A good or bad idea in the long run?

The proposed chapter 40B “Senior Housing” (or is it a “Low-income Housing?”) project is going to be before the Zoning Board of Appeals on March 9. No less then 16 exemptions are being requested, read more»

Posted on 1 Mar 2010, 19:18 - Category: Legal Notices
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Posted on 2 Mar 2010, 21:38 by Mike LaMountain
20 units on 2 acres???
Are you guys kidding me. The last time I checked you need 3 acres for every dwelling located within an agricultural residential zone. Just because the selectmen are not happy with how their 2 acres is zoned they seek to circumvent the zoning by-laws by placing 20 units on 2 acres. Are you kidding me???? That is 10 units per acre... Im sure thats good for the land

From the way the list of variences they are seeking sounds to me it seems they feel they dont have to follow any of the by-laws that are in place for the protection of the town just because they are not convienent for that at this time.

You know that most if not all of the variences will be granted seeings how the people that will be deciding on them have all been placed in their positions by the selectmen.

To me it sounds like they are trying to cram down the towns throat a development on subpar land and they dont think their "pet" developers should have to follow any of the laws in place.

I would like to take this opportunity to ask Jim Wetflower and Earl Johnson just what exactly is in this for them? I mean it is obvious that they are going to hold the developers hands and make sure their friends have everything they need as far as streamling the permiting and building process. So how much was the payoff? Did someone say "bribe"?

On an off note I would just like to make notice that all this stuff is being done for the seniors, i.e. $850,000 senior center, 20unit megacomplex of senior housing on subpar land, new jobs at the town hall( available only to seniors). Well what exactly are you doing for everyone who isnt a senior??? What are you doing for my generation???? How do you help small business in this town???? So many people are out of work right now and all you care about is the seniors. You have no problem wasting OUR taxdollars on superlawyers to punish your opponents (me). Just how much money exactly have you spent of the towns money so far to punish me and trying to destroy my farm? You dont see me asking for a long list of "variences" to circumvent the laws put in place.



Posted on 4 Mar 2010, 15:33 by not so brave in Holland
A mistake we won't be able to correct!
I've read the Holland Blog and at times I've thought it to be the comments of supporters or friends of the powers that run it.
Let me preface what I have to say with, I am NOT a friend or foe of Peter Frei, the Lamountains or anyone else that is or has been associated with the writings or content of 01521.com.

The night the vote was taken to enter into an agreement with a contractor for the construction of the proposed senior housing project adjacent to the Senior Center at no time was there any mention that they also had to obtain 16 variances in order to do so. I think the residents in the Town of Holland have come to expect that the zoning laws of the town will be upheld and enforced by our town government, the very people that put the zoning in place as protection to all of us to insure that our properties won't be negatively impacted especially for the benefit and profit of a private enterprise or individual.

I could understand if there was a minor variance needed in order to put the project forward. However 16 waivers or variances constitute rezoning the land in order to allow the project to commence. There doesn't seem to be any consideration being given to the people who abut or live near the project and the devastating effect it will have on their property values. Not to mention the denial of their rights to the quiet enjoyment of their homes not only during the construction of the project but the permanent disruption and eroding away of their privacy due to the everyday goings on that would accompany a 20 unit project long after it is completed.

I'm not against Senior Housing but has anyone even asked the question of how many Holland residents are going to benefit by this project? It's going to be run and operated by a private concern. Are we naive to think that any Holland residents will be guaranteed housing there or that there will be any employment for any of our own HOLLAND residents? Or is it going to be staffed by people who already work for the developer that are from OUT OF TOWN. In some towns in the state of Massachusetts seniors have to live in the town for at least 5 yrs to benefit from the housing built in a town such as this.. Do we have any such safeguards that our elderly here in Holland will be taken care of and guaranteed housing when they need it? I doubt that very much. In reality, is Senior Housing really needed in a town like Holland? We have nothing to offer them. We don't have shopping, transportation or the medical facilities seniors need in the autumn of their lives. We don't even have 24 hour police protection or even our own ambulance to take care of the needs of our own townspeople let alone an additional 20 unit complex dedicated to an elderly population that would inevitably demand and require such additional services. In addition, is it even legal to engage in a federally funded project such as this without a municipal water supply? Wasn't that an issue that was shoved under the rug with regard to the Senior Center when it was built?

