Projects - 2015

Tracy Clark Elected to the Devens Committee

December 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch introduced and welcomed newly-elected, Member, Tracy Clark to the Devens Committee. Tracy Clark is a Devens resident and Vice President of Engineering at MageneMotion, a Devens based business.

Tracy Clark, was welcomed by Tom, the other members of the DC and all Devens residents, who were in attendance.

Sponsored Meeting - Devens Utilities

November 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch invited Thatcher Kezer, Senior Vice President of Devens, MassDevelopment and Jim Moore, Devens Utility Manager to attend the November 2015 Devens Committee meeting in order to present a management overview of the Devens electric, gas, water and sewer utilities.

Jim started out by saying that Chapter 498, which set the rules for Devens utilities, allows Devens to operate as a municipality, thus keeping our utility costs down.

Electricity:

Devens Electric is a municipal utility and Devens is a member of the ISO of New England. Devens has twenty (20) million dollars in assets which include one (1) major substation, five (5) additional substations, and all the electrical wires and poles used throughout Devens. The major substation is served by two (2) 69 KV incoming power lines that are owned by National Grid. Wellesley Municipal Light Plant is the electric utility contractor for operations and maintenance services. Currently, residential use is billed at 12.5 cents per kilowatt hour and commercial use is 10.5 cents per kilowatt hour. The rates and policies of the Devens Utilities are set and approved by the MassDevelopment Board of Directors. MassDevelopment currently generates a 5-6% rate of return on the Electric Utility assets.

Gas:

The gas supply to Devens is transported by National Grid to two (2) metering stations. The first is located on Patton Road and the other near the lower recreation field in the Balls Bluff area. Both are fed by National Grid's 200 PSI transportation pipeline. The pressure is regulated down to 30 PSI after the metering stations to serve the Devens gas distribution system. National Grid monitors the gas lines for safety. Gas Utility rates are not as low as our electric rates, which is mainly caused by the volatile gas futures market that has been affected by the recent polar vortex weather phenomena’s and pipeline constraints in the Northeast. Devens pays National Grid for transportation costs as well as maintenance of the pipe lines. Gas supply for Devens is bought on the open futures gas market and prices are expected to decrease after we get past the winter peak season where there was an increase for the 2015/2016 winter peak period. The entire gas utility system has a value of approximately eight (8) million dollars. Since we cannot employ the benefits of Mass Save in energy audits, the Utilities Department at Devens conducted an energy audit on each home approximately 4-5 years ago. The biggest problems reported were due to the lack of sufficient insulation in the ceilings and walls.

Water:

Devens owns all its water and waste water systems, which is a major asset. Devens has three (3) large wells that draws water from two (2) substantial underground aquifers located under Devens. At a capacity capability of 4.8 million gallons/day the wells provide adequate water to meet the needs of both residential and commercial use (currently approx. 750 thousand gallons /day). United Water is the OEM contractor for the supply of water. Water use is metered and used for quarterly billing for both water and sewer. The system is valued at approximately one and one-half (1.5) million dollars per well (totaling four and one-half (4.5) million dollars). As required by MA DEP regulations, Devens posts signs for water restrictions when the water level at a specified monitoring location in the Nashua River drops too low to sustain the health of fish within these waters.

Sewer:

Devens has one large treatment plant valued at nine (9) to ten (10) million dollars. It contains three (3) tanks and has a capacity of treating a peak of eight (8) million gallons per day. The plant provides treatment for all waste water in Devens and Shirley, a percentage of Ayer’s water treatment needs as well as the water treatment needs of MCI-Shirley. This currently represents 6.8 million gallons at peak, and 1.2 million gallons average. Current billing is as a result of the amount of water used per the water meter. Recently, some homes (the 'zero' energy homes near Auman St) have installed separate water meters for 'outside use water' that separates this water use from the sewer billing.

Everyone in attendance was in agreement that Jim's presentation was well prepared and very informative. The residents in attendance and the other members of the DC thanked Jim for his presentation and Tom for his continued efforts on these matters.

