, with Dahlberg opposing. The Fi- nance Committee unanimously supports both projects, saying it will save the town money to do both now. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday. The fire station will host a final open house of its facility from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, and the DPW will open its doors to the public for tours from noon to 3 p.m.
  5. 5. What Say Y ? ou ******************************************************************** Time is right for Chelmsford to construct new DPW and fire facilities The Lowell Sun 09/28/2009 BY JON H. KURLAND The voters of Chelmsford have to determine whether to approve the construction of a new fire station and DPW fa- cility. We have known since 1987 that there were structural defects in the Center Fire Station. Moreover, the DPW facil- ity has been deteriorating for years. A committee was established to address these concerns. For two years the DPW/Fire committee, composed of qualified citizens and subject-matter experts, studied our current DPW/Fire service delivery models and determined that our DPW and Center Fire Station facilities are in dire need of re- placement. According to structural engineers, the station may last a few more years. It was built in 1952 when fire apparatus was much smaller and lighter than today. The last two ladder trucks that we bought cost an additional $225,000 ($75,000 for the first truck and $150,000 for the last truck) because they had to be specially built to get into this outmoded and dilapidated facility. There have been instances where trucks have been damaged when being backed into the garage, resulting in additional town expenses for repairs. The committee reviewed several loca- tions and determined that the Wilson Street location is best suited for a new centrally located fire station head- quarters. The Wilson Street site offers the best and most cost-effective compromise in terms of central location, easy access, response time, and minimum site preparation, a tremendous cost advantage. The time to act is now, when construction and money costs are low and con- struction companies are hungry. Every year we wait will add 4 perecent to 6 per- cent to project costs, and when we are finally compelled to act, we will have to accept a Band-Aid rather than a permanent fix, because to do otherwise will be too costly. The committee scored a home run when it comes to replacing the current DPW facilities. After a thorough review of all locations, they found that buying a vacant building with adjoining land on Alpha Road will reduce the cost of a DPW facility from $31 million to $13 million. Following this recommendation will save the town even more money on the operations side because housing our DPW equipment indoors (equipment is currently stored in the open) will add at least five years to the life of the equipment as well as save labor costs. DPW employees freed from the maintenance labor associated with outside equipment storage will now have more time to provide direct services such as road maintenance and snow re- moval. The Finance Committee voted to support both projects, recognizing that significant savings will result by financing projects when interest rates and the cost of labor and materials are at historical lows. Additionally, Town Meeting representatives overwhelmingly voted in favor of both projects. The way the bonding would be structured ensures there would be no property-tax increases until 2013, at which time taxes would increase an average of $76 per year for two years before dropping down to this year's level and falling every year thereafter. The conservative fi- nancial models used by the committee anticipated bonding interest rates in excess of those currently available. By addressing these issues now, we reduce the cost and solve two long-standing challenges cost-effectively. There- fore, it is possible that the cost to taxpayers may be even less than projected. It is now up to voters to decide whether to approve the debt exclusion so that these projects may proceed. We certainly don't want to be looking back five years from now, when we are forced to address these critical needs, to a time when we could have made a permanent fix at a fraction of the future cost. JON H. KURLAND Candidate for Chelmsford Board of Selectmen ********************************************************************
  6. 6. Video submitted by a member of the fire department Video of current center station...please pass it on. Thank you. CLICK HERE for Video Chelmsford: It's time for upgrades to benefit all The Lowell Sun 10/02/2009 By Chelmsford Permanent Building Committee: Patrick Maloney, Gary Persichetti, David Duane, Eric Johnson, Joseph Greene, Jack Parow and James Pearson. Now is the time to upgrade our Fire Department and Department of Public Works facilities. Not only because our buildings have exceeded their useful life and are grossly undersized to safely and efficiently support operations, but also to take advantage of the multimillion-dollar savings identified through several years of exhaustive analyses by several town appointed committees and outside professional experts. In this column, we outline the reasoning behind the need for new facilities, the savings that will be realized by moving forward with these proj- ects today, and the benefits to each department and the community. From just a brief tour of the existing facilities it is