Town Rejects Devens Rezoning Plan

first_img Dan Cohen AUTHOR Voters in the town of Harvard, Mass., last week turned down a proposal by MassDevelopment to rezone a portion of Devens to lure a biotech company to the site 35 miles west of downtown Boston.Zoning changes at the former Fort Devens require approval from Harvard and the installation’s other two host communities, Ayer and Shirley. Only Harvard voters rejected the state development agency’s proposal to rezone a residential area on the western side of Devens to allow industrial and commercial uses.Harvard residents were concerned about the potential for a factory to create noise problems after a nearby manufacturing facility built by Evergreen Solar prompted similar complaints, reported the Boston Globe. Evergreen Solar went bankrupt and suspended operations in 2011; its factory is being used by another firm.The reuse project is the home of a manufacturing plant operated by Bristol-Myers Squibb Co., and MassDevelopment had hoped to bring a second biotech factory to Devens. Harvard’s rejection of its proposed rezoning represents a missed opportunity that would have brought $500 million to $1 billion in investment to central Massachusetts, according to the development agency.“There are very few sites of this scale, zoned and ready for development in the commonwealth,” said Marty Jones, MassDevelopment’s chief executive.Despite the setback, MassDevelopment and Harvard said they are hopeful of reaching agreement on a new zoning plan allowing for commercial development in that part of Devens.last_img

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