Friday, March 5, 2010

Joint Dismissal in Conservation Commission Case

Exterior of the new Walmart Supercenter in Nia...Image via Wikipedia

The neighbors of the Mackin French King parcel and the defendants,
Greenfield Investors, have signed a joint dismissal today of the appeal
in the Conservation Commission case in Franklin County Superior Court.
This appeal was filed before the amended Order of Conditions.

The neighbors believe that they essentially won one of their major
battles--which was to force the landowner to clean up his polluted
wetland, and to force the developer to move its massive store off
Wetland 4. The issue of size was not addressed, but will be in the next
phase. We are releasing the following statement:

"When we began this process 3 years ago, the Conservation Commission was
claiming that wetland 4 was not even a wetland, and the developer
presented plans to put its store and parking lot over that
wetland--destroying it completely.

Now, as a result of our intervention, the wetland must be restored---not
replicated elsewhere---and in fact it will be expanded. The Conservation
Commission review was so flawed, that the state Department of
Environmental Protection
had to file its own appeal of the Commission's
decision---and now we have a wetland resource that will be protected and

The neighbors remain concerned that to build a store this size the 100
foot buffer zone around this project had to be destroyed and paved over
in many areas---but we do not feel that court action would resolve this
problem. While the Conservation Commission ignored our concerns about
the incompatible size of this building--two and a half times larger than
Stop & Shop--we believe this issue will have more traction before the
Planning Board.

Now we move onto Phase II of this review, which is the special permit,
Major Development Review and site plan review of the store itself. The
homeowners in the Canada Hill neighborhood, and the whole eastern part
of town, will continue to assert that this proposal is incompatible with
a residential neighborhood, and that in its present state is
unacceptable---without safeguards and limitations to protect the
neighbors homes and property.

This project is located in the French King overlay district, whose
purpose is to create an attractive entryway into town, and to 'minimize
strip development and traffic congestion.' This overlay district was set
aside as a special overlay to 'protect scenic and naturaal features.'
Placing a big box store in this gateway to our town defies all rational
land use planning.

The neighbors also feel that an enormous superstore is incompatible with
existing uses, and will detract from the character and scale of
neighboring properties. The project as proposed has no screening, no
buffering, and no open spaces---it is a wall of concrete surrounded by a
sea of asphalt.

But the enormity of this project should concern all residents in
Greenfield and surrounding towns. We believe that a careful review of
this proposal will show that it will have a significant adverse fiscal
impact on the town, and surrounding towns, that it will adversely impact
adjacent properties, the neighborhood, and the environment, and that it
will result in unsafe vehicular circulation, reducing the service level
of traffic for the full length of High Street and surrounding
intersections. This project will also detract from the downtown as a
commercial center, and undermine the revitalization focus of current
efforts in our central commercial area.

We will be asking the Planning Board to dramatically scale back the size
of this project---which they have the right to do---and to limit the
time of operation and extent of facilities to protect the public health
and welfare.

This big box store three times the size of a football field is the wrong
size and in the wrong place for Greenfield and area towns. We hope that
these arguments will not be lost on the members of the Planning and
Zoning Board."
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