clear that many deficiencies exist that impact the day-to-day operations of the DPW and the Fire Department: DPW: Due to inadequate space, the DPW operations are spread throughout town in four different locations, including rented property at a cost of $74,000 per year, segregating and reducing the efficiency of operations. The existing facilities at Richardson Road are some of the oldest unimproved municipal facilities in town. These undersized and antiquated facilities result in poor and unsafe working conditions for our employees, and force a portion of the multimillion-dollar fleet to be stored in an unprotected environment, reducing the life expectancy of the equipment and impacting the DPW's ability to respond to the needs of the community. Fire Department: The existing headquarters is located in a facility that was built in 1952 for a much smaller volunteer fire department serving a rural community of fewer than 10,000 people. Due to limited space within the existing building, many of the basic code compliant and Na- tional Fire Protection Association-recommended spaces do not exist. In fact, some of the Fire Department's apparatus must be specially or- dered to fit within the existing building, adding substantial cost to the purchase price of this equipment. Furthermore, the basement of the station is occupied by temporary structural bracing to support the deteriorating apparatus floor above, further reducing available useable space within the existing building. These deficiencies contribute to poor and unsafe working conditions for our firefighters and negatively im- pact the efficiency of the Fire Department operations. Moving forward with the purchase and renovation of an existing vacant warehouse for the DPW on Alpha Road and the construction of a new Fire Department headquarters on a town-owned parcel off Wilson Street, as outlined in the earlier completed feasibility study, will save Chelmsford more than $20 million in new construction costs. In addition, funding of these projects will come at a time when construction prices and borrowing costs are at historic lows, which will save the town additional money in the near and long term. Due to the town's cur- rent declining debt for capital projects, approval of these two new projects will result in a maximum increase of $76 per year for the years 2014 and 2015 and substantially declining to $36 per year for 2016. This debt will quickly further decline after 2016 as the debt decreases each year. To delay these projects now will likely result in the community paying much more money for the facilities as construction costs in- crease along with the improving economy. In addition, the town may lose the opportunity to purchase an adequately sized existing building for the DPW that is significantly less then new construction. This lost opportunity would add substantial costs to the replacement of the DPW fa- cilities. In addition to the financial benefits which would be realized by moving forward with these projects now, there are many significant operational improvements that will benefit each department and the community at large: CLICK HERE for whole letter
  7. 7. Chelmsford Historical Society Farm Fair Tom Christiano October 4, 2009 The Chelmsford Historical Society held its 5th An- nual Farm Fair on Saturday, September 26th at the- Barrett-Byam Homestead, located onByam Road inChelmsford. The nearby photos illustrate what a great day it turned out to be this year (after getting rained out last year, it was quite a relief to have a beautifully clear and sunny day). The Farm Fair featured: local farmers selling their produce & apple cider, hay rides, pony rides and demonstrations of old time cider making, as well as cloth spinning & weaving. The Barrett-Byam home was open for tours of the historical items on display. An art exhibit included many historical photographs of various sites around Chelmsford. A boy scout troop held a BBQ and George Simonian was there with his home made jams and jellies. The musical group “Two Cat Folk” and some other per- formers entertained us throughout the afternoon with their folk music. Photos by Tom Christiano
  8. 8. Politically Incorrect ON THE AIR with Tom Christiano Sept 22, 2009, Topics: SPECIAL TOWN ELECT ION Tue sday - Oc to be r 6, 2009 Ballot Question 1 - Department of Public W orks Facility Ballot Question 2 - Fire Stat ion Headquarters (l to r) Fir e Chie f J ac k Par ow , To w n Me e ting Re ps Mary Tiano, Tom Christiano & Debbie D ery , DPW D ire ct or J im Pe arso n CLICK HERE TO VIEW THE SHOW NEXT on Politically Incorrect Starting October 6th Tues & Weds 8:30 PM Thurs 7:00 AM Sundays 11:00 AM Chelmsford Cable TV Channel 8 John Belskis Colleen Stansfield Tom Golden Jim Arciero Chairman of Planning Board Chelmsford’s Chelmsford’s the repeal of & Town Meeting State State 40B coalition Representative Representative Representative Precinct 6
