Vote for Bob Domnitz for Planning Board – Here’s Why!

If you do only one thing next Monday, March 30, I hope you’ll stop by at the Brooks Gym and cast your ballot for Bob Domnitz for the Planning Board. He’s in a battle against a center-of-town, power-player candidate with an agenda to over-develop the South Lincoln / Mall area and the Transfer Station in North Lincoln. These plans could cost the Town tens of millions (those are your property tax dollars).

Bob Domnitz is the right choice for Lincoln. He has a proven track record of listening and carrying out the will of the citizens. He has also proven that he can be tough and tenacious when it comes to protecting neighborhoods. Bob is a lawyer and an engineer.  He deserves your support for the dozen years he’s worked hard to protect Lincoln’s neighborhoods.  If not for his efforts, there’d be a cell tower visible from my backyard.  If not for his ongoing diligence, the Rt. 2 project will end up looking a lot worse than promised.  While some town officials make nice with MassDOT and the contractor, Bob asks the tough questions and holds them to the terms of the contract.

Over the years, there have been numerous attacks levied against the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals, even though they are our first lines of protection against developers and non-profits who would like to over-develop our town. This time, Bob’s opponent seems to be arguing that the board is too tough on residents (or, maybe they really mean on the First Parish Church) with their silly requirement that applicants obey the Zoning Bylaws. But, I for one, want those protections enforced by the Planning Board. Bob has worked hard to have Site Plan Review work to give neighborhoods a voice.  It should not be dismissed as annoying or trivial.

What I don’t want is a Planning Board member who thinks it’s his job to facilitate dense new development and to rubber stamp these new proposals. I don’t want a person on the Planning Board who wants to acquire and expand Lincoln Woods’ treatment plant, which abuts a beautiful conservation field, and expand it into a regional facility.  And I certainly don’t want a PB member who wants to spend millions moving the DPW facility away from Lewis Street and into North Lincoln, at great taxpayer expense, in order to make way for hundreds of units of affordable housing.

It’s true that Bob’s opponent used to be a Selectman and I regularly covered that board during his tenure. What I observed was someone who routinely worked behind the backs of his fellow selectmen, wheeling and dealing with other town boards, state agencies and developers. Back then, I jokingly referred to him as Lincoln’s Dick Cheney for all his behind-the-scenes wheeling and dealing. He didn’t like that.

More recently, Bob’s opponent led the School Building Advisory Committee…right into the ditch.   His failure of leadership cost the town over half a million bucks on a school design that was rejected at a Special Town Meeting.  It was primarily his stubbornness and failure to listen to dissent that led to that failed vote, and wasted time and all that taxpayer money (not to mention the Town losing over $20 million in state school building funds).

The choice is simple: someone who will continue to protect Lincoln; or someone with a hidden, more ideological agenda.

So, please…Vote for Bob Domnitz for Planning Board on Monday, March 31.

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Bob Domnitz – Candidate for Re-Election to the Planning Board

Bob Domnitz

Lincoln Town Election, Monday, March 30th  

My Core Values:     

Preserve Town Character,  Strengthen our Community,  Respect our Land

Our Zoning Bylaw is an expression of these same core values, allowing us to manage growth and change responsibly while respecting our historic and rural heritage.  We benefit in Lincoln from the farsighted, altruistic actions of residents who placed large tracts of land in conservation and  adopted zoning with sensitive development controls.  We are all stewards of this precious legacy.

Continue to Support the Planning Board’s Mission

We’ve seen significant change during my 12 years on the Planning Board.  I’m proud to have contributed to the Board’s work on the redevelopment of the Mall at Lincoln Station, the Commons in Lincoln (formerly The Groves), and the Comprehensive Long Range Plan.  I’ve been the Board’s liaison to the massive Route 2 project and the lead member for issues such as Hanscom Field, Minuteman National Park, and cell towers.  My background in engineering and law has been helpful throughout.

The five members of our Planning Board are a team who work to create an environment that welcomes citizen input, balancing the rights and concerns of all.  We maintain Lincoln’s unique character by combining town-wide planning with sensitive consideration of proposals on a project-by-project basis.

