To the Editor:
True to form, The Bridgewater Planning Board scheduled a vote on the overdevelopment of the Houlihans site one week before Labor Day. Most of us are on vacation or getting our children ready for school. Some of us are looking forward to celebrating Labor Day with family and friends. The planning board has scheduled this vote for Aug. 26 at 7 p.m. The proposal includes 19 variances and requests for relief. The out-of-town developer wants to add a Choice Hotel and Goddard School to the existing Houlihans site at Rt. 22 E and Morgan Lane. The homeowners of Morgan Lane and Finderne Heights are bearing the brunt of this development. We will all pay the price of increased traffic on Rt. 22.
Despite Mayor Hayes’ lame duck status, he and his planning board continue to approve project after project. This is one of seven new hotels. The nearby residents, concerned citizens and homeowners who take the time to speak at public meetings are ignored. This project in particular proposes to overdevelop a site that the developer has neglected for 20 years. Part of the developer’s rationale in seeking approval is to improve the appearance of the site. The developer is responsible for the deterioration of the site and wants approval of a much larger site intensive project to clean up his own mess. Huh?
Neither the mayor, the planning board or their attorney expressed any outrage at the unethical strategy outlined by the developer’s attorney. The developer is seeking approval from the DOT to activate a dormant driveway opening onto Rt 22 E. The driveway is currently on a separate lot. If this lot were to remain separate this tactic would be legal. But the lot will not remain separate. The developer proposes the lots should be combined as a condition of planning board approval. This is a critical part of his proposal. It relieves him of complying with current zoning requirements. Apparently only developers can have their cake and eat it too.
All of the public testimony has been in opposition to the overdevelopment with its 19 variances and relief requests. Not one variance benefits the nearby homeowners. The homeowner and neighborhood has been largely ignored. Nearby homeowners are opposed to the development. Combining a nursery school with a tavern and hotel, which also serves alcohol, doesn’t pass the common sense test. Shared parking lots will bring the hotel and happy hour patrons right next to the children in the school.
Residents have pleaded to have traffic controls on Morgan Lane. The planning board must impose restrictions on construction vehicles for this project as a condition of approval. All construction vehicles must be limited to Rt 22 access only.
Please make sure to attend this very important meeting.