  9. 9. Selectman makes it a race for GOP in Senate primary By Rita Savard, 10/01/2009 Eric CHELMSFORD -- Casting himself as a fiscal conservative with an independent voice, Selectman Eric Dahlberg Dahlberg threw his hat into the ring yesterday for a shot at the 3rd Middlesex District Senate seat. "The state Senate needs more independent-minded thinkers to help get us out of the economic mess we're in," said Dahlberg, a registered Republican. "Massachusetts is hemorrhaging people, jobs, money and businesses. Voting to raise taxes at a time like this was the wrong move." Dahlberg, 31, is conservative when it comes to spending but supports abortion rights and gay couples having the right to marry. "If that's your thing, go for it," Dahlberg said of gay marriage. "I believe government should stay out of people's personal lives." Besides a stint working as an aide for former state Senate Minority Leader Brian Lees, Dahlberg is a newcomer to politics. He beat incum- bent Sam Chase for selectman in 2008 after a grass-roots campaign in which he spent weeks knocking on thousands of doors and asking for residents' votes. Dahlberg also came out against a controversial Proposition 2 1/2 override at a time when the economy was headed south. He emerged the victor in each of the town's nine voter precincts. Although he's only halfway through his first term on the board, Dahlberg said he believes he can win a race against Lincoln Democrat Susan Fargo, who has held the Senate seat since Sandi 1997. Martinez and Eric But in order to challenge Fargo, Dahlberg will first have to beat Sandi Martinez, another Chelmsford Republican running for the seat. And Martinez, who's campaigning for the third time, said she's determined to race against Fargo this year and win. "I've established a lot of groundwork during the past campaigns," Martinez said. "A lot of people know who I am and what I'm about, so I'm very confident this is the year." An active member of the Chelmsford Republican Town Committee, Martinez also served as a Town Meeting representative for seven years. She lives on Carter Drive with her husband and five children, and owns and operates an information technology com- pany. Martinez said she's running to restore the voter's voice on Beacon Hill, adding that legislators have ignored pleas to roll back taxes and stop wasteful spending. She also wants the state to adopt a bill, similar to those in Rhode Island, Texas and South Carolina, that requires transparency in government. "If legislators knew that it was easy to view every transaction online, they're going to be a little more prudent about where the money goes and how they spend it," she said. On running against Dahlberg, Martinez said, "I think Republican primaries are good for the party, and I look forward to a hardy race against him." Teddy Dahlberg works at the Commonwealth Health In- surance Connecter in Boston, part of the state's program to provide health insur- ance to more residents. He lives on Boston Road with his wife, Suzanne, and their dog, Teddy. He has a bachelor's degree in history from Dartmouth College and a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University. Unlike Martinez, who has been down this campaign trail before, Dahlberg will have to make his name known throughout the district's nine communities, which, be- sides Chelmsford, include Bedford, Carlisle, Concord, Lexington, Lincoln, Sudbury, Waltham and Weston. But, he adds, "I only knew six people in Chelmsford when I decided to run for Suzanne the Board of Selectmen." and Eric When asked what he would do to help the state recover from an economic slump, Dahlberg said, "I definitely would not vote to raise the sales tax or income tax."
  10. 10. Submitted by "The Dahlberg Committee" Chelmsford Selectman Eric Dahlberg To Announce Candidacy for State Senate in Third Middlesex District Chelmsford, Mass – Chelmsford Selectman Eric Dahlberg will soon officially announce his candidacy for state senate in Massachusetts’ Third Middlesex District. Describing the timing of his announcement as “the start of a marathon, not a sprint,” Eric has filed paperwork establishing a campaign committee, which has already swung into action with the implementation of an aggres- sive fundraising plan. Eric currently sits on the Chelmsford Board of Selectmen, where his priorities have been: serving as an independent voice for the taxpayers, streamlining town government, and improving the local business climate. He was elected to the Board in April 2008. Eric’s professional background is in the field of health policy: he currently works at the Health Connector, the award-winning agency established in 2006 to implement the Commonwealth's landmark health care reform law. He previously worked at the US Department of Health and Human Services and as a staffer to Massachusetts Senate Republican Leader Brian Lees, who has signed on as a member of the campaign's Steering Committee. Eric also worked for the late US Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan of New York while pursuing his graduate degree in Washington DC. Eric received a BA in history from Dartmouth College in 2000 and a Master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University in 2002. He and his wife Suzanne live in their first home with their dog, Teddy. “I am running because I know I can effectively represent the interests of the people, businesses and communities of the Third Middlesex district in the Senate,” said Eric. “I am running Senate because I will bring an independent perspective to Beacon Hill. I am running because I believe we can do better .” The Dahlberg Committee has already begun building an army of supporters across the Third Middlesex District, and planning is underway for a series of kick-off events this Fall. “I intend to run a lean, mean, high-tech campaign operation ,” said Eric. A formal announcement, to include the campaign's web site and leadership team, is coming soon.