Devens Committee Elections to be Held on November 17, 2015

October 2015

The other members of the Devens Committee were pleased to hear from Chairman, Thomas Kinch that Tracy Clark, a Devens resident and VP of Engineering at MageneMotion, a Devens based business, has agreed to run for the vacant seat on the Devens Committee.

In accordance with its bylaws, the election for the Devens Committee will be held on November 17, 2015.

The other members of the DC thanked Tom for his efforts in the matter.

MassDev Board of Directors & Officers Pledge Support to Resolve Mortgage Issue Affecting Devens Residents

October 2015

After being made aware of the issue at its annual Board of Directors meeting by Vice Chairman, Robert Corrieri, the MassDevelopment Board of Directors as well as its state and local officers, who were in attendance, pledged their support to help solve a mortgage underwriting issue, which is affecting the homeowners of the Estates at Harvard Hills Condominium.

Recent changes to mortgage underwriting policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has caused those agencies to classify the Devens condominium complex as "unwarrantable.

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Presentation to the Board of Directors of MassDevelopment

October 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch provided the Board of Directors of MassDevelopment with a presentation about the outstanding and recently closed agenda items of the Devens Committee at its annual meeting, which was held in Conference Room 1, MassDevelopment Offices, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens MA,

Vice Chairman, Robert Corrieri also made the BOD aware of an issue affecting the homeowners of the Estates at Harvard Hills Condominium. Recent changes to mortgage underwriting policies at Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac has caused those agencies to classify the Devens condominium complex as "unwarrantable" and asked for their support in resolving the issue.

Devens Committee Represented at MassDevelopment Board of Directors Meeting - October 2015

October 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch and Vice Chairman, Robert Corrieri represented the Devens Committee at the October 2015 meeting of the Board of Directors of MassDevelopment.

This annual meeting is held in Conference Room 1, MassDevelopment Offices, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens MA.

JBOS Report - Overlay Proposal Tom Kinch

10/15

Chairman, Tom K. and Thatcher lead a discussion on the question, which failed at the recent super town

meeting. Thatcher informed the board that the biomedical company, which was interested in developing a

headquarters in Devens, moved on and selected a secondary location in Europe. Thatcher now views the

matter as 'important' but no longer 'pressing'. Although disappointed, Thatcher expressed optimism about

working with the Harvard Board of Selectmen and re-addressing this issue at a future super town meeting

in 2016. Thatcher and the members of the DC continued by discussing the impact that successful rezoning

would create and all seemed to agree that if re-zoning is successful, this parcel has the potential to

secure future, local, regional and State economic development.

First Step Taken on Proposed Utility Oversight Sub-Committee

October 2015

During a conversation between Thatcher Kezer, Senior Vice President of Devens, MassDevelopment, and the members of the Devens Committee around the topics of solar energy options, gas and electric rates, the expected winter-rise of gas and electric rates and energy audits, Chairman, Thomas Kinch seized the opportunity to further his efforts on potentially creating a utility oversight committee.

Tom requested that Thatcher instruct Jim Moore, Devens Utility Manager, to attend the next Devens Committee meeting. Thatcher agreed.

Everyone agreed that tonight's discussion and the anticipated meeting with Jim Moore was a good first step in Tom's effort of exploring the possibility of creating a utility oversight committee at Devens. The other members of the DC thanked Tom for his continued efforts on this matter.

MassDev Thatcher Kezer Invited to Give update on Construction Projects

09/15

The Sr. VP – Devens for MassDevelopment, Mr. Thatcher Kezer was introduced

by the Chairman and gave an update on the construction projects here at Devens

A. The new road at the entrance to Devens from Ayer (the old Main Gate) is

progressing well. The plan is to have the road opened by the start of

Winter . The MP station at the entrance will be preserved.

B. The road over the overpass at Rout 2 will closed to one lane while the

entire bridge is rebuilt.

C. The earth moving activity around the lower playing fields is the result of

the new road construction. Extra topsoil taken from the expansion of the

road is being used to increase the topsoil on several of the playing fields.

