I-93 Tri-Town Progress

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I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby dougsears on Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:15 am

Taking charge of change - Towns prepare for I-93 exit’s impact
By John Laidler - Globe Correspondent / June 17, 2010

The state’s plan to add a new interchange on Interstate 93 may be years away from becoming reality, but the three nearby communities want to be ready when it does.

Andover, Tewksbury, and Wilmington are seeking community feedback on their efforts to shape future growth around the interchange, to be located between the highway’s exits 41 and 42. The towns are crafting uniform zoning rules for their respective portions of nearly 1,200 acres of land in the vicinity.

“It’s quite innovative and unprecedented in many ways, in that three towns are really coming together and planning cooperatively to develop a shared vision and a shared set of development regulations that will govern development on all of the land,’’ said Ken Schwartz, project director for the consultant, Vanasse Hangen Brustlin.

Aided by a consultant, a task force from each town has prepared a draft of the zoning rules. The public is invited to submit comments through July 20.

We are looking for input,’’ said Carole Hamilton, Wilmington’s director of planning and conservation.

The towns had intended to seek Town Meeting approval of the zoning rules in the fall. Because of extra time provided to public input, those votes will probably be pushed to next spring, officials said.

The towns initiated the zoning effort about 18 months ago to prepare for the potential growth the interchange could bring. A goal of the state Highway Department project is to free up land on both sides of I-93 for development, and to improve access to existing commercial sites.

The interchange project, now in the design phase, may not be completed until 2016 or even later.

The Tri Town-Development Area is roughly bounded by Ballardvale Street in Andover and Tewksbury on the east, South Street in Tewksbury on the west, the Shawsheen River in Andover to the north, and Salem Street in Wilmington to the south.
Its 1,190 acres include 550 acres in Andover, 270 in Tewksbury, and 370 in Wilmington. Planners project that about 591 acres are developable, including 395 in Andover, 95 in Tewksbury, and 101 in Wilmington.

Local officials said by establishing common zoning rules, they can position their towns to both encourage and manage the growth they hope will follow the highway project.
“It’s truly an opportunity to plan in a collaborative manner,’’ said Paul Materazzo, Andover’s planning director. “Rather than looking for a development proposal on one specific parcel, we are looking at a much greater scale, at nearly 1,200 acres.’’

The ultimate goal is to generate jobs and new tax revenues, “But this is an opportunity to help facilitate targeted economic growth in a controlled manner,’’ Materazzo said.
“We don’t want to just open the gates and say, ‘Run wild.’ We want to have some level of control.’’

Hamilton said establishing zoning rules that cross town lines will make the area attractive to builders. “The last thing a developer wants to do is to get a project permitted in one town and stonewalled in another.’’

The shared zoning effort ensures that each town can have a say in the future of the overall area, she added.

The towns are using a zoning model that focuses on the design and layout of buildings rather than on uses. Such form-based code zoning has been employed in other parts of the country but is relatively new to Massachusetts.

“Instead of allowing for a haphazard manner of development, we are looking for something to be more consistent in appearance,’’ said Steven Sadwick, Tewksbury’s community development director.

Hamilton said the selected approach is flexible, designed to accommodate changes in the real estate market.

“We are trying to create a sense of place,’’ Materazzo said. “It’s really creating buildings that stand the test of time.’’

The zoning rules would pertain to future development and to the redevelopment of existing buildings, most of which are located in Andover east of I-93. Materazzo said Andover businesses will be freer to expand once the interchange relieves the problem of motorists using local streets as access.

An overall goal is to create developments that are pedestrian-friendly and include open spaces

The area would be rezoned into a series of “character districts,’’ each with a different theme.

Included would be separate mixed-use and mixed-use commerce districts, both west of I-93, to promote village-type developments with buildings that contain shops and cafes on the ground floor and offices above. The mixed-use district would allow housing on the upper level.

Also west of I-93 would be a campus district, featuring research, academic, or office buildings constructed around green quadrangles with canopy shade trees and walkways to the Shawsheen River.

