Developer: Materials Storage Plans Will Drop Housing Project's Values
Selectmen approved the storage license Tuesday night.
A group of $600,000 and up homes will decline in value considerably due to an unexpected next-door-neighbor, the developer says.
MicroChem Inc. will be licensed to store 45,000 gallons of flammable and combustible materials at its new facility at 200 Flanders Road. Selectmen approved the license Tuesday night after a public hearing at Westborough Town Hall.
Trask Development Founder and Owner Ben Stevens said the plan is “a little disconcerting, because we’re proposing to build $600,000 (and) $700,000 houses here and I don’t think I can sell them for $400,000 after this plan is permitted.”
Stevens said that “I think we would have an obligation to disclose to any homeowners that are living there that this is being stored next to them.”
“We have grave concerns that we’ve just basically slashed the value of these properties,” he said.
“I don’t think anyone on this board would buy an $800,000 house next to a storage tank.”
Selectmen Chairman Leigh Emery said the materials will be stored inside the building.
Stevens said neither he nor the property owner was notified of the plans.
“I don’t even know what the hazardous materials are,” he said.
Emery said that “I can understand your concerns. However, I don’t think we have any obligation as town, or any of our boards, to notify anybody,” and that MicroChem is “perfectly within their rights” to store such materials on its property.
Fire Chief Nick Perron approved MicroChem’s storage application. The approval by selectmen includes such conditions as complying with state laws, as well as providing emergency planning and evacuation plans.
Town Manager Jim Malloy added that MicroChem sent property owners a letter inviting them to a recent open house. He said he and Selectman Timothy Dodd were the only guests.
Voters at the Aug. 7 special town meeting approved a 15-year tax increment financing agreement for MicroChem to move to Westborough from Newton.
MicroChem specializes in "chemistry for the microelectronics marketplace," seeks to expand, and "we feel that the Flanders Road facility really fits the bill for us,” President and CEO Jay Cole told voters.