~Submitted by Gail Green
When I moved to 23 Railroad Avenue in 1977, the abandoned railroad tracks were across the street and quite a way into the woods. In 1993, a builder apparently made a deal with the State to move the Boston & Maine Railroad easement to the south side of our street, so he could build two houses.
The Select Board states that homes near bike paths increase in value. As a real estate agent for almost four decades, I am quite sure this is not the case for homes with bike paths in their front yard or immediately across the street.
If this project is approved, it would be very hard for anyone on Railroad Avenue, or any of the abutters, to sell their homes during the next 4 or 5 years. Some residents might want to or even be forced to sell in that time frame, due to health or other issues. Any such forced sale would certainly be at a price well below reasonable values.
Although we are being offered compensation for the temporary use of our land during the project, our quality of life would be significantly diminished, due to stress caused by noise, dirt, disruptions, and access issues.
We also learned at the abutters’ meeting with the Town that we should hire a lawyer to add an indemnification clause to our paperwork, to assure that we would be protected from any injuries that might happen on our property during this project.
Our neighbors across the street would lose about half their driveway. Their lots are already shallow because they back up to the original railroad bed, which is now wetlands. These neighbors would only have one car length to back out of their driveway and cross the bikeway to access the road. The Select Board indicated there would be lots of signs and there should be no safety concerns. We are all careful drivers, but this is an accident waiting to happen. A few years ago, we decided to create a turnaround on our driveway, so we can now face the street when leaving our house. The homes across the street don’t have that option.
We urge all residents to seriously consider the harmful impact this project would have on all abutters and to vote NO at Special Town Meeting.