There would also be an office park district at two sites — one on each side of I-93; a district east of I-93 for varied commercial and research and development uses; and a riverfront district largely reserved for recreation along the river.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Tech mom on Thu Jun 17, 2010 9:26 am

I don't think we need another exit...Don't we have enough Truck traffic coming thru town?
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby swamper on Thu Jun 17, 2010 12:23 pm

"The zoning rules would pertain to future development and to the redevelopment of existing buildings, most of which are located in Andover east of I-93. Materazzo said Andover businesses will be freer to expand once the interchange relieves the problem of motorists using local streets as access."

Considering Andover has the most to gain, development area/acreage-wise (4X that of Tewksbury!) and so likely revenue-wise....let's not have their "alleviated" traffic problem re. local street access, become Tewksbury's problem. All three towns should be treated equitably in this venture and "we" as a Town need to make sure that happens! Anything less is unacceptable. As Andover's Planning Director, it is clear that Mr. Materazzo has no problem advocating for HIS town, I believe Mr. Sadwick as Tewksbury's Community Development Director needs to step it up and speak up more on behalf of ours! After all......that IS his JOB, isn't it?
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Harry on Thu Jun 17, 2010 5:54 pm

Exactly correct Swamp, exactly correct.

Andover has the biggest piece of the pie and MUST have access through Andover.

Tewksbury's 95 acres is right near the landfill and as I have said I don't see how it makes sense to build on it. The the area floods the hazardous waste will leech out of the capped area and pollute anything nearby, Love Canal II. I'm sure the chemicals have been leeching out for a long time already. Remember, CAPS are not to be used in wet land areas or areas that flood, but that's exactly what they are doing. Of course then the taxpayers will need to pay again to clean it up.

Wilmington should go through Wilmington to get at theirs.

Never mind that the area is really wet and I'm sure the wet lands will not be as fully identified as dollar signs are involved. Someone here once stated it's only wetlands when a resident owns it. The whole thing will end up being a mess!
Experience hath shown, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Oppose TewksburyOdor on Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:25 am

The Truth About the Interchange / Tri-Town Development Plans
According to last week’s front page article in the Crier regarding the Tri-Town Development, it seems that the interchange form based code is making too many assumptions. In light of reading the code, we have come to see that the powers that be are assuming that Krochmal Farm – both in Wilmington and Tewksbury – will not be continuing with its next generation of family farming. Nothing could be further from the truth. This farm has been here for more than 150 years, in the same family for nearly the last 70 years. We plan on continuing this tradition for many more generations to come.
With this information, which is available online at http://www.vhb.com/tri-townfbc/pdf/TRI-TOWN_FBC_Public%20MTG%20June%208.pdf Krochmal Farm is slated to be an Employment Park in the Tewksbury portion (where the Pumpkin Fest is currently and where the livestock are) and a mixed-use commerce in the Wilmington portion. Are the neighbors of Krochmal Farm in Tewksbury and Wilmington ready to have these things in their backyards... literally? Looking at page 68 and on of this plan, you can see what is intended for Tewksbury.
Krochmal Farms has many neighbors, most of which bought homes here due to the fact that this area is considered “country” – with farming and open-space, with a small town feel. Yes, there have been obstacles that we have had to overcome together – but now that we have, do we want to lose the community that everyone strived so hard to obtain?
This does in part tie into our belief that there is an alternative reasoning for the town of Wilmington to raise the value on our Agricultural property to an additional assessed value of $1,522,300.00 over a period of 5 months last year. Yes, you read it right, a million and a half dollar difference in our assessed property value for a piece of land that raises cattle and crops and is landlocked with the only access from our private property. We didn’t get it either, that is until we read with interest the Interchange Form Based Code for the “Tri-Town Development” / Interchange.
We have a small, time-constrained opportunity here to let our voices be heard in regards to this matter. Our home’s property values will diminish considerably once the first sign of construction begins. Our children’s side streets and dead-end ways will no longer be “child-friendly”, and the Wilmington Assessor’s office will obviously (as they have with us) stop at nothing to raise your property taxes to an insurmountable amount if it is decided that you have a piece of property that looks appealing to the developers.
We are a Fourth Generation Family Livestock Farm, one of the last two in Tewksbury and the last in Wilmington. We are your neighbors, your friends and your community. Together, we can all make a difference. This does not only affect us, but every one of us. Contact the town’s planning directors in Wilmington (Carole Hamilton or Paul Materazzo) and Tewksbury Community Development (Steve Sadwick) before July 20th. Let them know that we, as a community, as taxpayers, as citizens will not accept deals made behind closed doors by people who will not be affected by the outcome, except for the thickness of their wallets. Again, we have all worked so hard and come so far to keep our neighborhoods a community. Let us not allow anyone to take that away from us now.
Your friends and neighbors at Krochmal Farm
I'm sick of being my brother's keeper.I detest the fact that I am forced to give my time & energy to the few people that learned that if they profess profoundly enough that they're victims, someone seeking power will make me take care of them.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Curiosity123 on Sat Jun 19, 2010 8:48 am

