Opinion: New hospital plan still raises concerns for neighbors

Nov 1, 2022

To the editor:

Rhino Capital has proposed a new plan for its Industrial Warehouse and Distribution Center at the old Lakeville Hospital site.  This new plan would divide the 400,000 square foot building into two smaller buildings but they will still generate approximately 682 automobile and truck trips per day, and still intend to offer 24 hour per day operation, throughout the year.

Our neighbors don’t discredit the company's good intentions or their genuine efforts to come up with a viable plan that could be a solution to the hospital's redevelopment problem.  They present a compelling plan, but the issue is, at what cost?

The noise, noxious fumes and chemicals that come with a warehouse trucking facility will be difficult for residents living nearby.  Will close administration of conditions and thoughtful safeguards for abutters help reduce those harms? We don’t know. Agencies like Noise Free America and Community Environmental Defense Services recommend that warehouse and distribution facilities be located a minimum of 600 to 1000 feet from any residential district. With the new plan, some properties along Rush Pond road will only be 160 feet away from the warehouse buildings!

It may appear to be a good plan but planned for the wrong place. The increase of traffic that this project will infuse into our heavily traveled roads along Route 79 and Route 105 will get more unmanageable with time. Quick access to route 495 ramps must have appealed to developers, but the traffic pattern around those access ramps could make the plan ill advised.  Large slow moving vehicles, like vans, busses and multiple tractor trailers, entering and exiting the area, could stall traffic at every turn.  At the least it will be frustrating, causing people to avoid the area. At its worst it will be dangerous for pedestrians and motorist.

This is an important decision for our town. It will affect anyone who uses roads or businesses in the north Lakeville area, the historic Main Street of Middleboro, even those who drive past on 495 as they travel in weekend traffic to Cape Cod. Concerned townspeople have worked hard to regain the opportunity for Lakeville residents to voice their opinions about this issue using their town meeting vote.  The vote will be held at a Lakeville Town Meeting, on November 14, at Apponequet High School at 6:30 pm.   Please carefully consider the long term impacts this important decision will have on our town.  Please come to the meeting and vote no on Article 15!

Janet Scott, Lakeville