  11. 11. To 40B or not to 40B ? The BOSTON GLOBE ************************************************************************************************************* Zoning door reopens for low-cost housing Town loses ground in its effort to meet state-mandated target By Katheleen Conti, Globe Staff | September 24, 2009 When a 220-unit apartment building in Andover recently converted entirely to market-rate rental units, it put the town’s low-cost housing stock below an important threshold. Now at 8.6 percent, Andover’s affordable housing numbers have fallen below the minimum 10 percent required under the state’s controversial 40B “antisnob’’ law that allows developers to sidestep certain local zoning regulations if they reserve at least 25 percent of a project’s units for below-market-rate homes. The decline has created better opportunities for 40B developers looking to enter the community, despite the general lull in new construction projects during the recession. And it’s not just in Andover. When a community is under the 10 percent low-income housing level - and most are - it has less leverage over the proposals it can reject or the restrictions it can impose. Some projects that are under appeal, even some that had local rejections overturned by the state, are back on the table in other communities, including Chelmsford, Billerica, and North Andover. Lisa Schwarz, Andover’s senior town planner, said town zoning officials welcome projects that will increase Andover’s affordable housing stock, and they try to work with developers on appropriate conditions. A few years ago the town was flush with applications for 40B developments, but they’ve since slowed down, Schwarz said. “There’s definitely a feeling of supporting affordable housing, especially in the right location and if it’s meeting the right need,’’ she said. “There have been a few rejected when a developer didn’t agree to conditions.’’ Among the supported projects, she said, is Wild Rose Estates, whose developers applied to build 12 condominium units but were persuaded by the town to cut the number to four in 2005. Of the four, one three-bedroom town home is affordable and eligible to be purchased by a first- time home buyer through an upcoming lottery. A project that has resurfaced is Taylor Cove, whose developer, Todd Wacome, recently won an appeal with the state’s Housing Appeals Com- mittee over the town’s rejection. He is proposing a 32-unit condominium on 12 acres off of River Street. The project will be before town officials again soon. Schwarz has calculated that it would take about 110 affordable units to put the town back over the 10 percent minimum, but added there is no timeline to get there, only a goal. Chelmsford is also working to increase its affordable housing stock, which is between 7.5 and 8 percent of the town’s total housing , said Evan Belansky , community development director. Historically, Chelmsford has been very attractive to 40B developers , likely because of its location and proximity to highways , Belansky said. “ Before the economic downturn, we got our fair share of applications. During the height of 40B we got two or three a year, ’’ Belansky said. “ Chelmsford is rumored to have had the highest number of applications in Eastern Mass. . . . Chelmsford reviews 40Bs very closely .’’ Belansky said the town’s most recent approval is Hillside Gardens on Route 110, which was scaled down from 59 mixed-use units to 44. The project has been opposed by residential and commercial abutters, Belansky said. At a recent Master Plan Committee meeting, concerns were raised that the development is too close to an industrial area. Belansky said commercial abutters appealed the project on the grounds of public safety. Some Chelmsford residents attended a Board of Selectmen meeting last week opposing a proposed two-unit rental development on Arlington Street, filed as a so-called “friendly 40B’’ under the Local Ini - tiative Program, which serves to form a partnership between the developer and the town to shape a project. Residents, however, claim the project would harm nearby wetlands, Belansky said. Selectmen continued the hearing to Oct. 5. Chelmsford residents are also appealing a recently approved 384-unit apartment development, but this one is in Billerica. The complex would be on Rangeway Road on the Chelmsford line, said Jane Nolan, head clerk for Billerica’s Zoning Board of Appeals. Originally, the project’s New Jersey-based develop - ers proposed a 672-unit complex dubbed Aspen Apartments, but it was scaled back after months of debate, Nolan said. With Billerica’s affordable housing stock at around 6 percent of the town’s total housing, Nolan said Aspen Apartments would help the town meet its goal of approving 95 affordable units per year. Under 40B laws, communities that voluntarily increase their affordable housing stock by half-a-percent per calendar year receive a one-year exemption from 40B proposals. In North Andover, some area residents have opposed the 32-unit 40B development known as Orchard Village at 1001 Turnpike St. The ZBA approved the project last year, but the developer filed an appeal with the state regarding some of the conditions imposed by the town. That project is now back at the local level, said Albert P. Manzi III, chairman of the Zoning Board of Appeals. As communities try to strike a balance between meeting affordable housing quotas and residents’ concerns over the projects, the future of the 40-year-old Chapter 40B law is uncertain. Early this month the state attorney general’s office approved a petition by the nonprofit Coalition to Repeal 40B to allow voters to decide in November 2010. Members of the coalition must collect 66,593 signatures by Dec. 2 to get their petition on the ballot.
