As I wrote in a recent blog post, many “small” towns in Massachusetts are no longer looking so small. Rampant development is destroying our open spaces. Farms are replaced by malls and condos. This is problematic not just for landscape lovers, but for all town residents. While development is often heralded as bringing in short-term income through taxes, it costs the town in the long run. Service costs for new residential developments eat up most of the new tax revenue. Meanwhile, the town must cope with increased congestion on the roads and in the schools.
Fortunately, many town residents are starting to see open space as a public good, as important to quality of life as schools and libraries. In Plainville, a developer wants to build 55 houses on a 103-acre farm on the town’s rural west side. Outcry from Plainville’s residents persuaded selectmen to vote to buy the property. Not only will town ownership keep the space open for public enjoyment, it will also save Plainville from the strain of a crowded schools and roads.
However, all is not saved yet. A town meeting will decide the final outcome.