This project is a pipe dream of a few people who have skirted the important issues such as zoning from the inception of this project and one does have to ask the question, why?
This project has been in the works for over 4 years, why weren't these issues of zoning requirements out of the way before it got this far? There have been closed door meetings going on with regard to this project from the onset. As stated in the first item on the Zoning Board of Appeals letter posted on this Blog, the fact that the town won't even bother to locate the abutters' well and septic prior to approval is an indication of the arrogance that town officials have about this project and their intention to force it through at any cost. This should be of primary concern as to where the well and septic is of an abutter’s property, a present tax payer to the town. It's an indication they don't care about any of the issues involved. I just don't understand what is going through our town officials minds giving this piece of land which will probably be tax exempt to a private developer. Where is the additional money that will be required for additional services going to come from? At the selectman's meeting Tuesday night Mr. Wettlaufer was concerned about a $2.00 tax that might be placed on his home owner’s insurance policy. This from an official who failed to submit the proper documentation on the assessment records of the town of Holland in the required time allotment despite warnings by the state that resulted in the loss of $150,000 in state aid to the Town of Holland. In any job in the private sector a $150,000 mistake would result in an immediate firing.

This project is a mockery of the very town zoning laws that our town officials said would protect our properties. If this project goes through, it will set a precedent for future projects that are going to destroy the value of property in OUR town. You only have to look around Lake Hamilton to see what the lack of zoning did to this town back in the 50's and 60's. That can't be changed, however the zoning board of appeals needs to do the right thing and refuse to grant these 16 variances and uphold the zoning laws. These laws have been implemented to protect our residents from the people of our town who would do it harm, and in this case it's the proponents of this Senior Housing Project. Failure of the zoning board of appeals to reject these 16 variances and waivers would be a clear message to the Holland residents that they have a total disregard for the zoning laws that exist and that what is right and what the people want doesn't matter to them in the least.

During a televised meeting Tuesday night, Earl Johnson made mention of a woman who had apparently read the above blog article regarding the project and called him "screaming" about the possible first slum of Holland to be created as a result of this project. Mr. Johnson stated that this was a "Senior Housing Project" and not a slum.
He went on to say that there is a fine line between "genius" and "idiot" and people would have to make their own determination as to which the writer was who inspired that call to him as a result of their opinion. If there is only a fine line between genius and idiot, we're all in trouble Earl and one doesn't have to be either to determine that this project should NEVER have even been suggested on this proposed site to begin with.

This project doesn't have to have the outward appearance of a slum to have a slum effect on the town and its surrounding properties. This is a classic example of government shoving something down our throats based on technicalities and that the people just don't want. For once I hope the people of the Town of Holland show up for the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on March 9 to let it be known that they are against the town taking the law into their own hands and changing it when it suits them to do so.

This is a mistake we won't be able to correct. This is an insult to the people of Holland.

Posted on 4 Mar 2010, 21:08 by A former ZBA member who knows the law(s)
Interested in knowing more
To Not so brave in Holland:

You are so right to encourage Holland residents to show up @ the March 9 ZBA meeting because everyone should be aware there are strict guidelines the ZBA must follow - to grant a variance. A variance CANNOT be granted at will. And I doubt there are 16 good reasons that meet the criteria for this project. The ZBA (via town) can be sued if they negligently grant these variances. Also it's a real serious offense to hold a meeting behind closed doors unless litigation is pending on a matter. Please let us know more when (where) these meetings took place so proper action can be taken.

Posted on 5 Mar 2010, 11:26 by Dee
Many Years ago I lived in Springfield Massachusetts, on a Street called Marble st. It wasn't a fancy neighborhood. Just average families. Then one day the peaceful dead end street became a slum. All because of a so-called elderly housing unit that everyone believed would be just that. But not one elderly person ever moved in, because It was never intended for the elderly. the gullible people on the street were trusting and believed the corrupt politicians who lied to us. The minute people moved in the crime started and it all went downhill from there. Not to mention it was also built on wetlands. I hope that everyone goes to this meeting and keeps this from becoming a grim reality for Holland.

Posted on 5 Mar 2010, 13:29 by Peter Frei
The Anti-Snob zoning law..
Chapter 40B regulation, also called the "Anti-snob zoning law," passed in 1969 by one vote. The anti-snob zoning law refers to section 20 through section 23 of chapter 40B. It was introduced to curb municipal boards, such as select, zoning, health, planning, and other boards from putting endless roadblocks in the permitting process in an attempt to prevent such projects.
Holland is different. Where other, caring communities, apply the doctrine, "not in my backyard," Holland’s apathetic residents blindly follow there "leaders," who, instead of being critical about such a project, are shoving it down the apathetic residents' throats.
Our "Leaders" have a documented history of just looking out for themselves and their cronies, Johnson's Landgate and Wettlaufer's Truck Stop are two perfect examples.

Chapter 40B, s.21 in essence provides a simplified permitting process requiring an applicant to just attend a public hearing before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). The ZBA can request representatives of other boards to attend the public hearing. However, the ZBA ultimately is the entity with the power to grant or deny such an application. The ZBA has the right according to s.21 to file special rules with the town clerk for applications under the "Anti-snob zoning law." It would surprise me if they did.

