Monday, January 12, 2015

Local Tempest in a Teapot

This "letter to the editor" was submitted to the LongmeadowBuzz blog by Marjorie Morgan of Longmeadow, MA.

Our local Tempest in a Teapot pales to many events taking place in our world.  I refer to the proposed expansion of the Longmeadow Shops, AKA a LifeStyle Center.

This tempest is important to our town.  The town of Longmeadow has grown over the years.  There are no more dirt roads and few meadows as some like to recall.  And, that is exactly my point.  We can no longer make major decisions regarding our town’s geographical layout as was done in the 50's, 60's, 70's and so on.  We are now a small urban area with little room and that space should be used wisely.

If you were hearty enough to come out for the Planning Board meeting on January 6th or watched it on LCTV, you might have witnessed what I observed.  I watched a well-meaning but mostly uninformed group dithering with thoughts and ideas that for the most parts are outdated or narrow.  We cannot be stuck in "old days" of "we know the folks, and what the heck, let's just approve it...after all, they are our neighbors and a doctor said it is a good idea."

I am in no way saying that the present set-up is not crowded and dangerous or  that a drive-thru is a bad idea.  I am saying that the step of supporting this and a potential change of zoning should be done with the consultation of a neutral urban planner and a traffic study.  If and when Brightwood Hardware closes and The Big Y expands, another element in thrown into the mix.

The Planning Board is way over their heads. As a town we must insist that someone who understands urban planning consult as well as a traffic study before we embark on a LifeStyle Center that haunts us for years.

In closing, I must add that newly constructed pharmacies tend to add a "Doc In A Box" staffed with a nurse that sees many different illnesses....some that will be contagious. So that does negate the public health issue that seems to have taken on the fear of ebola.

At the Town Meeting, Vote No until the concept is looked at by good planners.  This is not 1950.

Marjorie Morgan

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