  12. 12. Chelmsford claim against 40B developer denied By Chloe Gotsis/ staff writer Sep 22, 2009 Orchard Woods development off of Turnpike Road Chelmsford — The town of Chelmsford’s claim of excessive profits against Orchard Woods LLC and ALTID Enterprises and developer Raymond Carye was denied in Middlesex Land Court last week, according to Town Manager Paul Cohen. The jury handed down a verdict in favor of the defendant finding that Carye’s profits from the Chapter 4OB affordable housing complex did not violate rules governing the amount of profit his company could realize. Under Chapter 40B, the developer’s profit cannot exceed 20 percent, Cohen said. Chelmsford has 30 days to file an appeal and there has been no decision on whether to file that appeal, Cohen said. ********************************* BOARD OF SELECTMEN NAME AFFORDABLE HOUSING COMMITTEE Appointed members from various Town Boards include: George Dixon - Board Of Selectmen, Bill Gilet - Zoning Board of Appeals, Cori Rose - Conservation Committee, Georgie Mueller - Chelmsford Housing Authority, and Susan Carter Sullivan - Planning Board. Plus two Chelmsford residents CLICK HERE to watch the Board of Selectmen vote for the two residents who will sit on the committee.
  13. 13. ASK THE MANAGER Q&A with Chelmsford’s Town Manager Paul Cohen In-Town Report : Concerning the new strip mall where Skip's restaurant used to be. First the good news: I have noticed that during certain times of the day the parking lot is very full. The bad news: Café Madrid is still the only business located in that mall. Do you know if there are new businesses headed into that location or are the owners still looking for tenants to fill the open spaces. Paul Cohen : There have been no building permits filed for any interior improvements at the other locations in this plaza. The property owner continues to search for potential tenants. ITR : On a related note, one store front is equipped with a drive-thru, is it possible for a restaurant like McDonalds to go into the strip mall? PC: It is possible for a fast food restaurant to locate in the strip mall; however, it is not probable. You may recall that a few years ago, there was a Wendy’s restaurant located in a strip mall in Westford across the street from the Applebee’s location. The fast food franchises generally only locate in a site that meets the dimensions for their model building plan, which is generally a stand alone building --------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ITR : What is the current status of putting up a cell tower at the Chelmsford Country Club? PC: There are no active plans to obtain Town Meeting approval for a wireless communications tower at the Chelmsford Country Club. There is interest from a wireless broadband company that is seeking to construct a tower in this area. However, I have not received any simulated image photography or other detailed plans that would illustrate the appearance of a wireless communications tower at this location.
  14. 14. ITR : What is going on with all the heavy equipment and mountains of dirt at the old Route 3 Cinema site (& possible site of the new Super Stop & Shop) ? PC: The heavy equipment and earth materials serve as a staging area for the sewer work being performed in the Highlands section of Lowell. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ITR : Concerning the latest 40B proposal to go before the town, "Westland's Place" There has been some confusion over the developer's representative to the board. Some news sources wrote he was a lawyer when in reality he is not a lawyer but a consultant. Is it unusual not to have a legitimate lawyer present a 40B proposal to the town boards and commit tees? The reason I ask is, once when I was sitting in on a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting concerning the 40B project "Hillside Gardens", the commercial abutters had a consultant speak on their behalf and the attorney for the developers argued that the consultant could not speak before the board on the 40B matter because he was not a lawyer or an abutter. PC: An applicant decides who provide representation before the Board of Selectmen. It is not re- quired to be an attorney or an engineer. An applicant may also have more than one person represent a project before the Board of Selectmen. The Zoning Board of Appeals serves as an adjudicatory board regarding a 40B application. This is not the case with respect to the Board of Selectmen’s consideration as to whether to endorse a Local Initiative Project. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- ITR : With the Special Election right around the corner, why has there been a lack of town wide publicity on the two projects under consideration? (I realize there have been "open houses" and a public forum for residents at the police station. But there are more voters than can fit into the police station training room) PC: Town officials have provided public notice of the special election on numer- ous opportunities. The Board of Selectmen has made an announcement at the beginning of each of its meetings. Informational flyers publicizing the election date have been circulated at the library, senior center, town hall, and other municipal buildings. Election banners will be displayed in the town center and in North Chelmsford. Election information is listed on the home page of the Town’s website. Town officials have appeared on various cable television pro- grams to promote the election. I am open to any suggestions that you may have that could further publicize the date of the upcoming special election.
