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The Open Space Plan of Burlington wisely recommends that the BLP be designated conservation land and maintained in its current state, open to the public and free to be enjoyed by all. Now however, the future of the Parcel is at risk. A major developer, Patriot Partners, taking advantage of state economic initiatives, proposes to pave over more than a hundred acres of this precious land and replace it with laboratories and offices, retail shops and a movie theater. Patriot Partners has launched an expensive and glitzy p.r. campaign to make this all go down easy.

Patriot Partner's exact proposal is a bit unclear, but the Boston Globe reported it with the diagram at right. As can be seen, if they get their way, not much of the Forest will be left to preserve. Of course Burlington needs more affordable Senior housing, as well as the tax revenue that new industry might provide, but not at the expense of destroying one of the last intact forest preserves in the area. Erickson Retirement communities are lovely places, but they are not low cost senior housing and it is very questionable how many Burlington senior citizens could actually afford to live there.

Luckily, this proposal can be readily stopped by the citizens of Burlington. The town owns the land, and has already deemed it Open Space, worthy of preservation and necessary for the watershed. Patriot Partners has a right of first refusal on the land which expires in 2010 - and they can only build on it if the Town decides to sell it. Given this timetable, is it a coincidence that this developer is making this proposal now, and trying to fast-track through?

Burlington residents can nip this in the bud by letting their Town Meeting representatives know that the map at right isn't their vision of the future, and that the preservation of Open Space and the Landlocked Forest is important to them. But we must act now: the Burlington Town Meeting will vote on this issue on September 22nd, so please contact your Town Meeting representative today.

Boston Globe map of proposal by Patriot Partners

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Friends of the Burlington Landlocked Forest is a volunteer organization concerned with the preservation of 250 acres of land owned by the Town of Burlington and located between Routes 62, 3 and 128 in Burlington, Massachusetts