Fact Checking Article 26 Falsehoods

It is essential for each resident to do their own due diligence and fact check what certain town officials are communicating as facts, when in fact may simply be an intentional attempt to manipulate an outcome.

Bruce M. DeVault and Paul A. Piktelis, both are Millbury Planning Board members who apparently refused to listen to the explanation provided by Paul Stringham, Millbury’s Code Enforcement Officer and Building Inspector, when he spoke about the merits and implications of Article 26 – Rezoning To Suburban II A Portion Of Residential I North Of Rice Road and about Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 40A, Section 6 with respect to “pre-existing non-conforming use” or do their own independent research. At the second public hearing, Bruce M. DeVault and Paul A. Piktelis continued to promote the falsehood that the people contained within the rezoning area would not be able to sell their houses in the future if Article 26 passed at Town Meeting. Bruce M. DeVault reiterated the same falsehood at a third public forum, at Town Meeting.

A simple internet search revealed in MGL c.40A § 6:

  • Pre-existing nonconforming structures or uses may be extended or altered, provided, that no such extension or alteration shall be permitted unless there is a finding by the permit granting authority or by the special permit granting authority designated by ordinance or by-law that such change, extension or alteration shall not be substantially more detrimental than the existing nonconforming use to the neighborhood.
  • Any increase in area, frontage, width, yard, or depth requirements of a zoning ordinance or by-law shall not apply to a lot for single and two- family residential use which at the time of recording or endorsement, whichever occurs sooner was not held in common ownership with any adjoining land, conformed to then existing requirements and had less than the proposed requirement but at least five thousand square feet of area and fifty feet of frontage. Any increase in area, frontage, width, yard or depth requirement of a zoning ordinance or by-law shall not apply for a period of five years from its effective date or for five years after January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six, whichever is later, to a lot for single and two family residential use, provided the plan for such lot was recorded or endorsed and such lot was held in common ownership with any adjoining land and conformed to the existing zoning requirements as of January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six, and had less area, frontage, width, yard or depth requirements than the newly effective zoning requirements but contained at least seven thousand five hundred square feet of area and seventy-five feet of frontage, and provided that said five year period does not commence prior to January first, nineteen hundred and seventy-six, and provided further that the provisions of this sentence shall not apply to more than three of such adjoining lots held in common ownership. The provisions of this paragraph shall not be construed to prohibit a lot being built upon, if at the time of the building, building upon such lot is not prohibited by the zoning ordinances or by- laws in effect in a city or town.

The claims by Bruce M. DeVault and Paul A. Piktelis were and are false and were most likely intended to manipulate the vote on Article 26 through fear and trust of town officials. Therefore, it is critically important to do your own due diligence and get information from a trusted and independent source.

Outcome

More than two-thirds of the registered voters at the Town Meeting on May 3, 2022, passed Article 26, thus changing the north side of Rice Road from Residential I to Suburban II, matching the south side of Rice Road, Thomas Hill Road, Aldrich Avenue, Captain Peter Simpson Road, a portion of South Main Street, Phillips Drive, a portion of Woodland Street, etc.