Richard Santoro 0

Save Concord’s Hildreth Corner from Damaging Development

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** There is a new February 3, 2022 Historic District Commission hearing at 8pm for this development - please join and voice your opposition! See details in update below***

Mike Bushnell, owner of Bushnell Construction (http://www.bushnellconstruction.com/), a developer, is in negotiations to purchase land and construct a massive structure in Hildreth Corner - a location that holds significant historic, scenic and architectural significance in Concord.

The plans proposed by this developer are clearly and directly in conflict and inconsistent with the both the preservation goals for the Barrett Farm Historic District and the design guidelines stated in the HDC’s Historic District Guidelines. If built, this development will have a permanent and detrimental impact on Hildreth Corner and the character and architectural integrity of its historic houses.

We urge the Concord Historic District Commission to deny Bushnell’s application to the HDC and set clear limits on what can be built for the following reasons:

1. The size, scale, massing and location of this proposed imposing structure is too large for the oddly shaped incredibly narrow lot. If built, this will have a direct and negative impact on the streetscape and the historic, scenic nature of Hildreth Corner, removing all open space between structures. What will be left is the visual impact of a tall, imposingly large building, densely developed with no open space between buildings. This is inconsistent with the rural agrarian streetscape and preservation goals of the Barrett Farm Historic District. We urge the HDC to utilize its full authority to implement additional square footage, size, setback, height, and dimensional requirements, and deny the inclusion of a garage and outbuildings, in addition to zoning requirements, for whatever may be built here, in order to minimize the impact on Hildreth Corner and protect its historic houses.

2. No garage should be included. The narrow shape and size of the buildable area of the lot does not support an additional structure (attached or unattached) which would visually fill the site and detracts from the historic streetscape.

3. The proposed design of the structure is an outright mimicry of the house and barn at 625 Lowell Road. Having a carbon copy of the historic house next door will diminish the historic and architectural integrity and value of 625 Lowell Road, a house clearly identified by the Concord Historical Commission for its architectural significance in Concord, and will also have a clear and detrimental impact on the history, architecture and landscape of Hildreth Corner.

4. The construction of the structure and creation of the driveway and garage will cause radical alteration to the site and is in conflict with the HDC guidelines. This includes proposed removal of old growth trees and the placement of a garage and driveway altering the essential existing form, integrity and visual interest of the lots, and the landscape of Hildreth Corner and the Barrett Farm Historic District.

We have full faith and trust that the HDC will fully and appropriately apply its guidelines to this proposed development and use its authority to fulfill its charge to preserve and protect the significant history, architecture and nature of Hildreth Corner, consistent with the preservation goals of the Barrett Farm Historic District. We urge the HDC to deny this developer’s application and set clear limits on development for this lot in the manner suggested above.

Through this petition, we also urge Mr. Bushnell and Kim Comeau to reconsider the purchase and development of this lot. The Concord community supports trying to conserve this lot as an open space - to protect this scarce natural resource essential to the historic, rural character of our town and to Hildreth Corner and the Barrett Farm Historic District. We hope Mr. Bushnell can support the Concord community in its goal of preserving this corner for future generations!

Sincerely,

Friends of Hildreth Corner

** Update 1/23/22 **

I hope that the new year is finding you well and you are staying warm during this cold January!

Thank you to all who wrote letters and showed up to speak at the last December 16th HDC meeting! For those who couldn't make it - the developer presented his new plan. In a bad version of the movie "Groundhog Day" - the plan is the same size and design as the previously denied plan but with the garage now in the back (which will create a sea of pavement along the border of the property for a driveway and is inappropriate). Disappointingly, the HDC did not allow public comment during the meeting because the developer did not yet file a formal application.

Bushnell has now filed a formal application which will be heard on Thursday, February 3rd at 8pm. It contains the same plan that he presented in December - here are the documents.

We are asking for your continued support in opposing this plan - it is frustratingly obvious that Bushnell is attempting to wear out the community and HDC members and try to push through approval of yet another inappropriate plan!

Please email the HDC commissioners in continued opposition to the plans by sending comments echoing the points below to Heather Carey (hcarey@concordma.gov) and Heather Gill (hgill@concordma.gov) in advance of the meeting. If you already emailed comments for the December meeting (thank you!) please email Heather Carey to ask her to apply your letter to the current application materials.

Please attend and speak in opposition at the 8pm Thursday February 3rd zoom meeting. The overwhelming public support at the meeting last November was what pushed the HDC to deny his previous application and is incredibly valuable!

Below are some talking points to consider:

1) Bushnell is not addressing the key component of the HDC denial and community opposition. By presenting a new structure which the same size than the denied plan, the size, scale and massing of this new structure the developer is proposing continues to be too large for this narrow lot and this will have a permanent detrimental impact on character and scenery of the historic corner and will disrupt the historic streetscape;

2) given the size and narrowness of the lot there is no suitable location for a garage and a garage is remains not appropriate for the lot (whether in the back or otherwise);

3) the proposed design, a modern, boxy house with a long driveway on the border of the property lines is not keeping with the nature of the architecture and scenery of this historic corner; and

4) to minimize the impact on Hildreth Corner, the size and scope of the proposed development needs to be significantly reduced by approximately 1/2.

5) The HDC should reject it outright since it is exactly the same size and scope of development compared to the previous denial and doesn’t adequately address the denial conditions.

Thank you again for all of your continued support in protecting Hildreth Corner! Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions.

Best,

Friends of Hildreth Corner


** Update 12/15/21 **

All -

I wanted to provide an update and a request for your continued help and support to protect Hildreth Corner.

