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By Nathan Lamb

Staff Writer

AYER — The future of Devens and a possible downtown parking facility figure to be prominent questions in 2007, and resident Dennis Curran came before the Planning Board to ask how involved it’d be with those issues.

“Both of those are going to be significant long-term issues for the town,” he said at the Jan. 11 meeting. “I’m suggesting this board be actively involved with each of those processes going forward.”

Specifically, Curran asked if it’s planning to hold public forums and solicit public input as those issues develop.

Board Chairman Elizabeth Hughes said it will be involved, but not by calling public hearings.

Starting with the garage on Park Street, Hughes said the board unanimously voted against that location. However, she said the builder figures to be the town or a state transportation agency, which means Planning Board approval isn’t a factor.

“My understanding is this board has no control over whether a parking garage is built on that property or not,” she said.

Past that, Hughes said she’ll work to make the best of the situation. She said she expects the proponents of that project will approach the board with a design when they have one.

Other members voiced reservations with how the selectmen have advanced the garage project since town meeting accepted state land for it in October.

Board member Patricia Walsh said there hasn’t been much to be involved with.

“The selectmen keep voting on this project without public input,” she said.

“That’s not my sense of the situation,” said Curran.

On the Devens question, board members said they didn’t like the proposal voted for in October because Ayer wouldn’t have received any real control over the north post until it’s fully developed.

Hughes said she was dissatisfied when MassDevelopment balked at providing any sort of zoning map for the amendments they proposed for north post.

“The proposal that was brought before the board, we asked for certain things and were told they couldn’t do that,” she said.

“We were stonewalled,” said board member James Lucchesi.

Discussions on Devens will begin again shortly, said Curran. The town will be best served by the Planning Board being involved, he said.

Hughes said no one on the board would disagree with that statement.

However, Lucchesi closed with a statement that seemed to indicate why he wasn’t interested with what Curran was bringing to the table.

“We can round and round,” he said. The philosophy is that certain people are going to keep twisting and twisting the wheel until they get what they want.”

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