To the Editor,
I am writing in response to your “Open Letter” dismissing a petition of OVER 10% of the town’s residents requesting a pause in the town’s negotiations with the 40B developer.
You state, “A critical aspect of this negotiation period is that it has to be completed in a relatively short, but undefined period of time”. Since you are negotiating the future of the Town on behalf of its citizens, and this is your primary rationale for rushing you MUST be completely transparent about what is meant by “short but undefined time”.
While I’m sure the intent of your letter was to provide information about your actions, the tone struck many as condescending, confrontative and dismissive, telling the residents that the BOS knows what is best for them.
You acknowledge, “we lack complete information about some aspects of the project. While the Board is in agreement that it would be best to have a more complete understanding of the details, it is unfeasible to wait for certain pieces of information”
Why? For fear of upsetting the developer?
The developer is looking to dramatically change the character of a 375 year old town by increasing its population overnight by 10%, changing the Town for generations to come. If the developer is truly committed to building a long-term relationship with MBTS, would it be too much for the BOS to ask him also to commit to entering into a “good faith” agreement – the core of which is to not rush the project but do it right?
If he rejects the simple request to not rush the project out of hand then we are already in “unfriendly” negotiations.
You conclude” it is obvious that most people do not want the development at all…it is not something that the BOS can control”.
This is not a true statement. As you know, the 600+ signatures of the “petition to pause” you received came from the Citizens Initiative for Manchester Affordable Housing (CIMAH). It is important for you to recognize that two members of its Executive Committee are former Chairs of the BOS, actively working to solve Manchester’s affordable housing situation.
Unfortunately the Town has a history of rushing into many projects that were not well thought out – and had to be re-done or undone. This is not the time to rush because this project CANNOT be undone and the consequences will last forever.
In closing I have two requests – spell out to those you are responsible to -- the citizens of MBTS -- EXACTLY what “short but undefined time” means. Then, reach out to your fellow residents with CIMAH – they are trying to reach out to you to find a better way to solve Manchester’s affordable housing issues.
John Jay, Manchester