Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I Don't Think I Have The Whole Story Yet

So, let me make sure I've got this right.

  • No yellow reflective tape on the poles in front of the new Cumberland Farms Store.
  • Concern over seeds being transported into the river from the new store.  
  • Nothing yet on the relocation of the gas pumps.
  • Nothing on the traffic burden on the adjacent Hinman Street?

But, in the "historic area" of Fiskdale, the same area that the town will not allow a drive-thru at Dunkin' Donuts because it would not be appropriate in such an historic neighborhood, they are going to allow a wonderful old neighborhood house to be leveled in order to allow a convenience store to rebuild itself?

Do I have this right?   What am I missing here?


  1. What the H, E double L?Wednesday, July 31, 2013

    Yes, it seems you have it right. I just saw a replay of the July 23 meeting of the Planning Board where they discussed the fact that now Cumberlands wants a height of 32 ft. rather than 30 feet. That is within the bylaw, so no problem, but they are being told that if they are to increase the height of the building, they should do over the plans for the size of the dormers.

    Also, the Town Planner has announced a person will be coming before the Planning Board to speak on the benefits of round-abouts (rotaries). She also said they will be starting on the streetscaping plans. What? They pooh-poohed these things at the Town Meeting to get people to approve their Gateway zoning approved. Tricky, tricky.

  2. I'm sure the location of the gas pumps and everything else was carefully addressed, as I'm sure were the Hinman St. difficulties.

    It's the other, nagging little things, and needless inconveniences to the public (placement and eyebrowing of the Red Box, the requirement that reflective warning tape be in a color that doesn't show up during the day, the banning of drive-thrus, trees required to be planted at some businesses where they block signage, required shrubbery that ends up blocking views at intersections), that are addressed to the point of being ridiculous that bother me most.

    The town probably can't do anything about the old house being leveled. It is a shame to loose it.

  3. In regards to the roundabouts i don't think it was really poo-pooed at town meeting, more like avoided if i remember correctly. It was brought up by some members of the audience but i do not recall anyone from the town addressing it. Maybe they did but the answers were not something that was very memorable, It seems that at times when questions are asked that are not popular the answers sometimes are rather vague or not there at all.

  4. Yes, unless an objection is raised, and the house is of historic interest, you are right, the old house will be removed from "historic" Fiskdale, but we will be free of yellow, reflective tape on white poles.


  5. Dunkin Donuts could not get a drive thru window because fast foods are not permitted in the Commercial Tourist District, if and when CVS develops the property on Holland Road they would be permitted a drive thru window because pharmacies are permitted in the Commercial Tourist District.

  6. The Commercial Tourist District came after the Dunkin' Donuts was in place. Fast food is allowed in the historic district, that is why Dunkin's is where it is. It's the window that is the issue.

  7. Right over the heads of the peopleThursday, August 01, 2013

    We have way too many districts. In the new Gateway District (I don't know about in the other districts), if Mr.Patel (who a few years ago did give up on his corner of New Boston Rd. project once already) ever does get to build his buildings, and, if one of his buildings is to be constructed with no windows in the back, he is required to put in fake windows. His parking spaces are required to be small to leave space for all the required trees and plantings.

    There are so many pages of confusing rules and regulations on the town warrants, when there are new zoning proposals to be made at town meetings, that most people never attempt to read them.

    Yes, "the people" are the legislative branch and they get to vote, but others come up with proposal after proposal to add more and more restrictions, and things become so complex they go right over the heads of those who will complain later.

    For instance, how many people realize that a merchant who wants to put a new coat of paint on his sign (same color, same paint, identical design, just repaint) he is required to get a permit and pay for that permit. Oh yes, that was voted on at a town meeting.

  8. Test Drillings TodayFriday, August 02, 2013

    Today they are doing test drillings in the backyard of the building. But the only thing is our Town will have a hard time putting the road blocks on this project.

    Cumberland sells 3 things the State is hungry for and will make sure they succeed.

    Gas, Cigarettes, Lottery Tickets.

    All tax revenue items that our State Government is pushing for. Especially now when Gas Tax and Cigarette taxes just been hiked up.

    Our Town Tree Huggers will be told to go back to the woods by the State Politicians.

  9. You are right, taxes from cigarettes, gas, and revenue from lottery sales are something that the state enjoys. We enjoy the results that they bring as well.

    If expansion is done right, and the attention given to one corporation/business is the same as the the next one, there should not be a problem. Issues arrive when unneeded restrictions, and limitations are placed on a business making them back away. That is not a good thing. Tree huggers are fine, as are those that want more progress, it is walking the line that separates the two that is tricky, and must be done or we will continue to be a backwater town, lost in the 50's while our neighbors enjoy growth, and the opportunities it brings.

  10. why is it we're all so ready to blame the town, could it be that a building couldn't be erected at New Boston Road because the owner couldn't get the financing? Could it be that CVS could eliminate much of the objections if they didn't insist on a curb cut on Route 20? We bemoan the fact that a historic house will be torn down but no individual bought it. We don't like that Dunkin Donuts doesn't have a drive thru but they knew the restrictions when they chose to build across from the Post Office in the Commerical Tourist zone, I believe they got the permit as a bakery rather than a fast food establishment and that's how they got the permits. A little homework instead of guessing works much better.

  11. Perhaps the last anonymous needs to do more "homework," and fewer power grabs.

  12. I'm not "guessing" about the reason the guy left his New Boston Road project years ago. I DO know that he said he had had to leave it for financial reasons. So what did "we" do this time when he came back with a plan to build 2 or more buildings there, thinking that that may give him a better chance to get business and to make a go of it?

    Let's see: For one thing he asked that part of his land that wasn't zoned commercial be changed TO being commercially zoned so he could proceed with his new plan. What was he told? That we would "help" him out by not promoting his request for a type of commercial zoning we already had, but by pushing for a NEW "Gateway Zoning" which now imposes on him more restrictions and more costs.

    CVS is being fought by the town about the height and length of a retaining wall, about the size of the pharmacy, about a drive-through window, and I am sure many other things. CVS reduced the height and length of the proposal for the wall, CVS twice twice reduced the size of the building they wanted, and, still they were turned away.

    We "deserve" to have a Dunkin Donuts on Main Street in Fiskdale WITH a drive through. A drive through would actually even save parking spaces. By the way, who gave Dunkin Donuts the permit, if as you suggest, they might have gotten in by calling themselves a bakery? They don't actually bake in that small store do they? Aren't those donuts brought in?

    And, finally, Anonymous, what do you mean by saying that "... a (an) historic house will be torn down but no individual bought it."?

    Please stop accusing others of not doing their homework, when they simply do not like the way things are going. WHAT ARE VOICES FOR?

  13. If it is true that Dunkin' Donuts has a permit designating them a bakery, and they do not bake in their store, and never have, then that permit needs revision.


  14. What are they drilling for next to Cumberland Farms?


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