  15. 15. The BOSTON GLOBE ***************************** Six overlooked Mass. towns By Rona Fischman, Correspondent Overlooked towns: Chelmsford By Rona Fischman, Correspondent According to Pat Magnell, there is a lot to like in Chelmsford: "Chelmsford is located north of Boston at the junction of Routes 3 and 495. Housing is varied in style and price ranges. "In 2007, Money Magazine named Chelmsford one of the 100 best places to live in America. Why? A great combina - tion of historical preservation and new growth." Photo: A barn with a working clock tower in Chelmsford, a Globe "home of the week" in October 2008. ***************************** Chelmsford church eyes town billboard By Rita Savard, 09/29/2009 CHELMSFORD -- They've become a sign of the economic times. Revenue-boosting billboards are on the fast track to springing up in Chelmsford, and the Congregational Church might become the first to plant one. Town Manager Paul Cohen said the church in North Chelms- ford, which owns property on Oak Hill just north of Scotty Hollow, has been in negotiations with a billboard company and could ink a deal within weeks. A representative of the church was unable to be reached yesterday, but Cohen said that if the Planning Board grants the church a special permit, and the church has made a deal with a company, then it could become the proprietor of the town's first billboard. In the spring, Town Meeting approved the creation of billboard overlay districts to help bring in up to $90,000 in additional revenue. The new bylaw allows for no more than four billboards in the specially zoned areas, but until now there were plans to build only two, one near Chelmsford High School and another at Oak Hill on Route 3. Although the church, located at 15 Princeton St., is also seeking to place a billboard in the Oak Hill area, Cohen said "it won't box (the town) out" from building a sign in the area as well. The new bylaw requires that billboards must be at least 500 feet from a residence and at least 1,000 feet from another sign. The two billboards in the Oak Hill area would meet those guidelines, Cohen said. A representative of the church has said the congregation plans to use its new revenue stream to pay for church repairs
  16. 16. and maintenance, Cohen said. While the town's bylaw also requires that a billboard must have some sort of public benefit to the town, Cohen said the town has not had any discussion with the church yet as to town what that benefit would be. On Oct. 19, Town Meeting will vote on three more articles to erect billboards in Chelmsford. The articles will include clarify- ing language in the bylaw so uses conform with the overlay districts, allowing the School Committee to identify school land as surplus and pass control over to selectmen, and finally, to give selectmen approval to enter a 20-year lease for a bill- board. The billboard proposal was initially brought forward by Chelmsford resident Sal Lupoli, owner of the Sal's Pizza chain, as a way to generate money for a new community athletic field. Lupoli, also the owner of several billboards, said outdoor adver- tising has the potential to drum up hundreds of thousands of dollars for the town. During spring Town Meeting, Lupoli explained that the MBTA was asking $175,000 as a minimum bid from companies to advertise on an MBTA billboard in Lowell along Interstate 495. "And that's just the minimum-bid package," Lupoli said. "I've seen projects go north of $200,000 for ad - package, vertising space along 495, and these are serious numbers." numbers Tyngsboro town officials also struck a deal this month with the landlord of a billboard. The billboard's owner agreed to pay the town $20,000 annually for 10 years, and 2 percent of the advertising revenue generated by the billboard annually thereafter in exchange for the OK to place a 65-foot high billboard on the northbound side of Route 3, behind Makepeace Road, just south of Exit 34. Lupoli has said Chelmsford could reap similar benefits. Although Town Meeting approved the overlay districts by a two-thirds majority vote, the idea did not sit well with some rep- resentatives. Fran McDougall said she did not want to see Chelmsford "tattooed" by billboards, "which in the end becomes graffiti." ***************************** MORE TRASH TALK Changes in town's trash collection Kevin Zimmerman/Staff Reporter 29.SEP.09 On Monday, the Board of Selectmen discussed proposed changes to how the town collects residents garbage. Town Manager Paul Cohen presented information he and Recycling/Solid Waste Coordinator Jennifer Almeida along with Carolyn Dann from MassDEP complied on how the town will move ahead with a new collection system. Chelmsford has joined with nearby communities on a regional solid waste disposal contract that begins July 1, 2010. The disposal rate will be $67 per ton of waste. In Chelmsford, residents will be provided with one 40-gallon container per household to be used for the new automated solid waste collection. In addition, recycling will occur on a weekly basis in what is called a single-stream collection, which means residents will no longer have to separate paper and plastic. The recycling bins currently in use will continue to work for the new collection. Cohen said the cost of this type of collection will remain at approximately the current $2 million level.
