We are the owners of a 10-plus acre property on Elm Street. We have made a decision to sell this property on which our family has lived and paid taxes for 59 years.
We feel a deep sense of stewardship for this unique land. We thoughtfully examined re-use alternatives for this property and commissioned an experienced land planning group to help us understand the many nuances of each alternative. Based on this work, we chose a purpose-built, state-of-the-art, assisted-living residence for the site. The proposal submitted to the town is consistent with our goal of maximizing open space on the property and beyond, and achieves the objective of delivering a thoughtful land use with relatively low impact to the neighbors and neighborhood, as compared to the other development options available. The residential development will also help to fill the need for senior assisted-living options identified in the town’s long-range plan, adds significant property tax revenue to the town without burdening the school system, and provides a fair return for our family.
The project developer, Capitol Seniors Housing, is highly respected in the field with a solid track record, and the proposal features a state-of-the-art design and operational sensitivity to both elderly residents and the neighborhood. The financing for the project is solid, with low risk for project disruption after approval.
We have provided information about this proposal to our neighbors in person and through group meetings as information became available, so that they would have a chance to consider the proposal ahead of the first Planning Board hearings and be better prepared with questions, concerns or suggestions. We invited all legal abutters to be our guests at the first of two meetings, and expanded the invitation list to other interested parties at the second meeting, so they would hear directly from the developers and be able to provide input to the plan.
Some people support the project, while others object in part or in whole to the proposal, as is their right. We believe that the proposal will stand or fail on its own merits and will receive a fair hearing before the Planning Board. We also believe that our good-faith efforts to share information with neighbors have been twisted to purposely spread fear and misinformation about a proposed residential community where the average resident will be 85 years of age.
Some of the opponents to the proposal question the size of the building, much of which is expected to be hidden from view, and its various operational aspects. They also question why an assisted-living residence should be sited in a residential area and seem to prefer that we relegate seniors to a mixed-use area, or at the edge of town in an industrial zone. These residents are not light industrial workers. They are our parents and grandparents and, provided issues can be worked through, there is no reason why they should not be located near the downtown area, close to both services and destinations. Their children and grandchildren can also visit and walk locally with them if they are able to do so. There are three clusters of doctor parks close by, and most any needed service is located within a mile. As with any development project, there are issues to be clarified or worked out, and we have never shied away from working with our neighbors to work them out, provided that they work with us and with CSH in good faith and with mutual respect.
As owners, what we have been most interested in is sharing accurate information with our neighbors so that better informed voices can be heard and considered on all issues important to each throughout the Planning Board process. We tried to do the right thing by having neighborhood meetings in advance, but what we got in return was trespassers pulling out property stakes and wetlands flags on our property that delayed a scheduled Conservation Commission hearing, car alarms going off at night, malicious damage, and our mailbox was knocked aside. While we know that most of our neighbors are respectful, it is our hope that the angry mob mentality will stop so that we can let the project stand on its merits. Once the hearing process commences, we are confident that the issues will be fairly addressed, and the town and most around will feel that there is much to be proud about this new residential community.
Robert and Lisa Maye