My Background:                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Public Sector-Municipal:  Lincoln Planning Board; Lexington Planning Board;  Hanscom Field Advisory Commission;  Route 2 Oversight Committee;  Battle Road Scenic Byway Committee;  Planning Board Liaison to the Hanscom Area Towns Committee;  Cambridge Reservoir Watershed Committee.

Public Sector-State:  Economic Development Industry Specialist in the administration of  Governor William Weld

Private Sector:  President, Technical Collaborative, Inc., an electronics R&D firm.

Education:  M.I.T., B.S., M.S., Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering; Boston College Law School, J.D.

Contact Info:  781 259-1080;; 21 Mill Street.

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School Project Marches On

It was a mystified Sara Mattes who questioned School superintendent Mickey Brandmeyer, Lincoln School Committee chairman Jennifer Glass and School Building Committee (SBC) chairman Gary Taylor.  During the discussion of the school committee’s planned State of the Town (SotT) presentation she wondered what the school committee would do with the feedback from citizens at the October 16 meeting, especially if the feedback is as negative as it was at a similar meeting held last May.  Would the school committee simply continue along the $50+ million course it’s on, or would it consider less expensive repair and maintenance proposals?   

The selectmen hadn’t met since July, just before the Massachusetts School Building Authority’s (MSBA) response to the SBC’s original $58 million proposal, so Superintendent Mickey Brandmeyer began with an update.  Putting as happy a face as he could on the MSBA’s rejection, Brandmeyer discussed his meeting with its representatives.  He confidently reported that they now seemed to be on the same page: a school building project that would be 10% smaller than the original proposal, with more renovation than new construction, no new elevator and a price tag that’s still on the high side of $50 million.

This wasn’t quite good enough for the selectmen and Town Moderator Sarah Cannon Holden who was also in attendance.  So Sarah reframed Sara’s question: what would happen if the feedback from the town was that it couldn’t afford to spend any more than $20 million?  Would the school committee shift gears this year and adjust accordingly? 

Apparently not.  Superintendent Brandmeyer stated that the repair only (or even a combined repair/renovation) option is off the table.  The SBC didn’t propose it and the MSBA isn’t considering it.  Getting MSBA funds for a repair/renovation project at this time is a non-starter.  First the current project would have to be rejected.  Only then would a less expensive option be given any consideration and it would require a return to the MSBA to see if they’ll fund a repair/renovation project. 

The news that the school building proponents are moving forward on only one track caused some selectmen chagrin.  Why hold another mere propaganda session at this year’s (SotT) meeting?  Mattes cautioned that the school building project’s proponents also need to manage the expectations of those attending so that residents don’t show up expecting that their ideas will be actually considered. 

After that 45 minute grilling the troika left the Donaldson Room, walked across the hall and met with the Finance Committee for another half hour, where they were grilled about how sure they were that the state’s reimbursement percentage will be as high as they think.  Talk about your one-two punch.

School building proponents have routinely used 45% as the percent of total cost that the state will reimburse the town.  So, if the project costs $52 million, for example, and the state gives us 45% of that, we’d still owe $28.6 million.  That’s a long way from the up-to $20 million the selectmen and moderator were suggesting.  And that’s if the project only costs $52 million and we get the whole 45%.

But wait, the MSBA doesn’t reimburse towns for everything.  Some parts of the project will not be covered and will be left to us to pay for at 100% of the cost.  One finance committee member pointed out that Wayland received only 30% reimbursement for its new high school and inquired as to what would happen if the state reimbursement is as low as 30%.  As Eric Harris, SBC and finance committee member sagely put it, if the town receives only 30% and the total cost is $52 million, then the project would be dead, meaning that no town official would support it. Unfortunately, it will probably take defeating the current proposal to finally be able to explore cost-effective improvements to the school building.

You can attend the Sunday, October 16 meeting about the school building project and this year’s State of the Town Meeting in November, however, your opinions probably won’t impact the project or its current status one iota.  But be sure to pencil in next Fall’s Special Town Meeting.  It’ll be around the same time period as this year’s (SotT) Meeting.  That November 2012 meeting will be when the $50 million proposal will be voted up or down. That one will be for all the marbles.


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Donelans decision possible this week

According to sources close to the negotiations, the RLF and Donelans) are getting closer to a settlement.  There’s still a lingering insurance issue, like who will pay for some of the required
work, but the hope is that it will be resolved as early as this week.  So stay tuned…

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