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Changes to Devens Zoning

June 5, 2015 : Nashoba Publishing

Ayer, Harvard and Shirley will each hold a Super Town Meeting Monday, at the same time, to consider four zoning articles proposed by MassDevelopment.

Article one seeks to rezone the Village Growth District, which is within the Devens Enterprise Zone and geographically located in Shirley. The new zoning would allow senior residential housing with MassDevelopment planning to build 120 age-restricted rental units.

Article two, also in the Village Growth area, would rezone the area for "health care uses" such as medical offices.

Article three would bring a land swap with Rogers Field and the Willow Brook Corridor designated "Open Space/Recreation" and Adams Circle rezoned for development.

Article four would rezone the southern part of Grant Road to allow office and research businesses ruled out by current zoning. The northern part of Grant Road would remain residential.

Voters in all three towns must approve the articles. If even one town says no, the proposals are denied.

We heard Harvard selectmen express their distrust of MassDevelopment as they voted against the proposals this week. While we understand their desire to know the end-game in the state's ultimate plans for Devens, 2032, the year in which the state agency is set to leave Devens, is a long way off.

MassDevelopment seems to have taken its direction from previous failed STM votes on large-scale changes, this time going smaller, instead.

Standing in the way of what look to be logical steps forward, serving needs of both the growing senior population and much-needed commerce, seems contrary, counter-productive and ill-advised.