Sen. Marc Pacheco says rezoning proposal is ‘a 756-acre red flag’

Apr 7, 2021

State Sen. Marc Pacheco came out in opposition to the controversial rezoning proposal brought forth by Quincy-based developers known as the Notos Group. 

In a statement released April 7, Pacheco raised a few concerns with what he described as “the overall plan for this 756-acre parcel.” The land that Article 1 on the Special Town Meeting warrant would rezone is between Glen Charlie Road and Rte. 25, with the northernmost point of the district roughly near the 7-Eleven store. Pacheco represents the 1st Plymouth and Bristol district, which includes Wareham.

In 2019, when the Notos Group first made their interest in Wareham public with a proposal for a thoroughbred horse racing track and a slots parlor, along with a hotel, Pacheco fiercely opposed the project.

“At that time, I voiced my concerns at a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Economic Development and Emerging Technologies regarding legislation that would have authorized mixed gaming facilities like the one originally proposed,” Pacheco said in his recent statement. “I stand by those comments and continue to have concerns about the developer’s intentions for the area.”

Pacheco emphasized that he is not “unilaterally opposed to commercial development as a rule.” Instead, he said that local needs differ from community to community and suggested projects should be evaluated on a “case-by-case basis.”

With regards to the rezoning proposal, Pacheco said he took issue with the Notos Group’s “sudden absence of transparency” about the project they plan to propose.

“The decision to rezone land for commercial development inherently depends on the intended or expected use for that area,” Pacheco said. “In this instance, however, the developer has declined to share any information about their plan and instead claims that they cannot offer any insight until they know the results of the rezoning decision.”

Pacheco said it is crucial for voters to know what the land would likely be used for before they can decide if it should be rezoned.

Pacheco went on to raise the alarm further.

“This is a 756-acre red flag,” he said. “The developer’s apparent refusal to share that information completely undermines the local community’s capacity to issue an informed decision.”

Ultimately, Pacheco said he hoped voters and town officials understand the potential risks that come with rezoning the land.

“I continue to remain concerned about the developer’s intentions as they could potentially impact the full implementation of the Expanded Gaming Act of 2011,” Pacheco said. “I also am extremely concerned about the potential for significant environmental consequences which cannot be adequately assessed without much more information.”