Letter to the Editor
To The sentinel:
This letter is in response to an article in the Regional section
of the Sentinel, published on Jan 10th, 2008, under the heading,
The article, headlined, "Waivers Granted For Housing Plan"
stated: "A proposal to build 32 condominium units in Winchester
may be approaching it's second judgment day after the granting of
several new waivers by The Winchester Planning Board ..."
Every taxpayer in Winchester should be up in arms over this
decision by the Planning Board and especially chairperson
Margaret Sharra, over her push to reopen the application of the 32
unit condo project, which had been previously denied by unanimous
vote at the Sept 19th meeting.
Mr Jack Marsh had convinced the board to deny this application
based on town law and his and the board's concerns that many
issues had been left unresolved.
Now,suddenly the board has done a complete turnaround and has
granted three of four waivers submitted to the town board by
Mr Vandyke's attorney and representatives of the engineering firm hired
to develop this project.
This includes granting a waiver to allow Mr Vandyke relief from having
to submit a completed application, as required by the town zoning laws
on any building project,under the premise this would cause him undue
hardship by having to spend the money required to submit completed
The Planning Board also granted Mr. Van Dyke a special waiver to
intrude upon the required 100 foot buffer zone surrounding the project,
meant to protect abutters and wetlands, to construct water retention
ponds and culverts; which will channel runoff from the project onto the
adjacent neighbors' properties.
They are also allowing him to extend the entrance to the cul-de-sac
125 feet over the zoning ordinance requirement of 400' simply because
his lot layout doesn't meet the criteria,not because of any topographic
obstacles. As stated in the article, this proposed project just doesn't
fit the terrain.
No mention of the impact of leaching upwards of 20,000 gallons of
live sewage into the hillside behind existing neighborhood homes or
whose responsibility it will be to provide for these people if their water
and septic systems fail.
Nor did they have concerns what impact the approval of this project
will do to our over strained $10,000,000.00 school budget and our
As a member of the budget committee, I know firsthand how fragile
the school budget is. What's the impact going to be once these 32,
two- to- three bedroom units are occupied by school children?
Many of our citizens are not aware that Winchester taxpayers
currently pay the fourth-highest rate in the state.
Why have they granted all of these exemptions of the zoning
ordinance rules for this applicant?
Is Margaret Sharra, working for the townspeople; or is she
actually pandering to this applicant? Was Sharra, at the October
15th, Planning Board meeting, working in the best interest of the
town when she introduced the matter of reconsideration, passing
out documents she researched, to planning board members
indicating other towns being sued, casting out fear that the board
acted too hastily?
I feel that there is more going on here than meets the eye and that
there are other interests at stake,based on the out come of the
When I questioned why certain members did not recuse themselves
when there was a special interest in the outcome of their vote, I was
verbally attacked by certain members of the board for raising these
Have some of our board members broken their oaths; to protect the
rights, health, safety and welfare of the citizens of Winchester and to
enforce and abide by all of our current land use rules and zoning laws,
by showing their indifference to their responsibilities?Citizens of Winchester, I implore you to stand up for our town, to be
present at the next Planning Board meeting on February 11th
( call the town hall for time )
Call or write the selectman and planning board members.
893 Old Westmport Road