  17. 17. New twist on an old favorite Chelmsford Independent By Jesse A. Floyd/ staff writer GateHouse News Service Sep 27, 2009 There’s going to be a new twist on an old favorite when curtains rise on the annual Chelmsford Schools Foundation Spelling Bee. In years past, the foundation has been the sole organizer, chief cook and bottle- washer for the event. The bee has grown to become the group’s primary revenue source, awarding $36,122 in the first three years. The money pays for small grants to bolster curriculum, said foundation member Eric Andrus. But the logistics of the event were beginning to wear thin on the all-volunteer foundation. Enter the Chelms- ford Arts and Technology Education Fund, a quasi-public group formed at Town Meeting in 1994. “We were running out of gas a little,” Andrus said. “This energized us and it energized them.” The Arts and Technology Fund is paid for through voluntary donations on tax bills. Over the years, according to member Kirk Marshall, it has built an endowment of $50,000. The idea: Divide the work between the two groups, creating a deeper talent pool for both groups. For example, Andrus pointed out the Marshall has experience working on corporate fundraising, not always a strength with the foundation. The two groups have been meeting for several months now and everything seems to Kirk be in place for the bee on Nov. 5. The long-time hosts Peter and Paul Reynolds are in Marshall place, the venue has been rented and the rules are in place. As in past years, teams are adult-only. According to Marshall, there have been regular meetings and the two groups have worked well together in the partnership’s inaugural year. Plans are to split the money raised between the two organizations. What this means for the future isn’t clear, Andrus said. It’s working well and might work for other fundraisers in the future, but right now, the focus is on Nov. 5. “At the very least, it’s going to keep the bee going,” he said. People interested in taking part can log on to and download an entry form. There’s also a study guide of possible word choices at the foundation Web site. For anyone interested, last year’s winner was affenpinscher.
  18. 18. Town Meeting representative Danielle Evans speaks as a tax payer and a mother of a new kindergartner on the over crowding in the schools CLICK HERE FOR VIDEO CLIP ***************************************************************** State giving Chelmsford and Billerica millions for school work By Rita Savard, 10/02/2009 CHELMSFORD -- The Massachusetts School Building Authority has approved $321 million for school construction projects in 15 districts, including Chelmsford and Billerica. Authority Director Karen Craven said Wednesday the $321 million in state funding will combine with local funding for a total of $660 million to build or renovate three high schools, three middle schools and nine elementary schools. In Chelmsford, officials will receive $7.28 million of the state money for reimbursement on the McCarthy and Parker middle-school building projects. Town Manager Paul Cohen said it's good news considering that when the town approved the projects in 2004, there was a moratorium on state funding. " The town proceeded at risk to do these projects, not knowing for sur e if the m oney would come back," Cohen said. back B ut now that Chelmsford is g etting r eim bursed, the town can pay off its tem por ar y bor rowing notes, Cohen said. notes Last year, Chelmsford was also awarded $8.74 million for renovations at Chelmsford High School, giving the town a total of more than $16 million in state money. The MSBA has also awarded Billerica more than $17 million to construct a new Parker School. The bigger elementary school is planned to hold about 500 students, including 100 redistricted students from the overcrowded Dutile and Vin- ing elementary schools. Billerica's plans are still up in the air as the town must first pass a debt exclusion. "We're very close to getting this done," said Selectman Bob Accomando, who sits on the town's Permanent Building Committee, adding that the project must receive a two-thirds vote at Town Meeting and a two-thirds vote of the Board of Selectmen before going to a townwide ballot. "I'm 100 percent behind this project," Accomando said. "Even in tough economic times, we cannot let capital improve- ments suffer." If the measure passes, Billerica residents will pay between $50 and $100 more a year on their tax bills. The state will reimburse the town 55.69 percent for the total cost of the project. State Treasurer Tim Cahill has said the state funding will help reinvigorate the economy by creating jobs. The largest slice of state money was awarded to Wayland for renovations to the town's 50-year-old high school. Dennis Shaughnessey contributed to this report.
