McLaughlins Tell People It Is The Developer

At least two of the McLaughlin family members are telling people in Millbury that their original intention was to develop their combined family properties at 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts into single-family house lots. However, now the McLaughlins are claiming that the developer, Steven F. Venincasa, under the business name of Whitney Street Home Builders, LLC switched their plans to a highly dense condominium development.

Is this the truth? It is quite possible it is, but is also quite plausible that the McLaughlin Family Living Trust, John Antaya, and Kathleen (McLaughlin) Mardirosian, or other McLaughlin family members are just trying to save or salvage their reputations in the Town of Millbury, all while gaining a higher return on investment from their parents original property. We, the neighbors, may never know the truth of the matter. However, if what the McLaughlin family members are telling is the truth, then the neighborhood would hope that they would do everything within their power to ensure that their original intentions are followed through upon and not allow the developer to run rough shot over them, if that is what is in fact happening.

Facts Matter

  1. The original property purchased 60+ years ago by Maureen and James McLaughlin, at 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts, was in fact subdivided into four single-family house lots and recorded in the Registry of Deeds on July 8, 2020, in Plan Book 950 Plan 65.
  2. In the project engineer’s development impact statements, James Tetreault clear states “In this case, in the R-1 zoning district, the comparison would be to a conventional residential subdivision. A conventional single family home subdivision on this property would propose a cul-de-sac roadway perhaps 750 feet long and create approximately 15 new lots. Such a development would not significantly differ from the proposed Rice Pond Village development in overall site alteration. But it would create a roadway which the Town would be asked to accept and maintain in perpetuity.”

The well established neighborhood of 43 existing single-family households on Rice Road, Thomas Hill Road, Aldrich Avenue and Captain Peter Simpson Road as well as the other 30± surrounding residences on South Main Street, Curve Street, Jackie Drive and Providence Street (Route 122A) has a character of being a peaceful and tranquil place to come home to, one where you know your neighbors, where it is safe to raise children without worry or stress, where neighbors watch out for and care about each other. We want to preserve that and give current and future generations the same environment that the McLaughlin family members enjoyed growing up in this neighborhood. We also realize that neighborhoods change over time, as this one has too. This neighborhood still has some of its original homeowners (60± years of residency) and properties have been passed on to second generations, as well as welcoming new families too.

Adding 52 or even 46 condominiums into the mix in such a small area on Rice Road, a minor access road, would drastic change the character and integrity of our neighborhood. If the northern side of Rice Road were zoned Suburban II, like the southern side of Rice Road is, then the proposed Rice Pond Village project would not be permitted, because multi-families are prohibited on minor roads in the Town of Millbury.

None of this is about Nimbyism. The neighborhood would openly welcome new single-family homes on the combined properties at 17 Rice Road, if developed in a responsible manner and in full compliance with the Millbury Zoning Bylaws without the need for variances or waivers to exist. Significant and legitimate facts have been brought to the attention of the Millbury Planning Board and Millbury Conservation Commission for their consideration as they weigh their decisions with respect to the proposed Rice Pond Village project. The simple fact of the matter is that what has been proposed in its current form is not compatible nor harmonious with the neighborhood.

NIMBY, an acronym for the phrase “not in my back yard”, or Nimby, is a characterization of opposition by residents to proposed developments in their local area, as well as support for strict land use regulations. It carries the connotation that such residents are only opposing the development because it is close to them and that they would tolerate or support it if it were built farther away. The residents are often called Nimbys, and their viewpoint is called Nimbyism.