Letter: Greenfield development

Penny Ricketts’ letter referencing the discount department store prompts me, after doing so recently, to encourage citizens to review Greenfield’s various town plans.

Those I reviewed began with the 1993 “Corridor Design Guidelines and Goals Applicable to All Corridors” (No additional corridors seem to have been designated). The 2001 Master (Policy) Plan has extensive details on its topic pages, and the 2002-03 Downtown Master Plan is a major document that should be familiar to every citizen. The 2004 Community Development Plan/418 state-funded plan focuses on the suitability of locations. The 2011 Open Space & Recreation Plan, includes the results of the citizen survey.

These seem to me to be good clear guides with fairly consistent goals for the town’s future which stem from uses and location. However, plans provide background, hopefully reflect the residents’ preferences and suggest steps to realization, but they lack legal standing and can’t make it happen. That’s where citizens and town officials come in, but many good intentions seem to have languished over these 20+ years, a terrible waste of public funds. It is critical to ensure that the new Master Plan not only reflects what residents think is best for the town but that it be implemented. Citizens must continue to be engaged, voice their opinions and have reasonable expectations.

Understanding the capability of land is basic to good community land use planning. That was often overlooked in the days of our ultimate faith in mankind’s ability to overcome nature. Construction of the Route 2 bypass has encouraged development of the Cherry Rum Brook ecosystem corridor for commerce and brought pollution from automobile traffic, rather than directing it to Greenfield’s central plateau town center so admired for its beauty in earlier days.

In addition to environmental considerations, if Greenfield thinks of itself as a community (rather than just a governmental unit) decisions such as where to site retail stores or other uses become clear. With respect to the present site of Penny’s subject, Greenfield pays a high price as the facilitator and host for destination traffic while missing the opportunity to attract people to its walkable and historic community center with retail (including discount retail), a theatre, eateries of all kinds, a market, library, visitor center and entertainment venues, rather than having things work in reverse. Surely there is a solution to this.

MARCIA STARKEY

Tower Hill Consultants

Greenfield

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