Home Water fund Neighbors say Pembroke 40B project would damage North River

Neighbors say Pembroke 40B project would damage North River

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PEMBROKE – As Pembroke appears to be only one meeting away from approving a 56-unit complex on the North River, eight neighbors are trying to stop the project, citing various environmental and safety concerns.

The group is crowdfunding trial his legal defense to fight the River Marsh Project which faced fierce opposition, and multiple appeals to the state. The group is called Captain River.

Developer Brian Murphy offers 56 condos spread over 16 buildings on 50 acres of land, adjacent to the Rivière du Nord. However, only 16 of the 50 acres are buildable due to the wetlands.

The project, on hold in this form since 2016, would include the minimum number of affordable units, 16, which would increase the percentage of affordable housing in Pembroke from 9.51% to 9.6%. Affordable condos would sell for $ 180,000. Pembroke must reach 10% to block future Chapter 40B projects.

The city attempted to fight development in 2017 claiming that it already had the inventory of 10 percent subsidized housing in me, but the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development rejected the city’s appeal. The state said the city is close at 9.51%, or 616 units, but not close enough to the 647 units it needs at 10%.

January 4, 2021:Hotly contested Chapter 40B project referred to zoning board by state

Hairpin turns, narrow roads and “craters”

The group’s main complaints are that Water Street and Cross Street, which would connect the development to Route 139, are far too narrow and poorly designed to accommodate 112 potential cars on their way to work.

The intersection of Cross Street and Route 139, also known as Church Street, is the same place where the road narrows from two lanes to one, heading south, creating the potential for accidents as drivers get frustrated. try to bypass people who turn right.

From left to right, Dr Scott Chapman, Marty Cournan, John Kan and Robert Schmitz, residents of Water Street in Pembroke, talk about the traffic impact of a large-scale 40B project on their small rural road that runs alongside the North River Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Greg Derr / The Patriot Ledger

The entrance to Water Street is worse, almost a hairpin bend for southbound traffic.

Marty Cournan, a neighbor, said the traffic problems were never resolved as traffic engineers say the narrow, shoulder-less roads can handle the extra vehicles.

Abutter, Robert Schmitz, said Cross and Water Streets are in such poor condition due to crater potholes and head-on collisions are narrowly avoided as drivers are more careful about avoiding them than oncoming traffic.

Exclusion from public meetings

Although they are supposed to have the right to make public comments during the hearings, to date they have only had 15 minutes in total and their hired experts, including a hydrologist, have not been able to speak. , says Cournan.

Dr Scott Chapman, center, talks about the impact development could have on a fragile spring pool on his property on Wednesday, July 7, 2021. Residents of Water Street in Pembroke have come together to fight a large 40B project ladder on their small rural road which runs along the North River.  Greg Derr / The Big Book of Patriots

Public participation has been on the agenda since the first meeting in January, the chairman of the Pembroke Zoning and Construction Appeals Board, Frederick Casavant IV, has systematically blocked comments from the public. It is appointed by elected officials Advice.

January 13, 2021:Pembroke Zoning Council blocks public comment on Chapter 40B presentation

Buters are supposed to get a chance to say their peace, at the August 3 meeting, although it is not clear where it will be held as so many people are expected.

June 10, 2021:The public will have one last chance to comment on the Pembroke 40B project

Environmental concerns

The environmental impact on the Rivière du Nord is a major concern for opponents of the project, who includes state legislators.

Neighbor Scott Chapman said the construction will likely damage the river, as will the effluent from the sewage treatment plant the developer is building. Pembroke does not have a city-wide sewer system.

Chapman said a hydrologist hired by the abutters group, who was not allowed to speak at public hearings, said untreated dog droppings draining into the watershed is also a major source of contamination.

After:Lawmakers target proposed 40B project in Pembroke on North River

Project rejected in 2005, but little has changed

Chapman, Schmitz and Cournan said that some of the main objections they have to the project are the same reasons the state used to reject a previous iteration in 2005 it was the age restricted to the elderly. The current draft contains slight variations, including fewer units. This is compensated by the absence of age restrictions.

After:Read the letter from the state rejecting the project in 2005

MassHousing officials never gave any reasons or conclusions about how the project has changed enough to be acceptable, compared to the 2005 proposal, Cournan said.

Residents of Water Street in Pembroke united to fight a large-scale 40B project on their small rural road that runs along the North River on Wednesday July 7, 2021 Greg Derr / The Patriot Ledger

Among the state’s findings in 2005 were road safety issues with cars entering and exiting Route 139, as well as the poor condition of Water and Cross streets.

The project will also be adjacent to an “important natural resource”, the Rivière du Nord, which “constitutes a serious environmental threat”. Finally, the project is in a flood-prone area, state officials said in 2005.

In its approval letter in 2018, the heads of MassHousing says the project must address a variety of concerns including the environment, road safety, water use and landscaping, but not flooding.

Cournan, Schmitz and Chapman have said they are not opposed to the housing projects but that the project is on a bad site and they want to see it stopped.

Our past coverage of the River Marsh 40B project

June 10, 2021:The public will have one last chance to comment on the Pembroke 40B project

April 26, 2021:Lawmakers target proposed 40B project in Pembroke on North River

January 13, 2021:Pembroke Zoning Council blocks public comment on Chapter 40B presentation

January 4, 2021:Hotly contested Chapter 40B project referred to zoning board by state

March 19, 2019:Pembroke, River Marsh call on state to settle affordable housing debate

February 13, 2019:Pembroke 40B figures cast doubt on River Marsh project

January 31, 2019:Pembroke selectman reiterates opposition to River Marsh Chapter 40B project

February 5, 2017:Neighbors and residents oppose Pembroke condo project with petition

Contact reporter Wheeler Cowperthwaite at [email protected].

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