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As a neighbor to the proposed Emily’s Way development, I encourage the Ayer Planning Board in its efforts to thoroughly understand the impacts of what the developer has proposed, and to adhere to the improvements to subdivision rules that were discussed in 2001. Presumably, the changes outlined in 2001 were intended to update requirements to modern best practices and to afford the Planning Board the flexibility it needs to address each proposal’s unique challenges. The Planning Board should have the discretion to apply the best practices to all proposed subdivisions. After all, we have to live in these neighborhoods well after the bulldozers and developers depart.

In the instance of Emily’s Way, the developer has stated that his design does not comply with the 2001 updates to the town subdivision rules. Why would a developer not aspire to meet what amounts to improved standards? Shouldn’t every new house and every new neighborhood in our small town adhere to the best possible practices and scrutiny? Don’t the current residents deserve the highest standards?

Perhaps it is not the job of the developer to design for the concern of the neighborhoods around the proposed site. In this instance, the goal is not to improve roads or open space for the town, but to build as many houses as possible on one of the steepest, rockiest, most thickly settled hillsides in the town’s center. This is no easy task. This is why the town needs to seek advice from engineers to evaluate the impacts of the extensive blasting as well as the inevitable increase in the rate of runoff that will deluge the already damp residents on Groton Harvard Road, the possible changes in traffic flow, the problems of snow removal, the gate/no gate dilemma, and the impacts of having roads on both sides of Nashoba Park Assisted and Independent Living Residence.

These are serious matters which the town, the neighbors, and the imagined residents of the proposed subdivision will be dealing with long after the developer has left the scene. With all the moving parts on this proposal, I applaud the town Planning Board for seeking the advice of experts. The Planning Board has to take the long, broad view. They are charged with concerning themselves with the people and infrastructure outside the boundaries of the site plan. The Ayer Planning Board has to look to the future of the town while being good stewards of the lands, neighborhoods, and residents.

So, Ayer Planning Board, I encourage you to get the expertise you need. Please be sure to fully appreciate the impact of all the blasting, clearing, road-building, future road maintenance, and drainage issues, and apply the best possible standards when developing our town.