Opposes affordable housing development along Mill River

To the Editor:

Before it made front page news, it was dumb luck that I learned about the Inland Wetland Commission’s hearing on Feb. 6, which is one of the first steps in the proposed Affordable Housing Development (30% of it being “affordable”) being reviewed by the town.

Four stories (parking and three residential floors) over 2.74 acres with 116 paved parking spaces, 40 to 50 feet high and 50,000 square feet on the banks of Mill River.

Hasn’t this river experienced enough trauma? Didn’t we just fight for many, many years to have the river cleaned up? And now the town is being presented with a plan to add to the plight of the river, the ecosystem, the wildlife, the residents?

You might think that because it’s situated between I-95 on the north and railroad tracks on the south that it’s a less than desirable piece of property. Have you ever been out on the river? Have you seen where the swans have their babies every year? Have you seen the blue crabs and the blue herons, the songbirds, geese and ducks?

This river is home to so many species and despite the horrific pollution that it suffered for so many years, it’s alive. It will be even more alive once the clean-up happens. We must protect it from further development and the risks (that go beyond the outward aesthetics) that such a development might bring.

I spoke at that hearing on Feb. 6. I was told that if you speak once, you can’t speak at future hearings. Is that a law in town? Well, my passion broke through and got me in trouble with the chairman (I guess I didn’t follow the appropriate town committee protocol). You see, I lived in one of the four historic houses in town spared by the British when they stormed the beach. I thought that was pretty special.

But after down-sizing, I moved to the lower Bronson Road neighborhood and onto Mill River. It is here that I discovered the incredible beauty and ecosystem treasures that many in this town already long knew about — Mill River.

The River Lab Project, founded and administered by the Mill River Wetland Committee, is a gift that every elementary school child in town receives. How many of you reading this are parents who assisted in those field trips?

Please protect the only tidal river and its surrounding beautiful environment that we have in this town. Attend the hearing on March 6, at 7:30 p.m., at Osborn Hill School. You don’t have to speak (though remember, if you do, you won’t be allowed to speak again), but just turn out and show the Conservation Commission, and the town, that you care.


Patty Sullivan


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