Emily Guerin effectively captures neighbors’ concerns over the train maintenance facility planned for Brunswick (“Frustrated neighbors take train complaints to rail authority board,” May 25, 2011). No one buys a home near railroad tracks without expecting train traffic, and most are happy to see train service in Brunswick. But the proposed 40,000-square-foot building is so out of line with existing use for the proposed lot that it required a zoning variance. Zoning exists to regulate development and help home investors plan for the future. In granting a variance to permit a building of double the permissible size, the Zoning Board of Appeals did not follow its own rules and procedures. As a result, Brunswick taxpayers were woefully shortchanged.
I hope the ZBA will reconsider its process, and that the town will commit itself to working with those Brunswick neighbors who will be negatively impacted by the nuisance of a 24/7 railroad garage operating in a residential neighborhood. An alternative site nearby might cost Amtrak more, but fair is fair. We all welcome the responsible development of Brunswick, but the rules must be applied equitably for all involved, including the taxpayers whom the zoning regulations were made to protect. Many a local business would love to enjoy the preference that seems to have been granted to this project.