Since you asked.

In answer to reader Tom’s comment and query about the Callahan land and its relation to the Smith property (response to Hi.), below is an assessor’s map colored to identify the abutters at the back of the Smith property. There are three landlocked backlots that touch the Smith property: 12 acres owned by Applerock Realty Trust; 76 acres owned by Jeremiah P. Callahan of Clinton; and 8.7 acres owned by the First Parish Church of Bolton.

The mystery exit.

For those who missed the July 8 Selectmen’s meeting, here is some further background. The Bolton Crossing developers were questioned in the meeting about a roadway shown extending off the top of their site plan drawing (detail at right) into what appears to be property owned by the First Parish Church. They said that the drawing was in error. Later, developer Drugge admitted that there was, in fact, an existing easement through Smith land to Callahan land, but he did not indicate whether that easement was related to the roadway shown in error on the drawing. This created unease among some in the room because a cooperative owner of the Smith parcel could, it would seem, confer considerable development potential upon portions of the privately owned backlot forests north of Main Street, simply by providing access.

—Roland

Assessor's map showing Smith property backlot abutters. Click to enlarge.

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This entry was posted in Board of Selectmen, Bolton Crossing, commercial development, Smith property and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Since you asked.

  1. CBO says:

    The biggest question here is: if the zoning change for the smith property is approved to allow commercial development, will the owners of the backlots ask for same if they reach agreements for easements with new owner?

  2. Barbara Bing says:

    First of all, thank you for creating this blog! It should certainly help facilitate communication within the town.
    Personally I find this property chart particularly troubling. Given the ownership of the abutting property I think the Selectmen should inquire as to whether a conflict of interest exists. At his presentation to the Economic Development Committee on June 7, 2010, Dave Drugge made reference to “Phase One” of his plan. Is there more? A Phase Two or Phase Three?? We need to know.

  3. Jane Moosbruker says:

    I would like to see something very small on this site, in keeping with rural Bolton.
    Lots of green space, some parking but not enough to interfere with the already over-crowded 117 at rush hour – and many other hours. Perhaps an old fashioned country store that sold a little hardware, a little food, some essential clothing, a drug counter – remember the Vermont Country Store? Am I daffy? Living in the past? My hunch is the future is going to look a lot more like the past than most of us now think, that is, if we are going to survive.

  4. Tom says:

    Do either the Callahan or Smith Properties currently have any road access?

    • boltoncenter says:

      Smith obviously has been used as a garage and school bus parking area for years, but I don’t think there are any surveyed roads on the parcel. Same with Callahan–no apparent road access. Maybe a logging road or a cart path or two. Some of the Callahan land is wet and some of it contains quite a big ravine. The gas line also runs through there. Anybody know for sure?
      -Roland

  5. hdemmer says:

    As a member of the Economic Development Committee I am excited that someone has taken an interest in cleaning up the incredibly rundown and contaminated Smith Property while trying to improve the look and feel of the center of town. Understandably no one wants to develop something inappropriate and please know Dave Drugge is looking for feedback. The initial plans Dave Drugge presented to the BOS last Thursday did include a 30k sq ft market mentioned in Barbara Bing’s e-mail and I think he heard loud and clear that it was too large. He is in the preliminary stages and is trying to figure out what would benefit the town. I am looking forward to a healthy discussion and hope that all Bolton residents participate.

  6. Barbara Bing says:

    Since Dave Drugge INCREASED the size of the supermarket from 8,000-11,000 sq. ft. (June 7, EDC presentation) to 30,000 sq. ft. (July 8, Board of Selectmen presentation), I find it hard to believe that we can rely on him to work with residents to accommodate our wishes for development of the property. Certainly he should understand that creating a large shopping center, with well over 300 parking spaces, in the middle of a residential, historic neighborhood is not appropriate.

    • David Drugge says:

      Now take that back… its not only me here..but I am a loud voice for Bolton and will do what I can to make us all proud.

  7. Tom Parker says:

    Roland, thanks for publishing all of this useful information. You have done an awesome job with this.

    Let’s all keep our heads about us. This parcel is zoned residential and as such would require a change in the zoning bylaws which would in turn require a 2/3 vote of town meeting. Not very likely with the proposal on the table.

    I for one would love to see a supermarket and pharmacy in town, but this is surely the wrong location for many reasons (traffic, historic town center, rural character, etc.). There is a perfect spot for this type of development next to 495 and the Country Cupboard and the owner of that parecel has even had discussions with the town about this.

    On the other hand, I would love to see this parecel redeveloped into something nice (not this). The question may be whether a “nice” small scale development on this properpty (think, restaurant, coffee shop, office space) would be economically viable given what are undoubtedly large environmental cleanup costs on this site.

    Anyway, let’s give Mr. Drugge a chance before running him out of town (at which point we will have to find a new assistant building inspector since he holds that title). If he is willing to work with the town and develop something on a scale that works for the majority of us (2/3), then let’s let him do it. Otherwise all we have to do is say no. We are in the position of power here.

  8. Daniel Senie says:

    The Smith property has some significant advantages from a traffic perspective, in a way that may not be obvious. Any development there would (or at least should) include removal (whether by demolition or relocation) of the house opposite the end of Wattaquadock Hill Road. That opens up the ability to place a properly-aligned intersection, with a traffic light.

    The traffic light will slow down cars passing through. It will slow trucks. And yes it will congest the middle of town, which is a good thing. That will help convince drivers that Route 117 is not a good shortcut from Route 2 to Route 495. Appropriate curbs and plantings close to the road, plus button-controlled crosswalks with bollards to keep pedestrians safe would complete that.

    Please approach this and any development with an open mind. If you start with the assumption that all development is bad, there can be no useful discussion. Rather than wait for the Smith’s to throw in the towel and stop paying tax on the land (at which point Bolton would own it, and have to clean it up), a development done with a good developer and town involvement would be the best path forward.

    • Margaret Campbell says:

      Thank you for this blog Roland. Well done.

      Daniel Senie has a good point; we must approach this development with an open mind. I ask that folks use an open mind approach to what happens with the road changes etc. It should not be assumed, as Daniel does, that the best solution to the Wattaquadock intersection is to tear down the house directly across the street and make an X intersection. I ask that who ever is charged with putting plans for the Smith property before the town hires appropriate traffic engineers to assess not just the impact of the development, but to propose traffic calming solutions. For example, any idea of widening 117 and/or eliminating the parking on 117 does nothing to benefit those of us who live in town.

      I certainly hope that we will not be presented with the hand-wringing conclusion….”Yup, the development wil increase 117 traffic by 3000 car trips a day. There is NOTHING TO BE DONE ABOUT THAT.” That is how most “traffic studies” conclude. It is entirely unacceptable. We must take back ownership of 117.

      Margaret

  9. Bill Alvord says:

    I couldn’t agree more with Daniel Senie. We should engage the developers to get what we want for central Bolton. And Wattaquodoc and Main needs a proper signal, which would be a disincentive for those drivers that are just flying through our little town center right now.

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