To The Daily Sun,
I am writing because I do not support Article 2 on the town ballot which is a petition to stop all new or expanded industrial uses on the aquifer. I am a member of the Belmont Planning Board and the board also voted unanimously not to support this petition.
In 2001 the Belmont Planning Board joined with the towns of Northfield and Tilton to develop adequate protection for this aquifer, which is shared by the three towns. The towns worked with the state and the regional planning commission and developed aquifer protection ordinances, which prohibit uses dangerous to water quality and require all remaining commercial and industrial uses to follow strict best management protection guidelines and to be regularly inspected. Belmont voters adopted the board's proposed Aquifer Protection Ordinance in 2008.
As a result, the town's tax base can continue to benefit from quality commercial and industrial development while balancing that with strict operational guidelines.
In Belmont the aquifer protection zone is 7,541 acres, which is 39 percent of the entire community. That makes our job of regulating uses over the aquifer very difficult. It requires solid regulation and oversight to balance the town's need for a solid tax base. That was the purpose of the tri-town study — to use science and facts to develop an ordinance.
Absolutely no science or facts have been provided to support asking the voters to eliminate industrial development. References have been made to water quality disasters in other parts of the country that have no comparison whatsoever to situation here. In the past, voters have twice overwhelmingly voted down aquifer petitions by this petitioner (3:1 and 4:1 against).
The towns of Northfield and Tilton are maintaining their ordinances and will gladly accept the quality development that will no longer be permitted in Belmont.
I have been a member of the Belmont Planning Board for 28 years. I have also served as a selectman and on the Budget Committee and Conservation Commission. I understand how such decisions require balance of competing interests, and that they impact all of the taxpayers in the community. I urge voters to consider this matter very carefully. Water quality is of great importance. But this drastic, unsupported proposal is unnecessary and will result in adverse impacts to all taxpayers.
Vote No on Article 2.