To the Editor:
After listening in on last night's Board of Selectman's zoom meeting on the 40B development proposal I feel compelled to write this letter. My husband and I reside on School Street and have been there for 47 years. Needless to say we love the town of Manchester and care deeply about preserving it's character and small town feel. While I cannot profess to know all about the state regulations and requirements that go hand in hand with the development of affordable housing, I do believe that this project is totally out of scale and out of character for our small town. It will be detrimental to the conservation lands it abuts as well as place a huge financial burden on the town and infrastructure. At first glimpse of the architectural rendering of the project it brought to mind the Cummings Center in Beverly. Do we want large scale development in our town? I think not. I question whether or not SLV has had experience with 40B developments in towns of similar size as Manchester or are they in towns with higher populations and more infrastructure?
Could our affordable housing deficit be satisfied in alternative ways perhaps looking at existing properties such as the Plains and Newport Park or the DPW site on Pleasant Street? Have they even been considered? My gut feeling during last night's meeting was that Chairman Boling did not appear to be even remotely interested in considering alternative ways to solve this 40B deficit. I also have to add that I was shocked to learn that a project of this magnitude will not go to a town vote. That of course is the result of my naivete of 40B regulations.
I would also like to make one last observation. Living on School Street we deal daily with the increased traffic flow on School Street. Getting out of our driveway can be a major feat. If this is the case before the development I shudder to think about the traffic flow should it be approved. It would most likely necessitate a stop light at School and Pleasant Streets as well as at the intersection of School and Central and Union Streets. Do we want stoplights in our town?
In closing I would like to reiterate my strong feelings that a development such as this one will ruin the character of or beloved town. The only winners will be Strategic Land Ventures and the Brown Family Trust. The rest of will be the real losers should this project be approved.
Cynthia W Conant , Manchester