Opportunities for O’Brien property on Blue Hill RoadMore Info
To the Editor:
My family home is bordered on the north by Blue Hill Road and on the south by the Old Road (later called Roger Road), so the sights and sound of trucks were familiar and intrusive on normal family backyard activities such as talking to one another and having a cookout. And, as well documented, the impact on normal living has intensified and no relief is in sight despite heartfelt testimony from the residents.
Today, there is a proposal for the town to buy the property, and life on Three Mile Hill may become quieter. I displayed GB Plat map 37 (lot 37-9) on my computer screen and came up with some thoughts for its uses if the town buys it. 11 Roger Road was a much larger property at one time. Now it looks like and probably was two parcels that at some time were combined. To separate them might make sense. The small lower piece could possibly be saleable/ buildable; it has no known contamination but does lack a working septic system. The existing house would have to be torn down, but another could be built.
The upper hillside portion of the property (lot 2, I’ll call it) is perhaps not buildable or is marginally buildable because it probably does not perc, is rocky, and may not have access to town water. Also it may well be contaminated after years of truck parking, vehicle repair, maintenance, and re-fueling. If testing shows evidence of contamination, I think that such a finding should not be a deal breaker re: the town’s purchase. Instead, a time period to study the options might be a good idea especially if a couple of the neighbors could participate. Is the contamination limited to a certain area or is it widespread? What would it cost to remediate it? Could it be capped so it could contain a large array of solar panels? Could the town save money and participate in some promising new types of research where trees, grown in contaminated areas, help to remediate the soil. The wood from such trees has useful properties. This might be the most forward thinking project of all.
Open space is also a possibility for part of the parcel, because it is near the 219-acre Thomas & Palmer Brook Preserve and adjoins the Elmwood Cemetery Association land. There could be possibilities of partnerships with the Berkshire Natural Resources Council (stewards of the T & P preserve) in the activities planned for the T and P parcel. This is probably the quietest of possible uses!
Jeanné Stewart Chesanow
28 Blue Hill Rd.
Great Barrington, Mass.