Jul 27, 2014

How much will it REALLY cost to build 6 units of housing on previous BUSA FARM?

In a recent meeting with LexHab, residents that attended the meeting were informed that the estimated cost for building 6 units of housing at the previous Busa Farm property would be $1.2M.

It should be noted that the 6 units brought up at the meeting by the LexHab committee was an unapproved change from the 4 units that were approved at a previous selectman meeting.  During the meeting, several residents asked about the status and costs of several known potential issues that LexHab was to address prior to development. These issues known by long time Lexington residents who have lived on that land and around that land all their lives.  These issues can be major issues, potentially impacting the entire neighborhood and ballooning the cost of development on this land to an unknown amount.   However, when asked issues, such as (1) a known trouble drainage pipe that is over 100 years old running under the property, (2) the unique and natural water drainage pattern of the neighborhood draining into the farm property, and (3) the issue of current traffic concerns, these “unknowns” were dismissed by the LexHab committee for later discussion and not included in the estimated cost of building.  Despite several residents leaving their contact information and being told that these answers would be forthcoming, to-date we have not heard anything and LexHab has ignored its commitments. LexHab is now in process of requesting approval to begin based on the limited information they have.  As we all know these costs will need to be addressed sooner or later, whether we plan for them or become surprised by them. 

Lexington, like all towns and municipalities, has an obligation to be more prudent and fiscally responsible when undertaking a new project.  It is imperative for the town and its residents to work together to understand what the true cost and potential impact of any project is before beginning it, not after.  Time and time again we see project overruns due to lack of planning, allowing contractors to say “Let’s not worry about the unknowns yet, or that the issues are not real”.  Statements like these that go unchallenged result in Towns funding projects like Newton North High School where poor planning of the environmental factors caused that project to run 5x the initial approved cost. We need to demand better planning and we deserve to know the true costs of any funded project now, and not after the construction begin.

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