The Residences at Thoreau: Affordability at a high price? 

April 13, 2024

On March 19, I participated in the Zoning Board’s walkthrough of the proposed Residences at Thoreau, a development project currently moving through the permitting process as a “40B project.” I am disheartened by what I learned.

The vast expanse of forested land between the Powder Mill Woods conservation area and the Thoreau Club faces a severe threat. The development’s plan to replace this cherished ecosystem with 13 acres of parking lots and housing directly contradicts Concord’s environmental goals as described in “Envision Concord,” the long-range plan commissioned by the Concord Select Board in 2016. These goals include maintaining and increasing conservation land, protecting our vital water bodies and habitats, and ensuring community awareness and stewardship of these irreplaceable resources. 

This project, as proposed, would obliterate hundreds of mature trees, disrupt groundwater management, and endanger the ecological health of surrounding conservation and private land. It requires building a long driveway through a natural gully, necessitating its complete infill and subsequent fortification with retaining walls. The added vehicle burden would also exacerbate traffic congestion along Main Street towards Route 2. These concerns represent just a fraction of the issues highlighting the project’s misalignment with our community’s commitment to preserving our natural splendor. 

While I advocate for increasing affordable housing in Concord, I also firmly believe that it should not come at the expense of our environmental commitments. The availability of land from MCI-Concord presents a valuable opportunity for development that aligns with our town’s goals, offering a path that minimizes environmental impact.  

In light of Concord’s dedication to conservation and natural resource protection, I call upon the Zoning Board and fellow residents to rigorously scrutinize the Residences’ permit application. We must explore all possible measures to mitigate its environmental impact or reconsider its suitability altogether. 

John Palusci 

Border Road