The residents are against a 250,000 square-foot warehouse building on Riverneck Rd due to the negative impact it will have to our neighborhood and community as a whole. Riverneck Rd is a winding, narrow, mostly residential road, and a quarter-million square-foot warhouse doesn’t belong there. Warehouses and truck traffic will decrease nearby home property values, and will not help attract high-quality businesses and amenities that the CEIOD and BAOD articles are targeting. Additionally, is a low-quality project that provides relatively little tax revenue compared to many other uses, and will create mostly minimum-wage jobs. Consideing the median income in Chelmsford hovers around $100,000, minimum-wage jobs aren’t going to be held by Chelmsford residents.
More importantly, the project does not meet the requirements of the special permit criteria outlined in the Town of Chelmsford Bylaws Section B of 195-03:
Special permits shall be granted by the special permit granting authority, unless otherwise specified herein, only upon its written determination that the adverse effects of the proposed use will not outweigh its beneficial impacts to the Town or the neighborhood, in view of the particular characteristics of the site and of the proposal in relation to that site. In addition to any specific factors that may be set forth in this chapter, the determination shall include consideration of each of the following:
The project is being developed by the Davis Companies. They have purchased the old Mercury Computer property located at 191, 195, 199, and 201 Riverneck Road in Chelmsford, MA.
They plan to raze the 2 current office buildings and in their place, build a warehouse and distribution center that is 247,860 square feet in size and 45 feet tall.
Riverneck Road is an east-to-west urban minor road in Chelmsford that connects 3A (Gorham Street) to Rte. 129 (Billerica Road). It is the main route of travel from East Chelmsford, Lowell, and Billerica for many residents and commuters who travel across Chelmsford.
If you care about the character and integrity of Chelmsford, then you should care about stopping this project.
Even if you aren’t in the immediate area, you will still feel the effects of an additional 1000+ vehicles, many of which will be trucks, each day. Trucks wanting to access 495 will take Rte. 129 from Riverneck Rd onto Golden Cove Road. When 495 has accidents (which we know is pretty often), traffic could be re-routed to many different paths and cut-throughs in Chelmsford.
Large warehouses such as these are low-qualify projects. Offices, R&D space, and many other amenities provide a lot more tax revenue and benefits to the town of Chelmsford than distribution centers or “flex” warehouse buildings.
To put the scope of the project into perspective, the former Chelmsford Mall, located at 285 Chelmsford Street – now Kohls, Petsmart and Staples – is 241,545 square feet and 16 feet tall.
The Home Depot in Tewksbury is 102,200 square feet and 28 feet tall.
This project is twice the size of a Home Depot and larger than the former Chelmsford Mall.
In a conventional house, one story measures between 9 and 14 feet. Therefore, 40 feet would equate to a four-story apartment building or office building.
It’s been 14 months — and counting! In October 2021, the Davis Companies presented at a Chelmsford Planning Board meeting to request “applicability” for their project under Article XXIV: Route 129 Business Amenities Overlay District (BAOD), Article XXI: Community Enhancement and Investment Overlay District (CEIOD) sub-sections 195-111 D, 195-115, 195-116, and associated Special Permits per Article XIV: Aquifer Protection District, sub-section 195-74, Article XV: Floodplain District, sub-section 195-82, Article XI: Major Business Complexes, and any other permit relief, including but not limited to Articles V and IX, as may be required under the Chelmsford Zoning Bylaw to allow the proposed use/project.
Since this time, the Davis Companies has presented at 7 Chelmsford Planning Board meetings, 6 of which included public input. The dates of these seven meetings were: Jan 12, 2022; Feb 23, 2022; Mar 23, 2022; May 25, 2022; Sep 14, 2022; Oct 12, 2022; Jan 25, 2023. Additionally, the Davis Companies has hosted 2 community meetings with abutters and neighbors.
Your help is needed and appreciated! You don’t need to live near the site or even in Chelmsford. Please visit our Contact Us link at the top. We are especially looking for people who are willing to:
YES. It’s happening all across the United States. We are not the first movement trying to protect our beloved town, and we probably won’t be the last.
Here are a selection of news articles about other regions being affected by warehouses overtaking their neighborhoods and the warehouse boom in general: