Another Cost of SMOC Monday, July 4, 2005
Raj JHaveri, Framingham Metrowest Daily News
With all due respect, your reportage about SMOC (South Middlesex Opportunity Council) purchasing property at 517 Winter St. for a drug treatment facility doesn't reveal the true costs involved.

I emigrated from India, worked hard to establish a small business, and bought a home in Framingham.  I invested my savings in a second house;  its rent is an important part of my income, now that age has forced my retirement.  This house is near 517 Winter St., and my tenant has expressed fear that the neighborhood will become unsafe.  My realtor told me that this house, a major part of my children's legacy, is now significantly lower in value because of such buyer fears -- whether justified or not.  There are 31 houses in similar proximity of 517 Winter St., which are similarly devalued.  This totals many hundreds of thousands of dollars, which are part of the true costs associated with SMOC's facilty.

I was astonished to learn of the Dover Amendment, which allows SMOC to ignore objections of Framingham residents, even when they place facilities in inappropriate locations.  It seems most unfair for the state to help 15 families with housing at 517 Winter St. by causing 31 families to suffer, without allowing them any say in the matter.  This isn't the vision of American democracy that brought me to this great country.

What is even sadder is that, if SMOC's managers had exercised the power given them by the state in a humane and judicious manner, this injustice could have been avoided.

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