Chapter 61-A tax discount

Massachusetts current use programs (Ch. 61A, ) were created to give preferential tax treatment to those landowners who maintain their property as open space for the purposes of timber production, agriculture or recreation. Lowering Taxes for current Ch61/61A tax values see:

To calculate an estimate tax bill under a current use program see: http://www.masswoods.net/ch61_calculator.html

In order to qualify for the Chapter 61 program, a landowner must have 10 or more contiguous acres of forest land and a long-term commitment to improving the "quality and quantity" of timber on that land.

The Chapter 61, and related 61A and 61B, programs are designed to help landowners afford to maintain farms, natural areas, and working forests.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Curiosity123 on Sat Jun 19, 2010 9:10 am

With every great tax incentive comes a huge caviot!

PENALTY TAX. I understand that I must pay one of two alternative penalty taxes whenever any of the land is no longer used for, or maintained in, a use or condition that would qualify the land for classification as agricultural or horticultural land under Chapter 61A, forest land under Chapter 61 or recreational land under Chapter 61B. Payment of a penalty tax applies in that case whether or not the land is subject to the purchase option and notice requirement. I must pay a roll-back tax for a 5 year period if the use of the land changes to a non-qualifying use or condition. If the change in use or condition occurs when the land is classified, the tax will be imposed for the current fiscal year and the 4 prior years. If the land is not classified at that time, the tax will be imposed for the 5 prior years. In either case, the tax will be the difference between the amount I would have paid in annual property taxes on the land if it had been taxed at its fair market value and the amount of the taxes I paid on the land under Chapter 61A during the same time. The roll-back tax also includes interest at the rate of 5% per year on each year’s tax savings. A roll-back tax on any of my land in classification on July 1, 2006 (fiscal year 2007) will not include interest so long as the land continues to be owned by me, my spouse, parent, grandparent, child, grandchild, brother, sister or surviving spouse of any of those deceased relatives. However, I must pay the alternative conveyance tax instead if the land is sold for or converted to a non-qualifying use within 10 years of the date I acquired it, or the earliest date of its uninterrupted agricultural or horticultural use by me, whichever is earlier, and the conveyance tax is greater than the roll-back tax that would be due. The conveyance tax will be equal to the conveyance tax rate applied to the sales price of the land, or if converted, to the fair market value of the land as determined by the assessors. The conveyance tax rate will be 10% if the land is sold or converted within the first year of ownership, 9% if sold or converted within the second year, and so on with the rate declining each year by one percentage point until it is 1% in the 10th year of ownership. After this 10 year period has expired, I will not be liable for any conveyance taxes, but will remain liable for roll-back taxes if there is a change to a non-qualifying use or condition of the land.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Oppose TewksburyOdor on Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:02 pm

Curiosity,
Understood - "just apply for 61A" is what you are saying, I assume? We have - and this year (although NOTHING has changed for the use of the land) we were denied. Appealed. Denied again. Now in ATB's hands, along with the appeal for the ch. 59 - the increase in the assessed value of the property. I know we don't always stand on the same side of the fence - but isn't there something strange with that? Just for clarification - this is the Wilmington BOA I am referring to, not Tewksbury's.
I'm sick of being my brother's keeper.I detest the fact that I am forced to give my time & energy to the few people that learned that if they profess profoundly enough that they're victims, someone seeking power will make me take care of them.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Curiosity123 on Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:16 pm

**bump**
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Curiosity123 on Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:27 pm

WOW 150/70 year old farm and just THIS year you applied for 61A?