  19. 19. On The Border 1,500 sign petition opposing asphalt plant in Westford By Prudence Brighton, Sun Correspondent 09/22/2009 WESTFORD -- A petition signed by more than 1,500 residents opposed to the proposed Groton Road asphalt plant was presented last night to the Planning Board. Alisa Nakashian-Holsberg, who presented the petition, assured the board, "This drive is by no means over." Nakashian- Holsberg is a member of the Route 40 Clean Air Coalition, which sponsored the drive. She had a copy of the inch-thick document for each member of the Planning Board as well as one for the applicant, New- port Materials LLC. The board received the petition without comment except that it "will be in each member's packet for the next meeting." The discussion last night focused on civil-engineering aspects of the proposed plant, particularly fire safety, drainage and storm-water run-off. John Borgesi of Woodard and Curran highlighted 11 remaining engineering issues, including a proposal to use a 10,000- gallon cistern to provide the Fire Department with water in emergency situations. Board member Fred Palmer said, "I would be surprised and concerned if the fire engineer didn't ask for at last 20,000 gal- lons. The Fire Department would be very challenged with a 10,000-gallon cistern." Newport Materials has engaged a fire engineer to evaluate the cistern. Chris Lorrain of LandTech Consultants, the engineering and design firm working with Newport Materials, advised the board that asphalt has a very high flash point, unlike gasoline. Board member Dennis Galvin said he wants to know "exactly how the fire system works." He has asked for a presentation on special fire-protection features of the equipment. Galvin also asked if the Planning Board intends to have an independent study of the fire-safety issues done. Douglas Deschenes, the attorney representing Newport Materials, argued against such a review. "We have had several meetings with (Fire Lt.) Don Parsons about this," he said. "He gave us advice on our hiring an ex- pert. I would like the board to hear Mr. Parsons on this." Galvin said that in two recent cases, Parsons "deferred to our peer reviewer." Board member Andrea Peraner-Sweet suggested that the board ask Fire Chief Richard Rochon and Parsons to attend the next meeting. Some discussion also occurred last night regarding the visibility of the four silos that will be used in the manufacturing process. Some neighbors asked for information about what the final appearance of the silos would be and what they would look like from the street. Deschenes responded that Newport Materials several months ago placed a crane at the site that matched the height of the silos. It was there for two weeks for the Planning Board's inspection. "But we couldn't see it," one resident said. "That's the point," Deschenes answered. The facility is set 1,700 feet from the road and should not be visible, he added. Newport Materials last week received its air permit from the state Department of Environmental Protection for the facility based on the tests and studies it submitted.
  20. 20. COFFEE TALK SUPPORT OUR TOWN GET TOGETHE R AT THE J AV A ROOM by Tom Christiano On October st the first day of the new local option taxes in Chelmsford School Committee member Kathy Duffett organized a support our local busi nesses get together at the Java Room By the way the additional local option tax on a cup of cof fee would be less than cents Many local political & town leaders stopped by for some coffee & tea and to catch up with their Chelmsford friends including: Town Manager Paul Cohen State Representatives Tom Golden & Jim Arciero Selectmen Pat Wojtas Eric Dahlberg & George Dixon Selectmen candidates Jon Kurland & Matt Hanson former Selectmen Bill Dalton & Sam Chase Carol & Walter Cleven School Committee mem bers Angie Taranto & KathyDuffett Fire Chief Jack Parow & Deputy Fire Chief Mike Curran and many other town meet ing representatives came by to show support for our town and to talk with their friends This get together was so successful Kathy Duffett and Tom Christiano are planning a Winter Support our Town Coffee at the Java Room in mid December Photos by Tom Christiano
  21. 21. EXTRA EXTRAS Submitted by Laura Lee - Town Meeting Representative Precinct 1 The Chelmsford Town Halls Benefit Concert is a musical celebration to help fund the revitaliza- tion of Chelmsford’s two historic Town Halls. It is also a concert to acknowledge the rich musical talent that Chelmsford possesses, featuring Nova Scotia Celtic Band Tri, Stuart Highlanders Pipe Band, Anna Dagmar, Yoke Shire, Dance New England Celtic Dance Troupe, and other special guest appearances. All the acts involved have strong ties to Chelmsford. The concert will be held at Chelmsford High School's Performing Arts Center on Saturday, November 21st at 7:00pm. Tickets are $10 per adult, $5 for children under 12 (children under 3 are free) and are available at, Music Academy of Chelms- ford, the Chelmsford Town Clerks Office and the Office of Community Education, Chelmsford Public Schools at 170 Dalton Road. Please contact Laura Lee at or 978-251-7410 if you would like more information.
  22. 22. Submitted by Evan Belansky - Community Development Director
  23. 23. QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “ Government's view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it. ” - Ronald Reagan Who Can Take Your Money? CLICK HERE and find out ; ) With A Twinkle In Their Eye ?
  24. 24. In-Town Report NEWS LINKS Lowell Sun Chelmsford Independent Kevin Zimmerman’s Chelmsford MassNews Boston Globe Town of Chelmsford Website If you have friends,family or neighbors who you think would like to be added to this news update list just have them drop us a line at In-Town Report is on Facebook CLICK HERE: For Back Issues off the In-Town Report CLICK HERE: Roy Earley Tom Christiano Precinct 6 Town Meeting Representative Precinct 9 Town Meeting Representative