Citizens for Lexington Conservation promotes the enjoyment and appreciation of our natural environment through education and advocacy.
CLC is a non-profit organization in the town of Lexington, Massachusetts.
Dear Candidate for Town Office,
Each year Citizens for Lexington Conservation poses questions pertaining to issues that will be coming before Town Meeting to all candidates for Town Office, collects the responses, and publishes them in our February newsletter prior to Town elections. This year’s question is focused on the pace of residential development in our community. The last couple years have seen considerable and growing concern expressed about the scale and pace of residential development occurring in Lexington, and the deleterious effects it has had on our natural resources, environment, and infrastructure. Residents have expressed concerns about the loss of open space, destruction of mature trees and overall reduction of the Town’s tree canopy, and dramatic changes to the character of local neighborhoods. Additionally this past year there has been a significant increase in the blasting of ledges and rock formations, which has raised concerns about soil stability and storm water runoff.
Town Meeting 2016 passed several zoning bylaws that addressed some of the issues caused by the replacement of modest sized houses on small sized lots by “McMansions.” This year, in response to residents’ ongoing concerns, the Planning Board will propose additional zoning changes that address some of the problems raised by the pace and extent of development. Details on most of these proposed changes will not be ready for consideration and review until past our deadline for sending out this year’s question for candidates and collecting your responses. Therefore, rather than focusing on specific warrant articles that will come before Town Meeting, our question this year is of a more general nature with the goal of broadening the discussion of this issue within our community.
The tool kit available to municipalities to govern residential development can be divided into two broad categories, i.e., municipal acquisition of larger parcels to limit their development, and amendments to the Town’s Zoning By-Laws governing the development of private property.
Municipal acquisition can be of two basic types. Developable parcels can be acquired outright, or through acquisition or purchase of a Conservation Restriction limiting or preventing future development of a given parcel. A portion of Lexington’s annual CPA funds have been used in the past for such acquisitions and can continue to be tapped in future years.
Amendments to the Town’s Zoning By-Laws can affect a wide variety of conditions including:
The first two of the above examples were the subject of warrant articles approved at last year’s Town Meeting. The remaining examples will be the subject of articles that will come before this year’s Town Meeting. There will be no articles proposing acquisition of open space coming before Town Meeting this year.
The question that CLC is asking this year’s candidates is as follows:
Are you in favor of continuing to add to the Town’s tool kit to limit or otherwise control the pace of residential development in our community? If so, please indicate which types of measures you feel the Town should take to add to the controls already in place. Please also include a brief statement as to why you feel the position you are taking is important for the future development of our community.
The Planning Board will be holding a series of public hearings on these proposed amendments prior to the start of Town Meeting to continue to gather community input as the Board refines each proposed article. Please consult the Planning Board’s web page on the Town web site to keep abreast of the latest schedule and current information on each of the amendments to be submitted to Town Meeting.
Please respond to the question using no more than one half page. E-mail replies are preferred, but typewritten and even legible handwritten ones will be accepted. Please put your name, precinct number, telephone number, email address and the position you are seeking at the top of your statement. A copy of the topic you are addressing will be printed in the newsletter, so you do not need to repeat it in your response.
Please send your response to:
21 Captain Parker Arms, Apt 11
Lexington, MA 02421-7042
Responses must be received by no later than February 6.
http://www.lexingtonma.gov/planning-board Planning Board
http://www.lexingtonma.gov/planning-office Planning Office
Let us know if there is an upcoming event that should be listed here.
Joe-Pye-Weed in Dunback Meadow, August 2016 (photo courtesy John Andrews)
Are you looking for a new route to walk, run or bike?
ACROSS Lexington is waiting for you - try it!
You can find route information here.
ACROSS Lexington stands for Accessing Conservation land, Recreation areas, Open space, Schools and Streets in Lexington.
Please let us know if you would be interested in working with CLC in any capacity. Could you write a piece for the Newsletter? Lead a walk? Work on the website? Take a leadership role on the
Board? Help manage marketing/outreach? Drop us a line if you think you can help - we always welcome new faces!
CLC is sponsoring a new program for children - the Junior Ranger Program - aimed at getting kids out into Lexington's Conservation properties with games and activities. In conjunction with Cary Memorial Library we have a booklet to guide children and their parents. The kids will visit several different Conservation areas, fill out some activity sheets that will guide nature observation, and can, upon completion, receive a Junior Ranger Certificate from the Library.
You can find the Junior Ranger booklet here.
New Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land Now Available
The Lexington Conservation Stewards have created a new Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land, which includes color trail maps along with descriptions and historical information for Lexington’s 25 walk-able conservation areas. Covering nearly 30 miles of trails, it is an essential book for both veteran trail users and new explorers who’d like to discover the forests, fields, and wetlands in Lexington.
The Trail Guide to Lexington’s Conservation Land is available, for a minimum donation of $10, at the Town of Lexington Community Development Office located in the Town Offices Building at 1625 Massachusetts Avenue. Proceeds benefit the Lexington Nature Trust Fund, which helps to care for our 1300 acres of public conservation land.
More information about the Conservation Department