Letters: Cheshire Candidate Sees Options for Dollar General
To the Editor:
Recently the select board in Cheshire gave up their hands and stated there was nothing they could do to stop Dollar General from locating in the heart of our community.
The citizens of Cheshire have told me, "They don’t understand why the select board didn't act sooner to prevent this type of a business from locating in the historical center of our town."
Dollar General or any business that generates new taxes and employment opportunities should be welcome in our community, provided they are compatible with the historic and community values that make Cheshire such a special place to live. A place that has that small New England look and feel to it, a place where most of grew up and a place where we want our children to live.
It has been said by many that if you drive into a small town as see a Dollar General type store in the historic middle of the town, it shows is some way a lack of leadership and forethought of its elected official.
In this case, the proposed business clearly does not meet these criteria nor the wishes of the citizens of Cheshire. Is there anything we can do to stop this? I say YES!
If elected on Monday, May 5, the first thing I would do would be to meet with the Dollar General developers and try to convince them to look at other better suited sites in Cheshire for their store. A site that I feel would be more appropriate and should be considered by them would be the site of the Old Country Charm restaurant. The site is not being used, and the traffic patterns are better and safer. I would also meet with the current owner of the property to see if there is some alternative(s) to selling to a developer. This may include, but not limited a purchase by the town.
Seeking grants to purchase the historical site(s) contacting organizations like the Berkshire Natural Resource Council or the Historic Preservation commissions to help arrange a purchase of the property.
It should be noted that when the town of Greenfield was faced with the prospects of a Walmart locating in their community. They realized the impact that it would have on their community and banded together to stop the development. We can do this together!
It should also be noted that when a mall was proposed on Route 7 outside of Pittsfield, then Governor Dukakis used his authority to block the development, by refusing to permit a "curb cut" on to the State-owned road. We should be working with Governor Patrick, who has been very supportive of the small-town life in the Berkshires, to request that a "Curb Cut" be denied, based upon traffic-related problems.
Other items that should or could be done are:
1. A moratorium on this type of development. This is common practice as we can see in the battle over the building of gambling casinos or fracking
2. Request a study of the impact on the impact of the developing on such items as A. The available of Water. B, Title 5 and how the developer plans on meeting those requirements.
C. Asbestos and PCBs removal (A study should be done to see if the site/building has any of these.) D. a neighborhood impact study
These are only of the few ways to insure that any development meets the needs and historic nature of our community. What I see is lacking is the wiliness to take on these challenges. These or any other steps must be taken before any building permits are issued.
Once issued, as we can see in the case of the town of Sheffield, there would be little we could then do. It is clear that action must be taken soon!
It is important to let your elected officials know how you feel about this matter, but it is more important that you exercise your rights and vote this Monday
James. M. Boyle
James Boyle is running for the Board of Selectmen in Cheshire.