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Deny the permit for development at the Uplands -- answer to Waivers/Order of Conditions
January 11, 2007
To the Town of Belmont's ZBA:
DENY APPROVAL OF THE PERMIT FOR THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT
THE PROPOSED DEVELOPMENT IS BAD FOR BELMONT, BAD FOR THE REGION, BAD FOR THE STATE, AND WOULD PROVE GOOD FOR O'NEILL PROPERTIES ONLY IN THE SHORT-TERM. IN THE LONG RUN, HIS REPUTATION WILL SUFFER EVEN MORE THAN IT HAS SINCE THE BROKEN PROMISES GIVEN IN THE WATERTOWN ARSENAL FIASCO. HERE IN BELMONT, O'NEILL HAS PROVED BEYOND A DOUBT THAT HIS WORD IS NOT WORTH ANYTHING.
Consider, how many times did O'Neill say in front of the whole town, "I will never go 40B"?
Belmont's reputation as the Town of Homes will go down the drain and housing values will plummet. And what about over-crowded schools, TRAFFIC, flooded basements, public health concerns, insufficient police and fire protection, ever HIGHER taxes? ...And destruction of a productive natural area teeming with wildlife. Will these critters be teeming in MY backyard or YOURS?
Destruction of the Uplands silver maple forest will worsen an already intolerable situation-sewerage backflow, flooding, and water pollution-in the low-lying areas of Belmont, East Arlington, and West and North Cambridge. Stormwater and sewer systems in Belmont are overburdened and inadequate-even without the addition of thousands of bathrooms at McLean's and the proposed Uplands development. Consider all those toilets pouring wastewater into ancient, leaky pipes. Impossible!
For this ill-placed and ill-conceived development, the developer will not receive exemptions from any provision of any of the laws or regulations of the town. The citizens and officials who established these laws* were far wiser and had more foresight than the politicians who established Mass. G.L. 40B. Because of this law, towns have had to fight to protect themselves and their neighbors from financial, social, and environmental disaster.
Furthermore, Mass. G.L. 40B has not served to sufficiently increase affordable housing in the Commonwealth during the 40 years since it was passed. Instead, Massachusetts ranks 48th of the 50 states in number of affordable housing units available. Indeed, there is a housing crisis in the state for the average person while many others live in huge homes that drain environmental resources.
Instead of the citizens' explaining why the developer should get exemptions from these laws, why doesn't the developer have to prove why these laws should be breached?
Also, the developer must not be allowed to "flip" the property to gain profits and hurt the town further.
The site must be immediately rezoned as conservation land. Individuals, groups, the town, region, state, and federal government agencies should work together to purchase this property at its fair value and preserve and protect it as open space forever. This is the only moral thing to do.
* = The property must be rezoned from R&D due to the same problems listed above.