Presentation on theme: "My View of an Overbuilt Town, Clinton at a Crossroads. J.P.Notaro Jr. July, 2005."— Presentation transcript:
My View of an Overbuilt Town, Clinton at a Crossroads. J.P.Notaro Jr. July, 2005
View of an Overbuilt Town Clinton has experienced a great population growth in the last 10-15 years due to the extremely high rate of residential construction. I do not believe this is reflected in the towns census numbers. In fact I believe these numbers are highly inaccurate due to the fact that they are voluntary and also not reflective of the transient portion of the population that resides here. Zoning changes in the 1990s have not slowed Clintons growth, on the contrary residential growth has increased way beyond what anyone would have ever believed possible. Since then, population growth has occurred although it is not accurately depicted in our census data. When I was born in 1958 the population of Clinton was approximately 12,800 people. Since then there have been numerous housing booms during times of economic prosperity and also when developers found that Clinton was an easy mark, due to its lax zoning laws.
View of an Overbuilt Town This table illustrates the census numbers in five year increments from 1945 to 1995
View of an Overbuilt Town Open Space The unwillingness or ambivalence of the Town to acquire open land other than what the Clinton Greenway Conservation Trust (CGCT) has done around the Nashua river watershed area has only helped exacerbate the overbuilding problem in my opinion. This has also had an effect on the quality of life many residents have previously enjoyed. Our small town look and feel has been compromised and in some cases obliterated.
View of an Overbuilt Town Mill Conversions I personally believe the town should cease to allow mill conversions to condominiums and apartments as this commercial space will be gone forever. Commercial property is taxed at 1.70% of residential property. Converting this property will only diminish our tax base vs. services and infrastructure needed. There is a proposal currently being floated before the Planning Board to convert the old Bigelow Mill building on Green Street into 210, one and two bedroom apartments. In my opinion, this is absolutely not in the best interest of our Town. There are many apartment vacancies listed in the newspaper and also posted outside apartment houses in town today.
View of an Overbuilt Town The Planning Boards Report - Clinton Annual Town Report, 1985. Honorable Board of Selectmen, The year 1985 has brought tremendous pressure to develop the remaining land and existing structures for housing in Clinton. The town is rapidly becoming overcrowded and we have reached the point where we will create substandard housing and overcrowded conditions if our current zoning bylaws are not revised. The community, in the future, must strive for quality, rather than quantity. Restrictive zoning bylaws in the surrounding towns will continue to bring more pressure on Clinton, due to our less restrictive laws, if this condition is not corrected. We basically have little or no land left, so our challenge must be to rebuild with good planning. The Zoning Board of Appeals' decisions are limited to the laws of the town and Commonwealth, and changes must be initiated for the Board to become more effective and create a better community for all. Respectfully submitted, R. Carter Breed Chairman
View of an Overbuilt Town We as a town did not heed Mr. Breeds warning from 1985. Our town has now become overcrowded and reached the saturation point. We cannot afford to ignore the fact that we have precious little open land left and are allowing residential building on ridiculously small plots of land. If we have little or no land left then I dont even know what to call it now…Maybe a deficit of open land. Some rebuilding of old dilapidated buildings has taken place and no, I dont mean mill conversions. Im talking about the rebuilding of some condemned older homes. This has been a good usage of resources.
View of an Overbuilt Town ZBA As for the ZBA, the re-codification of the Zoning Bylaws has had little or no effect on the boards effectiveness. As I mentioned earlier in this document developers found that Clinton was an easy mark, due to its lax zoning laws, small building lot size and the fact that Clinton has town water and sewerage. The outlying communities do not, thus making Clinton a magnet for development. Developers can build homes and not incur the cost of drilling a well and installing a septic system, but sell the home for the same dollar amount increasing profit.
View of an Overbuilt Town DPW For developers this is great, for the town it is a huge burden from both a services and infrastructure point of view. Our DPW has to maintain more roads, water and sewerage systems and trash collection all with a decreasing percentage of the overall budget.
View of an Overbuilt Town Schools The effect that all this building has had on the school system is reflected in the school budget graph on the next page. Within the last 10 or so years we as a town have had to fund the building of a new high school (already overcrowded) a new elementary school and an overhaul of the middle school. In total the cost incurred has been approximately $45 million dollars. To break that down it was $15 million for a High School, $25 million for an Elementary School and somewhere in the realm of $5 million for the Middle School overhaul. Oh yes, I forgot the millions of dollars it cost to develop and maintain the Veterans Memorial Complex Fields. I cant remember the cost of that, but it was large.
My concerns also include: Increased traffic continues to be a major concern, and needs be addressed in connection with any proposal. Stronger economic actions are needed to encourage business tax base growth. Remember, businesses are taxed at 1.70 % of residential property. The need to slow or stop overall residential construction. Strengthen Clintons neighborhoods and existing business districts Promote all types economic development, including Industrial, office space, commercial and clean businesses such as the Mill in Maynard. Expand the ways to get around town without a car such as new sidewalks to our outlying neighborhoods. Provide a transportation system that is environmentally sound, safe and convenient