Published December 06. 2012 3:01PM Updated December 06. 2012 3:12PM
Signatures are being added daily to a new petition, with lawn signs cropping up to back the message: "No Public Works at Tabor."
This past weekend, two RTM District Five Representatives, Republicans Ray Ingraham and Dennis Flanigan, set off on a walking tour of the district's Tabor area. They went into the neighborhood to gauge the response of residents who will become neighbors with the new Public Works facility, should the recent BOS recommendation (by a vote of 2-1) to finance the design of a facility there receive Board of Finance (BOF) and Representative Town Meeting (RTM) approval in the coming weeks.
During their three-hour walk, Ingraham and Flanigan also distributed the lawn signs to anyone who wanted one.
"We went door to door on Saturday, mainly in that area," said Ingraham. "People were greeting us at the door and asking for signs, asking what can they do."
He said there would have been more signs posted over the weekend, but "…we ran out."
Regarding the BOS decision, Ingraham said he's found of his neighbors, "…the long timers feel burnt."
In addition to putting up with "...60 years of the (town) dump" at Tabor, Ingraham said, "…one person said we have a toilet (town sewage treatment plant) on one side of Indian Neck Avenue and a landfill on the other side, and now they want to put in Public Works."
The perception is also that the town will turn the nearly 77-acre Tabor parcel into prime industrial space by introducing the new Public Works Facility on 10 acres.
"Another worry was that, once it is industrial on both sides; town's going to make it all industrial; 66 acres of prime industrial flat land," said Ingraham. "And if we spend enough money to improve roads…to a level above what you need for residential; that land becomes more and more prime. Even when you put conservation caps on properties; those things can still be overcome by cash."
From Ingraham and Flanigan's weekend walking tour came the online petition, available here.
The petition is growing by a rate of 10 to 15 signatures a day, said Ingraham.
"The petition came about because the neighbors wanted to show there's more support not to have Public Works placed at the Tabor property," he said.
At the Dec. 5 BOS meeting, Ingraham submitted a list of 172 names of those in opposition (to date) but didn't speak to the BOS formally. He told The Sound updates would continue to be sent to town officials.
"It's a list of all the people who've come out and said they're against it; whether they've put a sign up or signed a petition. It's just showing what support there is… in the area -- and throughout the town - where there is not a lot of support coming out for it," said Ingraham.
Ingraham also distributed a flyer over the weekend, asking for people's opinions on the matter.
"The flyer asked what their opinion is, (it didn't say) contact me if you're against it. It's been very difficult to find someone that's for it."
Since this weekend, six citizens have signed on to develop an organized approach for the opposition. The group had its first organizational meeting on Tues. Dec. 4, said Ingraham. A website "No Public Works At Tabor" is in the works and an email, nopw@firstname.lastname@example.org is active.
"It's very heartening…all of the infrastructure of the organization came together in the last few days," said Ingraham, adding the he and Flanigan, and other involved RTM members, such as District 1's Frank Twohill, are responding to the requests of their constituents.
"We're here to represent what our constituents want, not what we think is right. This isn't a secret party, this is a neighborhood thing and others should be able to join up. We've reached out to other members of the RTM and we may have to have our own public (discussion)."
A portion of District 1 includes neighborhoods on the other side of the Tabor land where a second entrance to to the new Public Works facility would be constructed, off Pine Orchard Road. Also directly impacted are residents of District 7.
Should the vote come to the RTM, "I would hope that the elected officials in three districts think long and hard about how it affects the area," said Ingraham.
More than half of the opposition so far is coming in from residents of District 5, but all of the town's seven districts have reported with some portion of constituents against placing Public Works at Tabor (see the group's breakout to the right of this story).
Ingraham also noted people of all political parties are supporting this movement. To date, the data includes 51 percent Republican support, 39 percent Democrat, 64 percent Independent and 18 percent Other. He said people will also be appearing at upcoming town meetings of the Board of Finance and RTM.
"The Board of Finance looks at things at macro level; whether the town can afford it; and not so much whether people care. The RTM is supposed to take care of that," said Ingraham.