Letter to Gazette: Planning Board too lax with developers

This weekend’s Gazette publishes a letter from Tricia Reidy and Greg White of Leeds, “Planning process ignores concerns of residents”. An excerpt:

In the case of the proposed Beaverbrook Estates project here in Leeds…citizens have repeatedly expressed profound unease about the project’s impact on the environment, traffic, pedestrian safety, water pressure, and storm water drainage… Rather than contend with these issues directly, the Planning Board has repeatedly followed the Office of Planning and Development’s staff recommendations and granted the applicant multiple waivers to state and local regulations. Waivers should only be granted if the project is in the public good, and this has hardly been demonstrated. In the end, narrow private interests seem to trump the greater good.

See also:

Gazette: “Should developers police own projects?”
In five years on the Conservation Commission, Chairman Robert Floyd said he has never seen a developer’s compliance monitor admit to a violation in Southampton.

‘It’s amazing that everything runs so perfect,’ he said, with evident sarcasm.

Gazette editorial: “Protecting the environment”

Gazette opinion: “Don’t ease controls on wetlands”

Northampton Redoubt: “North Street area citizens join together”
Situated close to a wetland area, the project calls for the creation of five detention ponds to handle the storm water run-off that will be created by adding asphalt and buildings to an area where impervious surfaces do not currently exist. The project proposes to eliminate part of a forest that supports Northampton’s urban ecology. Comprised of three and four bedroom market rate units in the $300 thousand range, the development will add significant traffic to well traveled North Street, a narrow two lane road in poor condition lacking sidewalks along certain stretches and without any crosswalks or lane markings. According to the city’s website North Street carries from 5,000 to 10,000 vehicles daily. At eight vehicle trips estimated per vehicle, if the sprawling single use subdivision averages two vehicles per unit, about 500 new vehicles trips per day will be added to an already congested street. This doesn’t account for service vehicles and visitors…

There was much enthusiasm on display at the barbecue, tempered by concern for the future of the neighborhood. Some questions raised to ponder:

  • How much development is not over-burdensome for the existing neighborhood?…

  • Will the city hear concerns and agree with them?

  • Why does city leadership value open spaces in the outlying areas of the city more highly than open spaces near downtown that add to the quality of life of residents?…
Kohl’s Condo Proposal: Where Things Stand, and What You Can Do
Urban ‘infill’ development is laudable when it reclaims parking lots, brownfields and decayed structures. However, Kohl’s proposal will impact substantial amounts of natural green space, in conflict with the ecological goals of Northampton’s Sustainability Plan.