Questions about Article 29:
Isn’t Article 29 too negative?
Article 29, like most preservation efforts, provides proactive, far-thinking guidelines intended to protect a valuable resource now – Concord Center’s unique character – so that it may survive intact into the future.
Won’t Article 29 cause more vacancies, especially during hard times?
Note: Most of the recent vacancies in Concord Center have been associated with the nearly two-year renovation of the old Concord Toy Shop building. Numerous studies have shown that when there is a preponderance of small, personal, unique shops and services in a town center, it leads to a healthier, more robust business environment. This is because nonformula businesses are demonstrably more resilient and adaptive--especially during hard times--than their formula business cousins. West Concord’s thriving center is a testimony to this fact.
What about the Wellfleet court case?
Wellfleet’s FBB was overturned in 2015 in MA land court, as it should have been. It was poorly written and improperly applied. A recent written opinion by a prominent land use attorney comparing the Concord and Wellfleet FBBs has identified key critical differences between the two, based on which it concludes that Concord’s existing and proposed Formula Business Bylaws are in solid legal standing in light of the Wellfleet court decision.
In general, legal reviewers agree that Formula Business Bylaws are constitutionally permissible if they are related to preserving uniqueness in a town, which is considered to be a legitimate planning concern.
What about the unintended consequences of Article 29?
Some people raise the specter of unintended consequences as a reason to vote against this article, but there are also unintended consequences from inaction. With regard to the spread of formula businesses, the Town can recover from one, but not the other. We agree to zoning because we know it’s for the good of our community in the long run. Article 29, if passed at Town Meeting, will take its place in the halls of Concord’s long tradition for proactive, far-sighted planning.