To meet Safe Harbor requirements the Commonwealth is virtually forcing the town of Grafton to allow the sale of a parcel of land to developers for construction of 104 apartments and two parking garages. It would be a 40B project, similar to several other new projects in town, multifamily developments that include a percentage of low income housing. The Zoning Board of Appeals has been delaying approval of the variance needed, but they are between a rock and a hard place, and it seems inevitable that the project in some form will proceed.
The land is a beautiful field that for many years was used to grow hay. It is adjacent to Land Trust and Fish and Wildlife preserve forest, wetlands, and a thriving pond. The field is located on Pleasant Street — a narrow, winding country road that is already experiencing traffic problems. The neighbors are up in arms about this, as it’s currently a road of mostly modest, single family homes already affected by a dangerous amount of traffic,
My biggest concern is for the wildlife that lives in that field and the surrounding protected land. As it sits, it’s a perfect mini-ecosystem, supporting a variety of wildlife. Hundreds of species would be affected, including piliated woodpeckers, bald eagles, salamanders, fox, river otters, turtles and many more. Not only would this project pave over paradise and destroy habitat, the chemical runoff from lawns and parking lots would carry the damage far from the site, and the additional human activity would ultimately drive out or kill most of the animals that live there. And here in Grafton, what used to be a lovely small town, there will soon be no safe place for those animals to go.
Let’s stand up to this forced continued development. If it continues our towns will lose their New England character completely and will be devoid of most of our wildlife. Human beings are not the only creatures with rights – just the only ones that can speak up for themselves.
Wendy J. Reid