To the Editor:

A Bridgewater Center of Excellence Christmas Carol.

Our cast: Mayor Dan Hayes and his planning board appointees, Ms. Casamento, Mr. Franco, Ms. Powers, Mr. Pandya and Mr. Rodzinak

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Christmas is fast approaching. Mayor Hayes has yet to be visited by the three spirits of Christmas. In the present, outgoing mayor Dan Hayes is gloating over his victory over the homeowners of Bridgewater. He gleefully rubs his hands together reveling in the suffering of his former constituents. He has ignored their pleas about the COE and their concerns about cancer causing Benzene and a loss of hard-earned, property values. He laughs in their faces about traffic and scoffs at their pain about changing the character of Bridgewater. The minions that he selected for his planning board express nary a concern nor do they ask even one question. Not one can force themselves to thank the public for expressing concerns and pointing out errors and omissions presented in the COE development plan testimony.  Dan has forced the planning board to have a rapid succession of meetings during the holidays; a tactic designed to suppress homeowner participation. His tried and true practice of ignoring the voices of the public and listening only to developers has visited the destruction of the quality of life previously enjoyed by Bridgewater residents.  The earmarks of this destruction are  rampant commercial development, clear cutting trees, excessive demands on our police force, forcing our infrastructure to failure (failed water mains and sewers), minimizing environmental concerns and exposing the school district to the draconian measures necessary to adapt to the anticipated tidal wave of new students. Forget all day kindergarten and say hello to redistricting.

The ghost of Christmas future visits Dan and his planning board. It is indeed a horrifying vision. Bridgewater is an urban landscape of high-density development. Dan and his pals have parted ways, each pursuing a path devoid of friendship and ostracized by their social circles. Traffic is near a standstill. The schools have lost their luster.  Those who can afford to send their children to private schools. Once a model suburb, Bridgewater is awash in rental units where few have a stake in the community.

The only salvation is for the planning board to resign now. Let the new administration fight for the rights of the homeowners and residents of Bridgewater.  Resign now and let a new planning board exercise discretion as they mitigate the damage already done. Let the voices of the public prevail over those of the developers.  We may not be able to undo all the damage that has been done, but you may regain some small share of your dignity. In fact, join us in the fight against the COE as we move forward. It’s too late for Dan (Ebenezer) Hayes. There will be no joyous Christmas morning of redemption. There are only the promises made by his new friends, the developers. Promises which will reveal themselves after he is out of office. I wonder what assurances were made to make someone sell their soul. Let’s wait and see.


John Kulak