May 11, 2004

Compromise Appears Near on Medfield State Plans

"In a significant departure from its long-held position, the state has presented a new plan for the former Medfield State Hospital property that slashes the proposed housing from 400 units to 300, in exchange for adding assisted-living facilities for the elderly," Boston Globe West Weekly reports.

"The new plan is winning praise from Medfield officials, who say it shows promise that the 225-acre property could be redeveloped in an acceptable way."

"Acceptable" in this instance appears to mean as few school-age children as possible, so the town can reap maximum property tax revenue at minimum expense.

The latest proposal has 43 seniors-only apartments and 137 seniors-only condos, as well as 100 non-age-restricted apartments and 19 single-family houses, according to a financial analysis provided by the state. There would also be another 60 residential slots each for assisted living and nursing home residences. Some of the units would be set aside as affordable housing.

What seems lacking, however, is any possibility that residents in the new development would be able to walk to any meaningful destination -- a store, a bank, a post office. Unless I'm missing something on the plan (you can see a map here), it looks like more planned isolation and/or motor vehicle dependence. Sigh.

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