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LETTER: Restaurant Would Be Urban Blight

The following letter to the editor was submitted by Bob Krankewicz. Letters to the editor do not necessarily reflect the views of WestfordCAT or its Board of Directors. To submit your own letter, e-mail [email protected]

On May 24, I sent the following to the Westford Board of Selectmen regarding the status of the Drew Parcels at 66-68 Boston Rd.:

I will paraphrase the Statement of Purpose in the Agricultural Preservation Restriction(APR #3), signed 17 years ago,

  • the intent of the Town of Westford was to perpetually protect and preserve agricultural lands and maintain land in active agricultural use.
  • no activity detrimental to agricultural use or to good agricultural management practices will be permitted.
Preserving 1 and 1/2 APRs at the expense of decimating a 3rd one and 1/2 of another with a major commercial restaurant/banquet hall;  and, removing them, in perpetuity, of any possibility of future agricultural use when the permanent structure of a restaurant, banquet hall, septic system, parking lot, sidewalks, storm water management system, entry and exit roadways are built.  It is contradictory to the Statement of Purpose for APR 2 & 3 and raises questions about processes required under MGL Chapter 184, Section 32, and Energy and Environment Article 97 of the State Constitution.
Present town government has, in essence, reversed a process that established a means to control development, ostensibly, because a previous owner allowed the property to fall into a blighted mess;  and, ultimately, turned down an opportunity to fully control the property by buying it when the opportunity presented itself;  much to the chagrin of abutters and others who saw the potential value of it for town use.
Furthermore, the property is in a residential zone and the Town’s Zoning Bylaws in Appendix A of the Table of Use Regulations  does not permit a restaurant nor a major retail project in that zone.  In addition, Section 10.2 of the Bylaws’s General Definitions delineates a Major Commercial Project as any industrial or commercial use which has one or more of the following characteristics:
  • 15,000 square feet or more of gross floor area in any building or combination of buildings.
  • more than 100 required parking spaces.
  • generation of more than 250 vehicle trips per day, as determined by the ITE’S Trip Generation Manual.
  • the use is allowed in the district in which it will be located.
The project as presented in nothing more than an urban blight on the Town of Westford’s Gateway to our historic district which could be remedied by lesser means.  Since Annual Town Meeting rejected the initial project as presented,  town government should sincerely respect that advisement.  I ,respectfully, urge the Board of Selectmen to reject this proposal or any other future proposal which does not follow the purpose and affirmations stated in all the APRs which are duly sanction by our own  local bylaws, state, and federal laws in protecting agricultural lands.