The plan changed when the town decided it didn’t want a family-oriented development there that would flood a then-stressed school system and overburden town services. It was a difficult time, Councilor Tom Dolan said, but a decision was made to make Nevins an age-restricted development with some preserved open space and walking trails.
In order to make this happen and to appease developer Elmer Pease, voters approved spending $2.9 million to support making Nevins smaller, with open space and for older citizens. Pease had said he would lose money by making the changes.
“We held a special meeting,” Dolan said. “Ninety-five percent of the residents said yes. It was so well received.”
Pease is no longer associated with the project.
Dolan worried what voters would think now about changing the plan after they spent all that money years ago.
“We are wrestling with that now,” he said. “And what about all the people living at the Nevins who ponied up to the ballot box? This involved the community to a large extent. The community paid for a big portion of that community.”
Jonathan Mitchell moved into the Nevins neighborhood when it was only half complete. He said homeowners have heard different stories about the trail and what would happen.
“Many residents were told there would not be a walking trail,” he said. “Others thought it would be a private trail.”
Many also said homes were built on the land in areas that are located too close to trails and easement borders.
“The builder did what he wanted to do,’ resident Oliver Ducharme said. “He put houses wherever he wanted to.”
That put the trail too close to some homes, residents said.
Councilors will continue discussion on the Nevins trail situation and consult with the town attorney.
“We need to figure out what the process looks like,” Farrell said. “We just need a little more time so we do it right.”