D. A few questions have been raised by a Devens Resident on the activity

associated with the new Grant Road Housing Construction. Mr. Neil

Angus of the DEC addressed these issues reporting a visit and

communication directly with the Resident.

Jackson Road Construction Project

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More Private Roads

09/15

El Caney project review:

A. The chairman reviewed that this is the 4th meeting held on the subject.

During the 1st meeting it was agreed that:

1. There was a community problem with the safety of the

private roads here at Devens. The primary issues were due

to excessive speed and traffic on the roads threatening the

safety of the Residents.

2. The responsible parties for the safety of the roads were the

Associations of Homeowners and Condo’s

3. MassDevelopment would organize a study to present

alternatives for the limited closure of the private roads.

4. The Northwest end of El Caney would be used as a ‘test

case’ for a pilot.

5. The DC would be the focus of Communication for the

project.

B. During the 2nd meeting held here at Devens and populated with several

Residents it wes decided that a modified version of one of four alternatives

presented by MassD would be installed at the end of El Caney and be

monitored by the Residents for evaluation of its’ success.

C. During a meeting at the State Police Hq. at Devens, which occurred after

the meeting of above, it was stated, among other things, that the State

Police would be supportive of any response to a violator of either speeding

on unauthorized use of the private roads. They need only to be informed.

D. T. Kinch then reviewed an instance where the State Police did get

involved with incidents of speeding on Elm Alley with positive results.

E. Mr. and Mrs. Kim, of Devens, then reported a similar event when a

motorcycle was observed travelling on Elm Alley multiple times and

additionally acting in a suspicious way around their business vehicle. They

reported this activity immediately to the State Police which in turn

approached the violator at the Devens Gas Station. It turned out to be a

Harvard Resident practicing motorcycle riding on the little used El Caney

road. When informed by the State Police that this was not acceptable, he

agreed to stop.

F. T. Kinch then reported that Mr. and Mrs. Geller of Walnut St. reported,

via e-mail, that the changes made by MassD were an improvement of

safety as well as pleasing to the eye. However, they pointed out that

Construction traffic had been observed using El Caney increasing traffic

and doing possible damage to the road. Mr. Neil Angus of the DEC

pointed out that an agreement had been reached between the Homeowners

Association and the construction Company for the use of El Caney and

eventual repair if necessary.

G. Several residents then spoke of the desire to construct a turnaround at the

end of El Caney which would permanently close the road to through

traffic. There was mention of a petition signed by the residents of El

Caney to develop a plan, seek approval and construct a turnaround.

H. It was the suggested and agreed that a Committee would be formed by

these Residents that would create the plan and gain approval from the

relevant organizations (Safety, Fire, Homeowners, DEC, and, if necessary

MassD). It was stated that the land used to facilitate the turnaround would

be provided by the owner of the property on wich the turnaround is placed.

Additionally, the equipment and labor that was necessary to construct the

turnaround would be supplied by the Residents of El Caney.

I. MassD will leave the temporary structure in place.

J. For the time being the continued test of the improvements of the balance

of the private roads at Devens will be postponed until the termination of

the construction of the road (Jackson) serving as the main entrance to

Devens. This project is expected to finish in the spring of 2016.

***

10/2016

This agenda item was parked/deferred to the next meeting; giving the residents along El Carney have an

opportunity to discuss the matter between themselves for a second time and hopefully reach a consensus

on how best to proceed.

Status: Deferred: 11/9/2015

Tom Meets with MassDev to Discuss Non-Pass of Question #4

Tom explained that he had a follow up conversation with MassDev about question #4, which was voted

down at the super town meeting, and stated that MassDev is considering addressing the

public's concerns, which were raised at the super town meeting, and then potentially re-raising the

question at a future super town meeting; as early as the fourth quarter of 2015 or early 2016

Super Town Meeting Held 3 of 4 questions passed

06/15

Chairman Tom Kinch and the other members of the DC commented on their impression of the

recent super town meeting with Ayer, Shirley, Devens and Harvard. All DC members were pleased at the

public turnout and thier debate of the issues in question as well as the successful passing of three of the

four proposed questions.