Stop the lies and deceit! You've been getting tax incentives for DECADES! Wilmington is now just catching on to what Tewksbury should have figured out YEARS ago. Raise the VALUE and the taxes will follow.

Oh and nice touch about how property value will be lowered if industry comes... how do you think a Commercial Piggery affects the property value! Really “Opposepeopleprotectingtheirneighborhood” how stupid do you think people are!

To the rest of the educated readers.... I personally am not for the highway expansion project. But I'll be damned if I'll sit here and read the lies, light the torches and deceit speech!

protecting the children... TRUCK and TRAFFIC!!!!!!!! OMG anyone else see the pig#$^ in this speech!
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby DavePowers on Sat Jun 19, 2010 12:33 pm

Oddly enough I agree somewhat with "OpposeTewksburyOdor" on this issue. I do not want to see the farm replaced by industry or by homes. Some will just continue to say, or insinuate, that the TewksburyOdor people want to close the farm. It's ridiculous.

Many of the members of TewksburyOdor have been at various meetings and stated their opposition to the development on the Tewksbury side. It may come as a surprise to some, but I stood up alone at both a MassHighway meeting (charette) and a Tewksbury Planning Board meeting and said the farm shouldn't be forced out for development.

It's not all that confusing: Our concerns have consistently been, and only been, with the installation of a very large confined animal feeding building, the hog waste issues and odors. We have always maintained that the other part of the farm is a a plus for the community.

At the risk of being misunderstood, I'll say it again to make a point: If we had wanted the farm closed we could have chose the available lawsuit. We have opted not to sue in favor of reasonable solutions such as the Site Assigment, HB3818 and the long promised, and now coming, local regs for piggeries.

Don't let anyone mislead you: The odor (improved in Tewksbury, but not gone) and environmental issues of the factory style hog operation are separate from the ramp/development issue.

Correction added June 22, 2010: I should not have said "Our concerns have consistently been, and only been, with the installation of a very large confined animal feeding building"
It should read: "Our concerns have consistently been, and primarily been, with the installation of a very large confined animal feeding building
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Oppose TewksburyOdor on Sat Jun 19, 2010 5:21 pm

Curiosity123 wrote:WOW 150/70 year old farm and just THIS year you applied for 61A?

Stop the lies and deceit! You've been getting tax incentives for DECADES! Wilmington is now just catching on to what Tewksbury should have figured out YEARS ago. Raise the VALUE and the taxes will follow.

Oh and nice touch about how property value will be lowered if industry comes... how do you think a Commercial Piggery affects the property value! Really “Opposepeopleprotectingtheirneighborhood” how stupid do you think people are!

To the rest of the educated readers.... I personally am not for the highway expansion project. But I'll be damned if I'll sit here and read the lies, light the torches and deceit speech!

protecting the children... TRUCK and TRAFFIC!!!!!!!! OMG anyone else see the pig#$^ in this speech!


Curiosity,
Obviously you are too spiteful to see beyond your nose. This has nothing to do with "saving the farm"... I personally can only use the farm as a starting base, as I am aware of what is being done on / with this particular property, I do not know the ramifications being done on other properties. No, I do not say that we just applied for 61A this year, I said it was only denied this year - therefore, MY curiosity is peaked. Seems a little too conincidental to me. I wonder if anyone else has had the same complications. There is nothing about pigs, cows, horses or other livestock in here because it's not about farming - it's about what steps, legally and otherwise, are being taken to be a means to the end. If this was to be about the piggery, it would have been posted under the appropriate forum.

