WILBRAHAM Robert A. Anderson recently announced his candidacy for the five-year seat on the Wilbraham Planning board currently held by Richard Butler. Anderson, 50, is running as an independent.
Anderson's statement: "Enough is enough. Residential and commercial developments are devastating our farmlands, our conservation lands, our woods, and our rural character. Our wildlife is being starved out of their natural habitats so they are now overrunning our backyards and streets. Traffic is out of control. This is not the kind of Wilbraham that I want to leave to our children.
"Our Planning Board's leadership actively encourages and helps shape these developments. Oaks Farm has been shaped into a preliminary proposal of over 250 residential units that will extend east within shouting distance and in sight of homes off Main Street. "This mile long development will violate Wilbraham's ecological gem the White Cedar conservation area. It will bisect and isolate two of Wilbraham's largest tracts of open space/conservation land," he said.
He continued, "If you live on or anywhere near a private road, watch out, because, as stated in the town's annual report, this Planning Board wants to facilitate development there too. I wonder when an oversupply of housing and change of Wilbraham's character will begin to reduce home values.
"I believe the Planning Board's proper function should be more reflective, unhurried and judicial in nature - accepting and considering applications for development with the interests of all of Wilbraham's citizens in mind as opposed to actively promoting development.
"Our current leadership is out of touch with the needs and concerns of many of Wilbraham's citizens evidenced by recent contentious Planning Board hearings. My opponent has been on the Planning Board more than 20 years.
"He is a well-intentioned good man and deserves our town's thanks for his years of service. But at this critical point in our town's development, it's time for new voices, and new ideas."
"I'm a lawyer and I appreciate private property rights. And I'm a taxpayer who appreciates the need to spread out our tax burden. Let's develop Boston Road, but let's do it in a way that reflects Wilbraham's character. We can transport a sense of the village atmosphere, and transform what is now an unsafe and unattractive highway, into an aesthetically pleasing and safe destination.
"I'm also a citizen, concerned about our public lands and our community's future. I used to live on the mountain next to Rice's orchard. I now have a small farm of my own near Boston Road.
"This experience gives me the perspective to appreciate the concerns of different parts of town. I'd like to bring people together to find common solutions to our planning needs. I propose a community-wide planning summit where all of Wilbraham's citizens could participate in an open discussion of our planning needs.
"We're being overrun by land speculators and mega projects. Out of control growth is taking place at the expense of our quality of life. Enough is enough."