Temporary/Mock Installation at El Carney

06/15

MassDev has begun construction of a temporary (mock) installation at the entrance to El Carney.

MassDev estimates construction to be completed by mid-July 2015. The goal in constructing this

temporary (mock) installation is to determine if such an installation could effectively deter unauthorized

traffic along El Carney.

Robert Corrieri Named Interim Vice Chairman

June 2015

After recently receiving a letter of resignation from Vice Chairwoman, Elizabeth Witmer, the committee members discussed which member should fill the role of Vice Chairman. Member, Robert Corrieri requested that he be considered for the position. As a result of an up-or-down vote by the committee members, Robert was appointed to the role of Vice Chairman.

The conversation continued with discussions about other Devens residents, who might be interested in running for the seat, which was left vacant by Elizabeth's departure.

More Private Roads

04/15

Residents of Devens were invited to attend a meeting held by Ed Starzec to address

the safety concerns caused by commuter traffic using private roads in Devens.

Several Associations, along with Mass Development, were also invited to attend this

meeting (the Harvard Hill Homeowners Association, Harvard Hill Condo

Association, and Alpine Property Management).

The biggest concern was how the planned residential development of Grant Road

could increase traffic on private roads causing an even greater concern for safety.

Tom Kinch talked about the long history of traffic problems for residents living on

private roads and the failure to resolve these concerns. Discussions became heated

as there seemed to be a lot of confusion as to who was responsible for solving these

safety issues. Residents at the meeting thought that Mass Development, along with

the Grant Road developer, was responsible for fixing these problems. However,

Tom Kinch pointed out that it was the responsibility of the residents living along

private roads to resolve any ongoing traffic problems and safety issues with Mass

Development. Tom also pointed out that Mass Development was not responsible for

maintaining or watching over the privately owned roads in Devens, and that the

residents were responsible for handling any liability issues that might arise due to

increased traffic. Mass Development was going put together several possible

solutions to reduce public traffic on private roads and bring them to the next public

meeting to be held on April 30th. Both Mass Development and the Grant Road

Developer agreed to help cover the cost of implementing which ever solution was

chosen by the Homeowners and Condo Associations.

Action item: The DC was asked to help facilitate the resolution of these safety issues

and take a leadership role in doing so. It was agreed that the DC would work with all

parties to insure that an appropriate plan for a resolution of ongoing safety issues on

private roads would be reached.

Elizabeth Witmer, Vice Chairwoman Resigned

April 2015

In accordance with its bylaws, Vice Chairwoman, Elizabeth Witmer was required to resign from the Devens Committee because she and her family are residing outside of Devens for employment reasons.

The Devens Committee bylaws stipulate that only adult members of the Community of Devens, who are registered voters within Devens, may petition, run and hold the office of a Member of the Devens Committee.

Chairman, Thomas Kinch acknowledged receipt of her resignation letter and thanked her, on behalf of the committee, for her efforts and ongoing commitment.

Grant Road Neighborhood

03/15

It was moved, seconded and agreed that a meeting would be held on the 26th of April at 6:00 PM

at Devens for the Devens Community. The purpose of the meeting is to allow the planned developer of

the Grant Road housing area to review his latest plans for the areas.

These plans will then be presented to the DEC for comment and approval.

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Third Sponsored Meeting - Increased Traffic along all Private Roads

March 2015

The following people were invited and attended the March 2015 meeting of the Devens Committee:

  • Mike Donabedian, Harvard Hills Homeowners Association
  • Phil Crosby, Harvard Hills Condominium Association
  • Brett Fay, Alpine Property Management
  • Thatcher Kezer, MassDevelopment
  • Ed Starzec, MassDevelopment
  • Chief Joe LaBlanc, Devens Fire Department

Chairman, Thomas Kinch led all board members, invited guests and the attending public in a robust discussion about the perceived, planned use of the private roads at Devens to support the future development at Grant Road as well as the general increase of automobile traffic along all of Devens private roadways.

Theses issues were originally brought to the attention of the DC by a small group of concerned, Devens residents.