Late yesterday we found out that the developer was able to get himself on the HDC’s agenda for this Thursday, December 16th meeting with a new plan. While this is not a formal application, he is seeking informal input from the HDC prior to making a new application.

What he is proposing is almost exactly the same size and scope of the previously denied development (~ 50 x 105 ft footprint instead of a 54 x 108 ft footprint; approximately same height), but just with the garage now in the back (which will create a sea of pavement along the border of the property for a driveway, which is inappropriate ). He clearly has not heard the message from both the HDC and the Concord community that this size and scope of this house is not appropriate for this lot and for historic and scenic Hildreth Corner. Our goal is to maintain support for the HDC so that Bushnell does not wear out the community and HDC members and try to push through approval of yet another inappropriate plan.

If you have time, please email the HDC commissioners in continued opposition to the plans by sending comments echoing the points below to Heather Carey (hcarey@concordma.gov) and Heather Gill (hgill@concordma.gov) in advance of the meeting.


Also - if you have time, please consider attending the 7pm Thursdayzoom meeting. Here is the to the agenda (with zoom link and link to current documents) https://concordma.gov/AgendaCenter/ViewFile/Agenda/_12162021-9219

Thank you again for all of your continued support in protecting Hildreth Corner! Please feel free to reach out to me directly with any questions.

Best,

Friends of Hildreth Corner

** Update 11/19/21**

Due to your unwavering support to preserve Hildreth Corner and the character of this historic district, the HDC voted unanimously to deny the developer's application at last night's meeting!

It is truly moving to see our amazing Concord community mobilize to stand in unison to oppose this plan that if built would have had a permanent and detrimental impact on Hildreth Corner. Your hard work, determination, time and commitment - signing the petition, placing signs on your lawn, sharing this issue with friends and other concerned residents, writing letters of opposition to the HDC, and taking the time to speak and voice your opinion at the many HDC meetings, made this outcome possible. On behalf of all the neighbors of Hildreth Corner, we thank you from the bottom of our hearts for your commitment and passion in working to preserve the history and scenery of our town - and for clearly demonstrating why this is such an amazing community and place to live.

We hope that Mr. Bushnell decides not to move forward with a new development plan and abandons his deal to purchase the lot. If so, the neighbors of Hildreth Corner will work to try to come to terms with the owner, Archstone Builders, to secure the lot to conserve it permanently as open space for future generations. If we are unsuccessful in this, we will continue to monitor new proposals for development of this parcel to make sure that if it is developed, that it is appropriate and minimizes the effect on this corner and the historic district. In both cases, we will keep you informed with updates.

Again, thank you for your important contributions that made all the difference!

With sincere gratitude,

Friends of Hildreth Corner

** Update 11/17/21 **

We believe that the HDC will decide this matter at the HDC meeting this Thursday, November 18th at 7pm and we need your help! With your support, we think we can help provide the HDC the community support to deny the developer's application.

1. Join the 7pm HDC meeting this Thursday, November 18th, by zoom to voice your opposition to the revised plan (similar sized structure as original application - too big for this lot). We have been told it is impactful for the HDC to hear the public comments during the meeting - and if each of you join and speak in opposition, this will make a difference! Some points to raise: 1) the size of the structure developer is proposing is too large for this narrow lot and this will have a permanent detrimental impact on character and scenery of the historic corner; 2) given the size and narrowness of the lot there is no suitable location for a garage and a garage is not appropriate; 3) the proposed design, a modern, boxy house with garage in front, is not keeping with the nature of the architecture of this historic corner; and 4) to minimize the impact on Hildreth Corner, the size and scope of the proposed development needs to be significantly reduced by approximately 1/2 to 1/3rd. Here is the zoom link for Thursday: https://us02web.zoom.us/j/82938828638?pwd=QWw3TzlyWWNUUmlOTnVBb1hSY3k4dz09

2. Write an email to the HDC commissioners in opposition to the plans by sending comments echoing the points above to Heather Carey (hcarey@concordma.gov) and Heather Gill (hgill@concordma.gov) in advance of the meeting.

We know that your time is super valuable but we think that with more attendance and more supporters in the community speaking up, the HDC will deny this application!

** Update 10/31/21**

Thanks to the overwhelming support of the Concord community, a majority of the members of the HDC at the October 7th HDC meeting rebuffed the developer's plans, noting that his proposed design was too large, inappropriate and would have a detrimental impact on Hildreth Corner and the character and architectural integrity of its historic houses. Unfortunately, the HDC granted, and the developer accepted, a continuance to the November 4th HDC meeting (this Thursday) where we believe he will present a revised development plan (he has yet to publicly disclose revisions). And so while we have won a minor battle, there is still much work to do to protect this historic corner of Concord.

What you can do!

1. Email both Mike Bushnell (MBushnell@aol.com) and Kim Comeau (kcomeau@barrettsothebysrealty.com) to urge them to reconsider the purchase and development of the lot. Bushnell has not purchased the lot - the purchase is contingent on receiving all building approvals and he can back out of this deal. Urge them both not to develop and to allow the neighbors to continue negotiations with the owner to conserve the lot as open space for the Concord community.

2. Attend the Thursday, November 4th HDC meeting and let your opposition be heard! The meeting will be held at 7pm by zoom at this link. It is the third matter on the agenda, and so will be heard promptly after 7pm.

3. Share the petition with others in the Concord community. The HDC specifically noted the 96 Concord residents who signed the petition and the wide community opposition to the development. This made an impact - the HDC stated they have never had this much community opposition to a project - and so the more we can do to continue building community opposition to the development, we give the HDC the support and tools to protect the history and scenery of Concord and Hildreth Corner.


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