For others, please - read the Form Based Code - http://www.vhb.com/tri-townfbc/pdf/TRI-TOWN_FBC_Public%20MTG%20June%208.pdf see what properties are intended to be Industrialized, where your home is, what the reprocusions to you would be. This is about taking a stand for what is yours - not bashing each other. Hell, even Dave and I can agree on something... It obviously must be worth at least reviewing!
-Jenn
I'm sick of being my brother's keeper.I detest the fact that I am forced to give my time & energy to the few people that learned that if they profess profoundly enough that they're victims, someone seeking power will make me take care of them.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Curiosity123 on Sun Jun 20, 2010 8:28 am

Great clarification. It's good to know that Wilmington is smart. So now you maybe can see its not the conspiracy theory you concocted it's more simple than that. When cows are removed because they are drinking ground water from unsafe soil and grazing grass from contaminated soil then the land is no longer able to be used for "FARMING" practices therefore not entitled to discounted taxes!
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby Oppose TewksburyOdor on Mon Jun 21, 2010 7:52 am

Curiosity123 wrote:Great clarification. It's good to know that Wilmington is smart. So now you maybe can see its not the conspiracy theory you concocted it's more simple than that. When cows are removed because they are drinking ground water from unsafe soil and grazing grass from contaminated soil then the land is no longer able to be used for "FARMING" practices therefore not entitled to discounted taxes!


I guess you are just not going to get it, curious.

Not that it has anything to do with the Interchange and potential results of, but the permitted cattle in Wilmington are not drinking nor grazing anything unsafe.

There are several folks who have contacted me via the info at krochmalfarms.com email address to enlighten me on similar situations with their properties. This definately needs looking into a bit deeper. I have done my job here, I have posted the information that I know of. Hopefully, as a community, we can put an end to this and move on. If anyone needs any further help with this matter, feel free to call the business line at 978 657 5906. I will be happy to inpart what I have learned.

Thank you,
Jenn
I'm sick of being my brother's keeper.I detest the fact that I am forced to give my time & energy to the few people that learned that if they profess profoundly enough that they're victims, someone seeking power will make me take care of them.
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Re: I-93 Tri-Town Progress

Postby DavePowers on Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:06 am

Oppose TewksburyOdor: the permitted cattle in Wilmington are not drinking nor grazing anything unsafe.


How do you know that and where are the test results of that water? Curiosity and anyone who eats beef, or pumpkin seeds, has real, serious reasons to be concerned.

The land that the cattle were being raised on for years, is known as "The Wilmington Disposal Area"
http://yosemite.epa.gov/r1/npl_pad.nsf/ ... enDocument

The beef cattle were there for years not permitted in Wilmington until that town took action.

According to the EPA:

The owners of the property operate a piggery, raise horses and ponies for seasonal hay rides and children’s pony rides, and grow flowers in on-site greenhouses, all on the Tewksbury parcels. They also grow pumpkins and ornamental corn for seasonal sale in the field adjacent to the drum area. The first PA/SI resulted in the discovery of contaminated soil along with approximately 50 drums just below the ground surface, adjacent to approximately 100 drums that were protruding from a berm next to a small pond and wetlands. During the second PA/SI, a handful of crushed drums and containers and a small amount of contaminated soil were discovered. The majority of the drums in both locations were in various stages of decay and appear to have been crushed and/or ripped up at the time of disposal. Samples collected from drum contents in one of the test pits indicates high levels of volatile and semi-volatile organics and heavy metals.


How many people unwittingly ate the seeds of pumpkins growing there before the removal action of 1999?

It's my understanding that beef cattle were raised at this site after the initial removal action, but as the site was in default, for years. Being in default with a 21E site means that no follow up was done after the initial removal actions (until June of 2008). And even the report by Weston Environmental dated June of 2008 doesn't say that it's fine to raise beef cattle there, to the contrary it says that there is no concern for drinking water only because the farming operations are a mile away.

But that simply wasn't true.

Beef cattle were being raised in this area at the time of that report, and for years before, and can be seen in satellite images dating back to around 2005.
(http://www.terraserver.com)

Both Shelly Newhouse, Health Director of Wilmington and Greg Erickson, former Health Director of Wilmington, told me the cattle were drinking water from the ground and/or the surface.

The following is a satellite image of pumpkin patch with DEP image of drum removals overlaid. The drums were removed from where the yellow dots are (1999). The cattle are the little dots around the blue building to the right. (sometime between 2005-2008)
Image

Image taken by Judy Fittery of drums at the pumpkin patch circa 1999
Image
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