Voters Will Help Decide Fate Of Green Tech Park
By: Diana T. Barth
Selectmen and Bourne Planning Board members agree, in concept, that a green technology park would be a good fit for land in Bournedale. It could add to the tax base and could create high-paying jobs. One hurdle, however, is finding access to that property.
Getting to the parcels will require some changes to the Bournedale Overlay District bylaw that can only be made by voters at Town Meeting.
When Bournedale was named a District of Critical Planning Concern in the 1990s, it took both the approval of the Cape Cod Commission and a Town Meeting vote. In the 12 or so years since then, circumstances have changed, Town Planner Coreen V. Moore and Sallie K. Riggs, executive director of the Bourne Financial Development Corporation, both said recently.
When the DCPC was created, one of its provisions was that access to the floating technology zone or other development in the district had to be from a limited access highway.
That now means, in practical terms, Ms. Moore and Ms. Riggs have said, that the proposed green technology park would have to be accessed from Route 25.
The problem, however, is that the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has said that there is no room to safely site a new exit in the vicinity of Bournedale.
However, with the addition of a traffic signal and improvements at the intersection of Scenic Highway and Edgehill Road, there is a way to access that property that proponents say could be built far enough away from residents in the area to buffer them from any adverse impacts.
In order to even present those plans to the Bourne Planning Board, however, proponents need both the Cape Cod Commission and Town Meeting voters to approve changes to the wording that created the Bournedale district.
In recent weeks, members of the Bourne Development Campus LLC have asked for, and received, the support of both selectmen and the planning board for the changes necessary to allow the alternative access to be considered. The BDC is made up of the Bourne Financial Development Campus, which is the controlling partner in the campus, and a trust that consists primarily of members of the Ingersoll family, owners of the panhandle-shaped property that is one of the larger pieces of land on which the park would sit.
Planning board members were asked specifically to help technology campus members gain the support of the Cape Cod Commission.
On Thursday of next week, the planning board will hold a public hearing on those changes. That board meets at 7 PM in the Bourne Veterans Memorial Community Center. On May 3, Town Meeting voters will be asked to approve the changes, contained in four separate articles.
Town Meeting approval would not mean, Ms. Moore and planning board members have said, that the alternative access would be permitted. That would be a decision that would be reached by the planning board after a public hearing and a careful review of any specific access proposal.
If Town Meeting voters were to approve the language changes, however, the alternative access question could come before that board.
On Tuesday, Bourne Development Campus members, including BFDC Chairman Barry J. Motta, came before selectmen to ask for support for a second Town Meeting article, one that will be on the warrant by dint of a BFDC-sponsored petition.
The green technology park can apply for federal and state grant or loan funding for access to the campus, but the granting authorities cannot give it funds for that purpose unless the road will be a town road.
Mr. Motta and Ms. Riggs explained to selectmen this week that they told the granting authorities that roads are usually not accepted by towns until after they have been built, but to no avail.
In order to secure the funding, they are asking that Town Meeting voters give the selectmen permission to accept that road, if and when it is built, with the understanding that, by agreement with the town, the campus will pay the cost of maintaining that road.
Selectmen voted to endorse that article.
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