The Walpole Planning Board hopes its input will sway the opinion of its counterpart in Foxboro.
Planning Board members are attending a public hearing tonight being held by Foxboro’s Planning Board to address potential zoning changes that would allow things like wind turbines and commuter rail to set up shop in Walpole’s backyard.
Foxboro is considering four amendments to its zoning bylaws for a potential town meeting in December.
Walpole’s Planning Board will address two of those amendments. One would create renewable energy regulations to permit wind turbines, most likely installed by New England Patriots ownership, the Kraft Group. Another allows commuter rail or bus between Boston and Worcester to Patriot Place seven days a week, year-round. Commuter rail between the three destinations currently operates only on game days during the Patriots’ football season.
Walpole Planning Board member Rich Mazzocca said Walpole’s board members are unanimously against both ideas. Mazzocca will be one of several Planning Board members presenting commentary at tonight’s hearing.
“The Kraft Group wants to bring people to Patriots Place. We understand the Kraft Group is in business and want to develop their land, but it’s got to be done with the fact that there’s a residential community on just the other side of this development,” Mazzoca said.
The Kraft Group began considering wind energy for Patriot Place last year. In December, a 150-foot pole tower went up in one of the stadium’s parking lots directly across from Patriot Place on Rte. 1. The tower was installed for a six-month study.
Mazzocca said that not only are wind turbines unwanted by the Walpole Planning Board, the specifics in the amendment are alarming. Signs could be posted on the wind turbines and the turbines could also exceed 500 feet.
“Our concern is that there doesn’t appear to be concern from Foxboro or Kraft that that’s a residential area (nearby). A 500-foot wind turbine would be in the backyard of Walpole folks and Norfolk folks. Five hundred foot wind turbines just don’t belong there,” he said. “I’m not against alternative energy or wind turbines, but they have to go in the right spot. They don’t belong that close to residential area.”
Mazzocca said the Planning Board is worried about traffic should rail service increase to Patriot Place.
“The amount of train traffic going through Walpole would really be detrimental to the town,” he said. “A lot of people live along that rail line.”
All abutting towns are invited to the Foxboro planning board open hearing. Mazzocca believes Foxboro will take Walpole and other town’s input into serious consideration along with input from Foxboro citizens themselves.
“With the casino for example, a lot of people in Foxboro were dead set against it. I think people in Foxboro were concerned about the town’s image and won’t just sign off on anything that’s put before them. Five hundred foot towers on Rte. 1 – I think a lot of people would be able to see those from their homes,” he said.
“One thing certainly we ask is that they will listen to us, and I think they will,” he said.
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