As a reminder, the Master Plan Committee is holding its hearing on the Master Plan Draft document the evening of September 16, Thursday, at the Senior Center starting at 7 PM.
The committee’s draft document is permeated with pro-development bias. The committee has even removed the statements of fundamental principles that are in the current Master Plan, which articulate goals that include resisting urbanization, maintaining Chelmsford as a pleasant place to live, carefully considering traffic impacts and increases in traffic, and so on. These are at odds with the drive to further develop open space. No rationale has been advanced for their removal, except that certain “stakeholders” – namely developers and real estate attorneys – want them out. Why these “stakeholders” – I call them exploitative predators – should take precedence over 33,000 other residents is beyond me.
Whether the testimony at this hearing will be treated with the same dismissive attitude as the testimony at the BOS meeting August 23 remains to be seen. The input from residents at previous Master Plan meetings has been included in summaries, but largely ignored in the specifics of policy recommendations, which favor developers’ interests more than ever.
A summary of the pro-development bias that runs throughout the draft can be found at master-plan-draft-analysis.pdf. This document is 19 pages. It’s regrettable that it has to be so long, but there are so many problems with the draft that it’s impossible to summarize them in a short space. It’s a poor reflection on certain members of the committee that they’ve advanced their own special interests and those of their cronies to the point where the Master Plan can no longer even support the inclusion of the fundamental principles without creating indefensible internal contradictions.
I have little hope that the well-intentioned members of the Committee will be allowed to honestly address the huge problems created by the primacy of developer interests that permeates the draft. But we would be remiss not to try to help give them that opportunity.
Yours with best wishes and hope for the future of our town,
Roland Van Liew