The "Anti-snob zoning law" is not meant to exempt an applicant from any provisions of any by-law or provisions of the General Laws. The law only provides for an expatiated permitting process by requiring attendance of one public hearing instead of attending separate meetings with every board.
The law is meant to prevent boards from raising arbitrary and discretionary requests geared towards preventing such projects.
The application submitted to the ZBA and subject to the public hearing of March 9, is a "done deal," because of individuals like Don Beal. Don Beal is a close friend of Earl Johnson and appointed to the ZBA while Johnson was serving on the selectboard. There is a rumor in town that Earl Johnson plans to have Don Beal on the ballot to replace him.

If the ZBA will grant HAP’s application, only abutters to the locus have an opportunity to appeal the ZBA’s decision (c.40A, s.17). If the public is showing up in droves and the ZBA will deny the application or deny it in part, HAP can appeal the denial to the Housing Appeals Committee. The hearing by the Housing Appeals Committee in the department of housing and community development is limited to the issue of whether, in the case of the denial of the HAP application, the decision of the ZBA was reasonable and consistent with local needs. This limited standard for review is mandatory and a denial by the ZBA would doubtless withstand the test, hence a better solution could be found for our deserving seniors.
The decision by the Housing Appeals Committee can be reviewed by the Superior Court.

Our senior citizens deserve better; our community deserves better! Our Board of Selectmen would be well advised to stop wasting our money defending indefensible lawsuits and instead spend our tax dollars for the common good. Wettlaufer’s and Johnson’s pursuit of their personal vindictive agendas have to stop.

Posted on 15 Feb 2011, 12:26 by JJacobi
Unfortunately, the way 40B is written all of Chapter40A is compromised with this filing including local zoning bylaws. However, the first request made of the applicant is not a zoning issue but a Board of Health issue. The Board can deny the applicant's request to relocate the well and redesign a title v system if in their oppinion the existing well and sytem is working and meets titile 5. The only approach to stop the 40B is through the BOH.

Posted on 15 Feb 2011, 20:18 by Peter Frei
Not so..
To "JJacobi,"
your comment is appreciated.
However, your statement, "[t]The only approach to stop the 40B is through the BOH" is misconceived. Applications under 40B are subject to the same scrutiny as applications made outside of chapter 40B. Section 21 provides:

"Any public agency or limited dividend or nonprofit organization proposing to build low or moderate income housing may submit to the board of appeals, established under section twelve of chapter forty A, a single application to build such housing in lieu of separate applications to the applicable local boards. The board of appeals shall forthwith notify each such local board, as applicable, of the filing of such application by sending a copy thereof to such local boards for their recommendations and shall, within thirty days of the receipt of such application, hold a public hearing on the same. The board of appeals shall request the appearance at said hearing of such representatives of said local boards as are deemed necessary or helpful in making its decision upon such application and shall have the same power to issue permits or approvals as any local board or official who would otherwise act with respect to such application, including but not limited to the power to attach to said permit or approval conditions and requirements with respect to height, site plan, size or shape, or building materials as are consistent with the terms of this section. The board of appeals, in making its decision on said application, shall take into consideration the recommendations of the local boards and shall have the authority to use the testimony of consultants. The board of appeals shall adopt rules, not inconsistent with the purposes of this chapter, for the conduct of its business pursuant to this chapter and shall file a copy of said rules with the city or town clerk. The provisions of section eleven of chapter forty A shall apply to all such hearings. The board of appeals shall render a decision, based upon a majority vote of said board, within forty days after the termination of the public hearing and, if favorable to the applicant, shall forthwith issue a comprehensive permit or approval. If said hearing is not convened or a decision is not rendered within the time allowed, unless the time has been extended by mutual agreement between the board and the applicant, the application shall be deemed to have been allowed and the comprehensive permit or approval shall forthwith issue. Any person aggrieved by the issuance of a comprehensive permit or approval may appeal to the court as provided in section seventeen of chapter forty A."

Please read my comment (supra) again to understand the difference, thanks!

Posted on 15 Feb 2011, 22:33 by Just sayin
It looks to me that jj doesn't like the 40b law and is trying to come up with ways to circumvent the law and deny people their rights. The fact that he is an ex member of the board of health only solidifys my beliefs....Welcome to Holland

Posted on 16 Feb 2011, 13:10 by well drilling septic installer
Jacobi Hahahah Shame on You
Oh my God is this the same J Jacobi who had to resign from the Board of Health in shame after he got caught tampering with title 5 reports for properties he bought on Chaffee and Over the Top roads, that he put a septic system in filled in wetlands and remodeled without permits.??? You fit right in with Johnson/Wettlaufer gangs on team evil. Maybe you could run for selectman next.. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHa

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