Let public voice opinion on Brox
A victory? A loss?
That depends upon one’s point of view.
We’re writing, of course, about the decision of a Massachusetts company to abandon plans to move its operations to Milford’s Brox property.
It’s a victory if you’re Audrey Fraizer, chairwoman of the town’s Conservation Commission, who opposed the sale of the Brox land to a developer, and for the group Brox Environmental Citizens, who seem to oppose all development of this town-owned property.
It’s a loss, though, if you are town officials who believe the land must be developed. And these officials will tell you that it’s a loss for taxpayers. There are taxes to be had if companies can be brought to Brox.
So … Victory? Loss?
It’s clear, though, that part of the reason Stoneyard of Littleton, Mass., pulled out of its proposed move was community opposition, if by "community" we mean what appears to be a relatively small group.
That said, size isn’t always an indicator of strength. The company also said it had suddenly discovered that it actually needed more land than was available to it.
But no one really knows how the community as a whole feels. We know how Frazier feels, and we known how the people who speak for the Brox Environmental Citizens feel. But the majority? No clue.
And this decision by Stoneyard makes it clear to us why Frazier’s idea for a warrant article asking voters if they want Brox to be conservation land has become an even better idea than it was before. Officials need to know, and the only way to do that is via a vote.
Now it could be argued that a vote in March is probably not going to bring out a majority of eligible residents, a truism that can’t be ignored. But however many come out, it will be more than so far clearly stand in opposition to developing Brox.
It’s possible, of course, that a huge percentage of Milford voters stand with Brox Environmental Citizens, but neither we nor town officials know that. A vote might not clear it up, but at least we will have heard from more people.
What if voters elect to keep Brox as conservation land? Should town officials abandon any plans to have it developed? Ah, that is always the dichotomy in our country. The people speak, but do officials necessarily find what they say binding upon them?
The fact is, sometimes they shouldn’t. Would a Brox vote be such a case? That, of course, would be up to Milford’s elected and appointed leaders. Should they simply accept the will of the voters, even if it’s only a 30 percent turnout?
But what if the vote were clearly in favor of developing the land? Should Frazier and the Brox Environmental Citizens simply accept the will of the voters, even if it’s only a 30 percent turnout?
Perhaps we should get an article on the warrant, hold the vote, see how it turns out and then fight that battle.