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Joyce Endee

Wakefield Master Plan Survey results show divided opinions

Town opinion split on most things, except new rec center

October 14, 2010
WAKEFIELD — The Wakefield planning board released more results from its Master Plan survey last week.

The planning board received 281 responses between June and July. Copies of the survey were posted in various locations all over town. The results will be used in this year's Master Plan update.

Residents were almost perfectly split when asked if land should be set aside for an industrial park. One hundred-sixteen residents said "yes" but 117 said "no" and 33 had no opinion.

Residents offered another split opinion when asked if there are parts of Route 16 that they'd like to see protected as scenic areas. Ninety-nine people answered "yes," 82 said "no" and 85 had no answer. Of the people who agreed that parts of Route 16 should be protected, 43 specified the "top of the hill." The second most popular choice was "all of it" with 31.

Residents were asked several questions about bringing new businesses to town — and the results seem lukewarm. Only 88 people said Wakefield should solicit new businesses while 128 said the town should limit and allow only certain businesses. One hundred and twenty people said the town shouldn't go out of its way to attract new businesses, but it shouldn't hinder growth. Twelve said the town shouldn't allow any business growth.

But when asked what elected officials should promote, business was the most popular response with 122 votes. Eighty-eight residents thought officials should promote tourism and 74 said officials should promote agriculture.

Conservation was another topic that divided the town. When asked if residents would favor using tax dollars to buy conservation land, easements, and development rights, 114 said "yes" and 106 said "no." Forty-six had no answer.

However, the idea of building a Recreation Center was appealing to a clear majority. One hundred seventy-three residents said they want a rec center and only 70 said they don't.

When asked if residents trust town officials and feel comfortable attending a town meeting, 140 replied "yes" and 76 said "no." But when residents were asked if they felt they would be treated fairly, a few more said "no." One hundred seventeen felt they would be heard and treated fairly while 81 did not.

The planning board released the first batch of results back in August. A key finding was most residents are satisfied with Wakefield's municipal services and don't want to pay more in taxes to improve them.

Martin Lord Osman
Salmon Press
Martin Lord & Osman
Garnett HIll
Varney Smith
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