Mansfield approved a rezoning for new development on West Street and denied another at town meeting on Tuesday. Both rezoning petitions were presenting by Willam Clemmey.
The first petition, which was allowed, asked for a change from residential two zoning designation to industrial one, which would allow for the construction of retail businesses behind the current Erin’s Plaza.
There would be access to the potential stores from both West Street and the adjoining plaza. The Mansfield Planning Board supported this action 7-0, as well as neighbors and, after a vote, the town.
What didn’t pass was another zoning change, of the same type, across the street on West Street. The plan, neighbors on Casa Drive said, was too close to the adjoining neighborhood.
“They don’t care about the town, the neighborhood or the residents,” resident William Greening said.
The planning board did not support the measure either, saying that
Clemmey said he added a berm to separate the neighborhood from the possible development, but residents said that, without a wall to block the sound or be high enough (like the walled berm on Route 140) to have any real effect in separating the neighborhood, sound wise and visual wise.
“I can see clear over that berm from my porch,” said Kevin Holbrook. “I can see Erin center, I can see every car that stops at that intersection. That berm has done nothing to help me.”
Clemmey said that currently he owns the parcel he has put up for rezoning, and he uses the houses there for renting purposes. He says that because of traffic in the area, the houses are not able to attract families to live there, as the area is hazardous to children, and that no one really wants to rent the houses. If they can’t be used for residential purposes, he said, why keep the parcels in a residential zone.
Town Planner Shaun Burke said that the problem with the traffic did not spring up overnight, and that adding to the problem with more retail would not help the situation.
“I didn’t support the rezoning during discussion, and I don’t now,” he said. “I spoke to this article in the past, we’ve seen it a number of times. I call this zone creep. It goes from Shaws, to Casa Drive, to the other side of Casa Drive and there we have Stop and Shop, and it works its way south, and your neighborhoods go away. My job is to see that they stay there. I understand that maybe West Street has changed, but it’s changed in part because of Erin Center. It’s kind of disingenuous to stand here and make the argument that ‘oh my, the houses I bought on speculation years ago are not desirable places to live because look at that traffic that my shopping center is creating.’”