Plymouth: Zoning Bylaws or Why-Laws?

Developers target Colony Place in Plymouth for 203 units in Aquifer Protection Overlay District, seek major zoning variance

Decades of unregulated & uncontrolled strip mining on the land has removed all groundwater protection layers, altered topography, aquifer recharge and stormwater

Town not holding mining companies and developers accountable for impacts to groundwater, Sole Source Aquifer

Thorough hydrologic, water quality and sewer capacity study required before MORE development is allowed in Colony Place

ZBA and Planning Board must REJECT this project — they have power to do it!

BREAKING: August 16, 2022: Planning Board violates Open Meeting Law on August 10, 2022 by not giving public notice of new Claremont plans.

More reckless development threatens the Plymouth Carver Sole Source Aquifer and the wetlands, ponds and waterways that are part of the aquifer. Claremont Development is proposing about 200 units in Colony Place.

When Colony Place was first developed in 2003 there were serious water and other concerns that where pushed off to the future with vague promises. Read more about the environmental review process starting in 2002 here.

Here is the regional Zone 2 for wells in the area.

Plymouth officials continue to recklessly approve massive development projects like this. These projects are often preceded by strip mining disguised as “site preparation.” Unregulated strip mining is happening at Pine Hills and on Route 3 in the Industrial Park at the Spencer Realty site. These sites had no studies to show groundwater or environmental impacts.

The industrial sand and gravel mining going on removes the forest, vegetation and sand and gravel that protects and filters our water. Do you wonder why Plymouth is having ever more frequent cyanobateria blooms and water problems?

The Town lacks adequate water quantity as well. The DPW makes deals with developers like the one made for “The Walk” development to paper over real problems like the contamination of the North Plymouth wells. There were serious issues about whether the Town could supply enough water to The Walk without further contaminating the North Plymouth wells and ruining Darby Pond and Muddy Pond, a globally rare ecosystem in permanent conservation protection. Wildlife in the area is already being displaced.

Colony Place is built on a 100 acre strip mine: former owners including Gary Darmin removed massive volumes of sand and gravel and huge hills. There was never any accountability for the environmental impacts of this strip mining. It left the underlying groundwater aquifer with NO PROTECTION at all.

Sign posted in Colony Place announcing public hearing by Plymouth Zoning Board of Appeals. The notice lists all the waivers and exemption the developer is demanding from the ZBA. This includes a waiver from the laws that protect our drinking water.

The Claremont Development project for 200 more units in Colony Place is one more assault on our drinking water, community character, quality of life and environment. When are the Plymouth Planning Board, Town Planner and ZBA going to do their jobs and stop rubber stamping every development project that comes along?

See the Claremont plans here:

Claremont Development wants a laundry list of waivers from our zoning laws. Those laws are to protect the public health, safety and welfare. Why should a developer get waivers?

Are they Zoning Bylaws or Zoning Why-Laws?

Why bother to have Zoning laws at all if the Planning Board and ZBA grant so many waivers that it eviscerates them — making them meaningless. Why have them at all?

Read more here and get in touch to find out how you can help stop this destructive, unnecessary project.

There needs to be accountability for the condition of the stormwater detention pond. Was there a vernal pool or other wetland that has now been destroyed by the Colony Place development? Photos from 2021 reveal the appalling condition of the area. What is like today? Where is the Plymouth Conservation Commission?

Read about the state MEPA review and all the promises the developer made about Colony Place.

Upcoming dates:

Update on July 20, 2022: Plymouth Planning Board meeting: Claremont Development presented their proposal. About 50 concerned residents attended the meeting in person and 40 on Zoom. The Sawyer’s Reach concerned residents group presented a list of concerns to the Planning Board and Town Planner. Westwood Village representatives also attended the meeting and oppose the development. Four residents spoke about their concerns. The meeting is continued to August 10 and Claremont developers are asked to provide answers to questions raised by the Board and concerned residents.

The Planning Department obtained a peer review from the Town’s consultant on the “reconfiguration” of the pond on the site.

July 20, 2022: Plymouth Zoning Board of Appeals: Rescheduled to August 17.

Sand & Gravel Mining at Colony Place 2003 and 2004

Mining at Colony Place 2003
Mining at Colony Place 2004
Colony Place, October 2021: Source MassMapper GIS
What the topography used to be at Colony Place: Hills up to 150 feet, now down to sea level. What has this done to our aquifer and environment?