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Powder Mill Road Corridor Initiative

Updated: Nov 7, 2023

On Wednesday, November 15, 6–8 p.m., the Powder Mill Road Corridor Initiative will host a public open house at the Maynard Elks Lodge (34 Powder Mill Road). Over the past year, the Towns of Acton and Maynard have worked together to develop an overlay zoning district that aims to make the Powder Mill Road corridor a more welcoming place for people to live, visit, and spend time. At the open house, town planners will share the proposed zoning vision, answer questions, and ask for feedback.

Green Maynard is looking forward to hearing more about this district, and we encourage all to attend, ask questions, and provide suggestions!

Some questions from Green Maynard may include:

■ Is sustainability and the health of the Assabet River the number one priority in developing this overlay zoning district? (In Maynard, large parts of the riverbank have been destroyed due to earlier development.)

  • We know there is strong resident support for sustainable development, as evidenced by the Green Meadow building project. How will sustainable development—and protection of the Assabet River—be prioritized?

■ Will the planning boards work with community organizations like the Assabet River National Wildlife Refuge, the Organization for the Assabet River, and others in developing the overlay zoning district?

  • Will an ecological assessment be conducted to ensure that new developments will not hinder wildlife movement and access to the river?

  • Will the plan go beyond complying with the Wetland Protection Act and the Maynard Wetland and Stormwater Bylaws to develop a plan that includes climate mitigation features?`

■ In the coming decades, the changing climate is likely to increase flooding. How will the proposed district address flooding? (For instance, if paved areas line the riverbanks, there is nowhere for water to go but over.)

  • Will existing trees be protected? Trees help reduce surface run-off and help store more water in the soil.

  • Will the Town be responsible for flood costs, insurance, and damage to nearby homes and businesses?

■ How will the proposed district work to prevent light pollution caused by businesses and other commercial buildings—not just for the benefit of residents nearby but also for wildlife, including critical nocturnal pollinators?

■ How will the proposed district work to prevent noise pollution from commercial and light- industrial businesses?

■ What other environmental and social equity initiatives are the planning boards considering? For example:

  • Conservation of existing trees; support of native plants and wildlife habitat

  • Affordable housing

  • Riverfront access and natural green spaces

  • ADA accessible walkways and bike paths

  • Reduced car traffic

■ Will the district ensure that only local businesses are supported?

  • One of the stated goals of the Powder Mill Corridor Initiative is to make the area an enticing destination for visitors. Chain restaurants that can be found everywhere will not support that goal.

  • Chains like Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Target will also create impossible traffic along the road and generate garbage waste near the river.

  • Independent businesses support Maynard residents and make our town unique.

■ What kind of outreach and consensus building will the planning board do with residents going forward?

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