LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Latest 40B Plan Still a Bad Idea
An entire neighborhood of Sudbury residents say choosing one plan over another out of fear is the wrong path to take.
We were deeply discouraged by the results of the last ZBA meeting, but we should not give up efforts to inform the ZBA that approving a smaller project protects the neighborhood and the Town and allows the developer a very healthy profit. It is clear that two of the five ZBA members did not want to approve the 56-unit plan.
Despite the ZBA’s vote to move forward with a 56-unit plan at its last meeting, the ZBA has not yet written its decision and there is still time for the ZBA to approve a smaller development and write stringent conditions into its decision that will protect the Town.
If the ZBA were to approve a smaller plan (45 units or less), there would be no need for a sewage plant on this sensitive land and no need to threaten the abutting properties with the impacts of such large scale and centralized wastewater disposal.
If the ZBA were to approve a smaller development, the impact on wetlands and land deemed critical to Sudbury as specified in the Open Space Plan (and as endorsed by the Planning Board and Conservation Commission) would be greatly reduced. Unlike the approval of a 56-unit plan, the approval of a smaller plan allows the town to continue to work for a better solution for the Johnson Farm land.
We strongly believe that the ZBA should not approve the 56-unit plan out of fear of the 120-unit plan:
- The town has numerous legal avenues to oppose the 120-unit plan and numerous appeal opportunities.. There are also separate approvals and appeals related to the wetlands decision. We believe the probability of the 120 unit proposal making it all the way through this process is very low.
- Even if one is concerned that all appeals will be lost, the full town-led appeals process would likely take a decade (and the development can’t be built during that period) and almost all cases reach a settlement in that timeframe – so the probability of 120 units is still extremely low.
- We do not see the 56-unit project as being significantly better for the town than the 120-unit project. It still has almost all of the major issues to the town – including sewage plant, wetlands impact, and virtually the identical building footprint.
If the ZBA approves the 56-unit plan, concerned citizens and abutters, unlike the town, have limited appeal rights and ability to oppose this development. The town will be giving up a broad range of appeal rights, while the abutter’s appeal rights must focus on issues that impact them individually (e.g., flooding on their property).
Abutters will not be able to challenge this development on the basis of many of the major issues discussed at the ZBA meetings - nor should this appeal responsibility be left to the abutters.
In addition to reducing unit count and eliminating the sewage plant, the ZBA should be aggressive in adding conditions that improve the development for the residents of Sudbury.
- If the ZBA continues to demonstrate that it wants to avoid an appeal at almost any cost, it is basically letting the developer write the approval.
- The ZBA needs to, at a minimum, add the reasonable conditions requested by residents (e.g., no disturbance set-backs, fence for noise reduction, less meadow disturbance) and not back down every time the developer signals that he will appeal or walk out of the room.
- The ZBA needs to correctly value the costs and risks to the developer of pursuing an appeal to conclusion (though filing an appeal and then withdrawing it early has been a strategy of some developers).
The Conservation Commission should not give this project special permission to fill more than 5,000 square feet of wetlands (i.e., “limited project” status):
- The Con Com has two legal opinions stating that they have full discretion over limited project status.
- If the Con Com provides this special exemption, it will open the door for the developer to bring in over 1.2 million cubic feet of fill (thousands of truck loads) to be used primarily to cover wetland and buffer zone areas.
The Selectman should immediately hire special counsel to help the ZBA and the Conservation Commission with these critical decisions. These decisions are simply too important to the town to not learn from other towns who have faced similar situations.
- This special counsel should have significant experience helping towns and abutters oppose 40B projects that are not right for the town – such counsel will be able to help the ZBA by providing additional data and perspective about the risks of different alternatives
- Hiring additional counsel is similar to seeking a second opinion from a doctor for a serious illness.
The current residents of Sudbury should not have to live with the broad range of detrimental impacts related to this development. This development adversely affects far more than the abutters – it has significant negative implications for all of South Sudbury as is evidenced by the ground swell of anger at previous ZBA meetings and the many signatures to this letter. Simply “moving away”, as one of the ZBA members has suggested, is not an acceptable option and insults us all. These are our homes. This is our town.
If we put aside the intricacies of the 40B law, the decision at hand is much more fundamental. Almost everyone in Sudbury, including the ZBA, agrees that this development is not right for the town. The only reason that the ZBA is approving this plan is because of the developer’s threat of a worse plan.
With the rich history of this town, are we no longer willing to stand up for what we think is right? Sudbury residents before us risked much more against much greater odds to do what they thought was right.
