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Thursday, October 12, 2006

Digital site developer: "It's all about the money"

MAYNARD

Digital site developer John Wolters said Maynard officials have put his project in jeopardy with their last-minute decision to pull it off the table at Monday's Town Meeting.

Selectmen said more work needs to be done on the plan for the complex of stores, residences, and offices before it is ready to go before the voters.

Wolters, however, said the real reason is that officials want him to sweeten his deal with the town.

''This is all about the money,'' said Wolters, who added that Tuesday's action took him by surprise. ''None of the selectmen have called me to tell me what went wrong.''

Wolters said he agreed to pay for roadway improvements around the site and make a one-time $1 million payment to the town that could go toward a new public safety building or other public works. He estimated that the project would generate $630,000 in annual property taxes.

''I have gone above and beyond what is expected of any other developer in town,'' he said.

The plan calls for a supermarket and other shops; restaurants; housing; offices; and a town green on the 58 acres off Route 27 that once was headquarters for Digital Equipment Corp.

Selectman chairwoman Sally Bubier said that lack of time ''for proper due diligence'' forced her board to take the action.

''There is no way that the Board of Selectmen could have brought forward the proposal with the ambiguities it had on Tuesday night,'' said Bubier. ''We were given information on Tuesday morning, which gave us three days to pull things together for Town Meeting. It was unfair to tie our hands like that.''

-- Melissa Beecher

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