This was no surprise by any stretch of the imagination. We knew full well that Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira could secure their rights by submitting their plan of the drug detox facility located at 362 Middlesex Avenue to the Wilmington Planning Board even as the Concerned Citizens of Wilmington were petitioning the town for this upcoming special town meeting to address the whole town’s concern of a drug detox facility being located directly in your neighborhood with the existing zoning bylaws. By Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira doing this on Monday, November 27, 2017 during the same week of the public hearing on Thursday November 30, 2017, they did a little razzle dazzle business trick and are trying to project the idea to the people that its all over and the special town meeting will be a waste of time and money. At that very moment during the joint meeting of the Wilmington Planning Board and Finance Committee on Thursday when it was revealed that Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira submitted their plan, a member of the very group that is for the special town meeting to change the bylaw said “Well, I guess this is a done deal. It’s over and this is a waste of money going to the special town meeting.” Simply put, that’s the strategic political move that Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira want the residents to believe.
Newsflash: It’s not over. Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira still have to go through the process and go to the Wilmington Planning Board then to the Wilmington Board of Appeals to secure a special permit to open and operate and a drug detox facility. This process is not new to Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira because when Mr. Caira and Mr. Michael Newhouse represented Global before the Wilmington Board of Appeals this past summer, the Group of Wilmington Families First fought Mr. Newhouse and Mr. Caira every step of the way. Guess what? The Wilmington Families First, like the new group of Concerned Citizens of Wilmington won! At least Global understood and cared about the concerns of the neighbors and pulled out of the process because that’s what the residents demanded and Global made the final decision to withdraw from the Board of Appeals. Not Mr. Kneeland. It’s all about the money because there is more money to be made on that site constructing a private drug detox facility than putting a Dunkin Donuts or yes, even another Global gas station.
There is a small group of foolish individuals on Facebook who are trying to brainwash the citizens of this town by saying “It’s over. It’s a waste of money to be spent on special town meeting.” These are the same handful of individuals who support a drug detox facility to be located in your neighborhoods no matter the impact, which is their right to do so. But it’s not over. Additionally, Mr. Kneeland and Mr. Caira want you to buy into the con. Believe me, people of this town are a lot smarter than they’re given credit for. So Wilmington Families First of South Wilmington meet the Concerned Citizens of North Wilmington. We need families in north, south, east and west Wilmington to go to the special town meeting on Saturday December 16, 2017 at 10:30 a.m. at the Wilmington High School auditorium to support and vote Yes to Article 2 and to protect all of Wilmington’s neighborhoods.
The cost of this special town meeting is not $7,000 or $8,000 that is being stated today by a few people on Facebook. According to updated town figures, including time and a half, for the town meeting to take place on Saturday December 16, 2017, it is $2,750 and breaks down to each of the approximately 8,000 homes in Wilmington, to be a cost of only .34 cents and to the town’s population of roughly 24,000 people, the cost is .12 cents per person.
During the Planning Board and Finance Committee public hearing, a question from a member of the finance committee asked town counsel what was his opinion of articles 1 and 2. Town counsel stated that article 1 would probably be rejected by the attorney general. Relative to article 2, town counsel stated that if the town meeting approves the article with the required two thirds majority vote, more than likely article 2 will be approved by the attorney general’s office. At the conclusion of the public hearing, the finance committee voted unanimously to approve article 2. The Wilmington Planning Board voted 3 to 2 to recommend disapproval of article 2. Article 2 is clearly the better article of the two being presented.
The final decision, whether you support drug detox facilities in neighborhoods or not is the sole decision of you, the Wilmington voter at the special town meeting. If you want to allow drug detox facilities to be built and operated in neighborhoods, vote No on article 2. If you do not want drug detox facilities built and operating in your neighborhoods, vote Yes on article 2. Either way, come to the special town meeting and let your voice be heard loud and clear.
Wilmington Selectman Michael McCoy
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