The first question addressed by the group was “Do we have a safety issue currently on the private roads of Devens?”. After a lively debate, it was unanimously agreed that there is a current safety issue along the private roads of Devens.

The second question debated and answered was “Who is responsible for the resolution to the problem of safety on the private roads of Devens?”. The answer to that question was again unanimous that the current Homeowners and Condominium Associations are responsible for all aspects of the private roads; including safety for its users. However, the exception to this is that if a solution to the problem involves the construction of barriers, signage, etc. on MassDevelopment owned property, then the responsibility and cost is that of MassDevelopment. However, the safety responsibility of the roads remains with the associations.

The last question discussed was that of potential solutions to the safety problem. Many of the attendees felt that potential solutions were discussed in a previous meeting and needed to be reported on by MassDevelopment at this meeting. Others wanted more discussion on solution alternatives with ‘pro & con’ to support findings.

In the end, it was agreed by all that the following would be done:

  • MassDevelopment would prepare a feasibility study on one of the approaches presented by Ed Starzec.
  • The results of this feasibility study will be presented at the April 2015 meeting of the Devens Committee.
  • A test installation (pillars) will be constructed and monitored by MassDevelopment at the end of El Caney in order to assess its impact.
  • MassDevelopment will install proper street signage to divert traffic away from El Caney Road and towards muncipally owned roadways.

It was further agreed that:

  • The solution must address the pending, future problem of diverting new traffic from El Caney Road as a result of the Grant Road housing development.
  • The DC would gather the information from MassDevelopment on their current work (include in the minutes of the DC meeting) and distribute all documents to the Devens Community.
  • The DC would serve as the coordinator of the meetings and information until the matter of safety is resolved.

Water Quality Notice - Not Received by Condominium Owners

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Thatcher Kezer Introduced and Welcomed

March 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch introduced and welcomed Thatcher Kezer to the Devens Committee.

In March 2015, Thatcher Kezer joined MassDevelopment as Senior Vice President of Devens. In this role, he serves as the lead staff person of MassDevelopment in Devens with oversight of its Departments of Public Safety (including Fire and Police), Public Works, Recreation, and Utilities.

Thatcher addressed the committee and the Devens residents in attendence expressing his prior work history, excitement about opportunities at Devens and willingness to solicit resident input during future decision making process.

Devens Committee Represented at BRAC Meeting - January 2015

February 2015

Member, Robert Corrieri represented the Devens Committee at the January 2015 meeting of the Devens Base Re-alignment and Closure (BRAC). The meeting was held at in Conference Room 1, MassDevelopment Offices, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens MA.

The primary focus of the meeting was two discussions.

First was the Army's Proposed Plan for Plow Shop Pond (Area of Contamination [AOC] 72) and the Former Railroad Roundhouse (Study Area [SA] 71). Plow Show Pond is located directly west of Grove Pond, bordering a portion of both Devens & Ayer while the Railroad Roundhouse is located within the former Fort Devens Army installation.

The Army's Proposed Plan concluded no further action for the Plow Shop Pond area and limited action for the former Railroad Roundhouse area. Before making a final decision on the Proposed Plan, the Army is considering public comments it receives on the Proposed Plan and may modify the proposed remedy with concurrence from USEPA and MassDEP based on these comments. After a 30-day public comment period, the final decision regarding the selected alternatives will be documented in a Record of Decision (ROD) for AOC 72 and SA 71 after all comments are reviewed. The 30-day public comment period began on January 5, 2015 and ended on February 3, 2015.

Second was a discussion of the upcoming Five-Year Review for former Fort Devens environmental cleanup sites. The Five-Year Review process is required by the Superfund clean-up program to evaluate the effectiveness of completed environmental restoration sites and to verify that the remedy remains protective of human health and environment. This upcoming review will be the fourth Five-Year Review for Devens.

The 25 page, Department of Army, Proposed Plan dated January 5, 2015 has been retained for further study, if deemed necessary.

Second Sponsored Meeting - Increased Traffic along El Caney Road (Private Road)

February 2015

During the February 2015 Devens Committee meeting, Chairman, Thomas Kinch quickly determined that the original issue (Grant Road neighborhood traffic along El Carney Road), which raised by a small group of Devens residents at the January 2015 Devens Committee meeting, was to narrow in scope and it needed to be broadened to include the traffic issues on all of Devens private roadways.

Tom made a commitment to the residents in attendance that this issue will be the primary focus of the next (March 2015) DC meeting.

Also, to assist in discussing the situation and contributing to the problem solving efforts, all interested parties (residents, condominium association, home owner association, MassDevelopment and Lexington based, Devens Village Green, LLC (the developer of the new Grant Road neighborhood) will be invited the next DC meeting.

Utility Oversight Sub-Committee Proposed

January 2015

Chairmain, Thomas Kinch expressed his concern to the Devens Committee that, in his belief, every municipality within the state of Massachusetts has an independent, utility oversight committee, which has the responsibility of reviewing the actions of the municipality's utilities department with respect to the town's residents (ie; rate hikes, long term contract commitments, etc.).

However, in Devens, no such independent, utility oversight committee exists. Tom addressed the topic of potentially creating such a committee here in Devens.

Tom requested each member of the DC to review the situation for future discussion. Tom also made a commitment to discuss the matter with Jim Moore, Devens Utility Manager and report Jim's opinions back to the committee.

Devens Committee Represented at JBOS Meeting - April 2015

April 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch, Vice Chairwoman, Elizabeth Witmer and Member, Robert Corrieri represented the Devens Committee at the Joint Board of Selectment (JBOS) meeting - April 2015.

This meeting was held at the Shirley town hall and its primary focus was allow Ed Starzec, Director Land Entitlement, MassDevelopment, to review some minor changes and amendemets to the the four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone by MassDevelopment as well as solicit public support from the JBOS members for these changes before the scheduled super-town meeting.

Third Sponsored Meeting - MassDevelopment Proposed Zoning Changes

April 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch continues to lead the committee in its efforts to support MassDevelopment with its four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone.

After completing his three separate presentations to the Board of Selectmen (BOS) of the towns of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley, Ed Starzec, Director Land Entitlement, MassDevelopment, was invited back to the Devens Committee to review the status of its Zoning Amendment Project.

During his presentation to the Devens Committee, Ed discussed:

  • the questions, concerns and/or support expressed by each town's BOS and residents
  • further informational requests (if any) by each town's BOS and residents
  • as well as the 'overall general sentiment' expressed at each town meeting
  • general concerns/support expressed by each town's BOS and residents
  • potential revisions, deletions and/or language changes to the four proposed zoning changes, which will be voted on at an upcoming super-town meeting

Lastly, Ed discussed MassDevelopment's next steps for evaluate their feedback and bringing their potentially-revised proposals before the Joint Boards of Selectment (JBOS) meeting, which is scheduled for April, 26, 2015.

Devens Committee Represented at JBOS Meeting - March 2015

April 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch represented the Devens Committee at the March 2015 meeting of the Joint Board of Selectmen (JBOS).

Tom reported to the other members of the Devens committee that March 2015 meeting of the JBOS was relatively uneventful.

Ed Starzec, Director Land Entitlement, MassDevelopment, was invited by the members of the JBOS to review the four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone by MassDevelopment.

Ed also reported to the JBOS that although each of the three neighboring towns (Ayer, Harvard & Shirley) have each held their respective public town meeting to review the proposed zoning changes, public attendance at each of these meetings was so low that the intent to inform and discuss the proposed zoning changes with residents was not realized.

There will be a super town meeting held in June 2015 to vote on these four proposed zoning changes.

Second Sponsored Meeting - MassDevelopment Proposed Zoning Changes

March 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch continues to lead the committee in its efforts to support MassDevelopment with its four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone.

To achieve his goal, Tom invited MassDevelopment's Richard Henderson, Executive Vice President, Real Estate, and Ed Starzec, Director Land Entitlement to completed a second informational presentation to the Devens Committee and the Devens residents.