We are asking the members of the ZBA, the members of the Conservation Commission, and the Selectmen to join us in opposing something that we all know is fundamentally wrong.
Frank Huntowski and Kim Ogden, 42 Cutler Farm Rd. Tom and Blenda Jeffry, 2 Brookside Farm Lane Leslie Frodema and Jack Wiener, 32 Moran Circle Brian and Marcie Cain, 33 Victoria Rd. Virginia Buckley, 14 Patricia Rd.
Mike and Siobhan Hullinger, 55 Washington Drive
Paul and Kristen Bisson, 55 Highland
Teresa and Francisco Rosa, 77 Cider Mill Monique and Matthew Scales Richard Salus and Ellen Sard, 78 Shadow Oak Drive Tom and Debbie Gilbertson Hakan and Amy Adolfsson, 60 Hopestill Brown
Arthur and Debbie Kaye Caroline and Brian Rowe, 10 Brookside Farm Jason and Heidi Saghir, 66 Cutler Farm Rd. Clare and David O'Connor John and Robin Cullen, 60 Patricia Road Brian and Jeryl Kennedy Philip Green and Robin Berman, 11 Brookside Farm Robert and Mary Beth Delena, 2 Moran Circle David and Cynthia Alves, 40 Landham Road Gary and Tammy Hornung, 67 Cutler Farm Road
Marisa and Kris Lutz, 20 Guzzlebrook Sherif and Colleen Labib, Stagecoach Drive Paul and Clare Korzeniowski, 12 Stagecoach Drive Gene and Joyce Willette, 5 Dawson Drive Craig Weiss and Noreen Hong Anne Riesenfeld Peter Cramer and Ada Vassilovski, 40 Singletary Cindy and Daryl Gies, 36 Wright Rd.
Gregory and Itsuko Herrema, 20 Brookside
Mark and Cara Andolina, 5 Curtiss Circle John and Tricia McCabe, 17 Brookside Farm Lane Thomas and Patricia Oksanen, 88 Cutler Farm Road Adele Coyne, 46 Eddy Stephen and Lisa Shuman, 56 Cutler Farm Road Duncan and Karen Whitney, 20 Read Road
Ilona Blosfelds, 115 Victoria Veronique and Paul Schejtman, 42 Stock Farm Road Jane and Robert Murphy, 21 Patricia Rd Richard Mattione, 15 Read Road Melissa and Tom Rudder Brian Mulcahey and Lydia Hsu, 14 Read Road Peter and Sarah Goodman, 5 Read Road Michael and Meridith Palmer, 62 Cutler Farm Road Alphones Lucchese Jr. and Tracy Lucchese, 49 Cutler Farm Road Darlyne and Tony Mattia, Cutler Farm Road Jamie and Lisa Hanson, 36 Cutler Farm Road Barry and Jennifer Ruditsy, 18 Cutler Farm Road
Karen and Jack McGee
Jennifer Mitchell, 70 Rambling Rd.
Jennifer and Jonathan Siegal
Lauren and Chad Blair
Leah and Bradley George Sally Breckenridge
Thomas Roose and Joanne Thompson, 45 Rambling Road
Wayne and Mandy Wong, 27 Cutler Farm Road
Danielle and Jim Agabedis, 28 Guzzlebrook
Bob and Lisa Armour, 21 Brookside Mark and Ellen Aisenberg Darlene Murphy & Friedel Von Goeler, 38 Moran Circle Anna & Mark Lambert, 41 Moran Circle Muriel & Milton Jones, 29 Moran Circle Howard & Sandy Gold, 18 Moran Circle Michael & Annie Procopio, 24 Moran Circle Scott & Erica Silverman, 21 Moran Circle Joanne & Mark Minassian, 38 Hadley Road Theresa & Tark McMains, 66 Raymond Road Steve and Colleen Connors, 57 Cutler Farm Road Michael and Lisa Schreiber, 79 Cutler Farm Road George and Susan Maier, 64 Shadow Oak
Elissa and Peter Karol
Joe and Kate Marchand 101 Victoria Road Denise and Frank Boucher, 10 Moran Circle Jack and Robin Marshall
Ruth-Anne Adams and Tom Fosnot Diana and David Lannon, 87 Warren Rd.
Laurie Nee Frank and Regina Letteri, 208 Landham Rd.
Mindy and Adrian Davies
Kevin and Bettina Westerberg
Samantha and Todd Greenfield