In my 3/19/18 letter expressing concerns about the Wilmington School System’s capacity not being able to keep pace with the rate of condominium and housing development, I made an error in my reporting. I stated a mother received a note from her child’s school asking her to think about alternate arrangements for her child’s high school education due to class size. I reported what I believed to be fact. Regrettably, it turned out to be hearsay. I take full responsibility for this error. Other than that statement, everything reported in that piece is accurate.
Permit me to connect two dots for you. The first dot deals with the rate and scope of growth and development in our town. There is a relatively new class of property zone in Wilmington. It is called “Neighborhood Mix Multi-Family Dwelling” (N/M)). This classification permits condominium development as well as commercial and residential dwellings. The condominiums may be up to three stories in height. The new classification also permits more development per acre. Obtaining this zoning classification is the first step in the condominium development process.
Large parcels on Main Street and Lowell Street have already been rezoned with this classification. In November, of last year, a developer paid to have sewer lines extended down Lowell Street. The new lines are necessary to support condominium development. Recently, in Selectman McCoy’s letter to the editor, he sounded the alarm that the 62.5 acre parcel known as Scirappa Farm will have this designation if it gets sufficient support at the annual town meeting. Bear in mind this potential explosion in the population of Wilmington is over and above new private dwelling construction (58 permits pulled in 2017 excluding tear-downs).
The second dot is the Wilmington School system. Last week the Wilmington School Department was kind enough to provide the following statistics. Next, please find my questions and the responses provided by the School Department:
Q: What is the percent of student capacity (number of current students to the school capacity) for the elementary, middle and high school?
A: Elementary = 85%
A: Middle School = 76%
A: High School = 91%
Q: What was the student capacity for the old high school?
A: Approximately 1,000
Q: What is the student capacity for the new high school?
I was shocked to think that a seemingly pro-development town administration knowing the inexorable demographic population increase could green-light the construction of an 82.7 million dollar high school with less student capacity than the old high school! If you think that this won’t impact you, think again. A mother from the Concerned Citizens group received a notice from her child’s elementary school advising her to look into alternate plans for her child’s high school education due to class size. Will the Wilmington taxpayers have to foot the bill for private schools for our children because of someone’s inability to predict the obvious?
I don’t think that you need me to connect the dots. Who will have to cope with Wilmington traffic even worse than it is today? Who will have to pay for the new schools at all levels to support this unbridled growth? Who will pay for the additional town employees and infrastructure to support the future state of Wilmington? Here is a hint: “Grab a mirror.”
You have been kept in the dark. Stay informed, get involved, go to the town meeting and visit the Concerned Citizens on Facebook. Apathy is our worst enemy. Let’s “Take Back Our Town.”
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