Their presentation included a detailed examination of each of the four MassDevelopment proposed zoning changes:

  1. Allow construction of senior residential housing in Shirley’s downtown Village Growth District.
  2. Create a new health-care district in Shirley to allow doctors’ offices and other medical facilities to locate near new senior housing.
  3. “Swap” zones to allow for residential redevelopment of the former Adams Circle neighborhood and to protect Rogers Field and other land from commercial development.
  4. Allow office, light industrial, and research and development uses at the southern end of the new Grant Road housing development.

Their presentation concluded with Ed and Richard asking for committee member and resident feedback on all issues.

In anticipation of this meeting, the Devens Committee members worked hard to "get the word out" to all Devens residents about this is important informational presentation.

Sponsored Meeting - MassDevelopment Proposed Zoning Changes

February 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch continues to lead the committee in its efforts to support MassDevelopment with its four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone.

  1. Allow for up to 120 units of senior housing in the Shirley Village Growth 1 District.
  2. Allow for complementary small-scale healthcare uses in the Shirley Village Growth 1 District.
  3. Protect Rogers Field from development, restore Willow Brook as open space and allow for expansion of the zero-net-energy neighborhood at Adams Circle.
  4. Rededicate unused land at the southern end of Grant Road for business use to help attract quality employers in the biotech and R&D fields.

By sponsoring this meeting with Ed Starzec, Director Land Entitlement, MassDevelopment, Tom's goals were two-fold to educate residents on and to foster discussions about each of these zoning changes before an upcoming, super-town meeting.

These zoning changes will, in the opinion of both MassDevelopment and the Devens Committee, help ensure the continued, successful redevelopment of Devens.

To support Tom's efforts, Vice Chairwoman, Elizabeth Witmer volunteered to email the Devens residents about the meeting and produce a physical flyer, which could be distributed to all Devens residents. Tom, Elizabeth and Member, Bob Corrieri volunteered to complete an old-fashioned, "door-hanger" exercise to distribute a informational flyer to all of the homes in Devens. Tom Kinch also requested from Kathy O’Connor, MassDevelopement to announce this meeting in her weekly bulletins.

Gas Odor on Barnum Road

February 2015

After being alerted to the situation (an odor of natural gas) by two Devens residents, the Devens Committee worked in conjunction with the Devens Fire Department, Devens Utility Department, MassDevelopment and NStar to identify, assess, monitor and repair a natural gas leak at the intersection of Barnum and Patton Roads.

Devens Fire Chief, Joseph LeBlanc and Devens Utilities Manager, James Moore's knowledge and expertise were instrumental in bringing about a safe and quick resolution to the situation.

Council on Aging (COA) Sub-Committee Proposed

January 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch continues to champion this important issue with MassDevelopment and the COAs of Ayer, Harvard and Shirley.

Tom's primary goals are to formalize which social services (peer activities, home visits, shuttling, financial, medical, legal and nutritional counseling, meals on wheels, etc.) are entitled to Devens residents, who will provide such services and how will these services be funded.

Currently, Harvard, Shirley and Ayer do not receive funding from MassDevelopment to cover COA services for Devens residents.

Although there is only a small number of Devens residents, who currently qualify for COA services, it is likely that the new Grant Road development will increase the resident demand for COA services in the future.

Chairman, Tom Kinch stressed the importance of re-establishing a COA sub-committee, which would be made up of COA representatives from the towns of Harvard, Shirley and Ayer, as well as representatives from MassDevelopment and the Devens Committee. Tom agreed that he'd represent the DC on this sub-committee.

Increased Traffic along Elm Street, Walnut Street & El Caney Road

January 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch lead a discussion with a small group of residents, who attended the DC meeting to voice their concern over the recently proposed traffic route by MassDevelopment and the Developer of the Grant Road neighborhood. The proposed traffic route is intended to link the new Grant Road neighborhood to the Elm Street, Walnut Street, and El Caney Road neighborhoods.

Despite understanding the desire of MassDevelopment and the Developer to integrate the new Grant Rd development into existing residential areas, residents expressed their concerns for the proposed route.

  1. Linking these neighborhoods could transform existing, "quiet" roads into "busy" thoroughfares for people driving to Devens Common; diverting traffic from Jackson Road.
  2. Elm and Walnut Roads are too narrow to handle increased traffic volume
  3. Increased traffic would cause a safety issue to neighborhood children
  4. El Caney Road is not a municipally owned roadway but rather a private road; owned by neighborhood residents; who would consider "blocking it off" in order to keep existing Grant Road traffic off of it
  5. Funneling Grant Road traffic through Elm and Walnut Streets would drastically diminish real estate market values in these neighborhoods

After a vigorous twenty minute discussion, Chairman, Tom Kinch made a commitment to the residents in attendance that he would contact MassDevelopment and determine a "next step" as well as add this issue as an agenda item to committee's next meeting.

Devens Committee Represented at JBOS Meeting - December 2014

January 2015

Chairman, Thomas Kinch along with newly-elected, Member, Robert Corrieri represented the Devens Committee at the December 2014 meeting of the Joint Boards of Selectmen (JBOS).

This meeting was held at the Shirley town hall and its focus was to educate the residents of Ayer, Devens, Harvard and Shirley about the four, separately-proposed, zoning changes to the Devens Enterprise Zone by MassDevelopment.

Representative to the Devens Educational Advisory Committee (DEAC)

January 2015

In his role as liaison to the Devens Educational Advisory Committee (DEAC), Vice Chairman, Robert Corrieri represents the Devens Committee at all DEAC public meetings, stays apprised on the current undertakings of the DEAC and reports findings back to the committee.

Further Robert aids interested parties (i.e., individuals, home owner associations, business, local officials, civic groups) in their discussions, input, community participation and information requests.

Currently, Robert Corrieri is a Member of the DEAC.

Representative to the Joint Boards of Selectmen (JBOS)

January 2015

In his role as the representative to the Joint Board of Selectmen (JBOS), Chairman, Thomas Kinch represents the Devens Committee at all JBOS public meetings, stays apprised on the current undertakings of the JBOS and reports findings back to the committee.

Further Tom aids interested parties (i.e., individuals, home owner associations, business, local officials, civic groups) in their discussions, input, community participation and information requests.

EPA / BRAC / RAB

January 2015

As liaisons to the Department of Army, Devens Base Re-alignment and Closure (BRAC) Environmental Office, the members of Devens Committee (on a rotating basis) represent the Devens Committee at all Restoration Advisory Board (RAB) public meetings, stay apprised on the current undertakings of the U.S. Army's environmental restoration program and report findings back to the committee.

Further the Devens Committee aids interested parties (i.e., individuals, home owner associations, business, local officials, civic groups) in their discussions, input, community participation and information requests.

This year's primary focus is an upcoming five-year review of all of the environmental cleanup sites within the former Fort Devens Army installation. This five-year review process is required by the Superfund clean-up program to evaluate the effectiveness of completed environmental restoration sites and to verify that the remedy remains protective of human health and environment.

This is the fourth five-year review for Devens.

Election of Officers - 2015

January 2015

In accordance with its bylaws and as the result of a committee vote, the following Devens Committee members were appointed to the following roles for the calendar year of 2015:

Chairman - Thomas Kinch

Vice Chairwoman - Elizabeth Witmer

Secretary - Elizabeth Thiel

Kathleen Cuoco and Robert Corrieri Elected to the Devens Committee

December 2014

Chairman, Thomas Kinch introduced and welcomed newly-elected, Members, Kathleen Cuoco and Robert Corrieri to the Devens Committee.

Kathleen Cuoco is ****enter text here***.

Robert Corrieri is ****enter text here***.

Kathleen & Robert were welcomed by Tom, the other members of the DC and all Devens residents, who were in attendance.

George Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Devens Operations, Stepping Down

December 2014

Upon hearing of George Ramirez, Executive Vice President of Devens Operations, MassDevelopment, decision to vacate his position, Chairman, Thomas Kinch scheduled a meeting with him, on behalf of the Devens Committee, to thank him for his long standing support of committee related issues and to wish him well in his new endeavors.