Milton is a curious place.
Prospective companies are not off base if Milton is considered a tough town in which to do business. Proposals that might change any part of the town’s structural or cultural landscape are often met with opposition, typically from residents.
The latest commercial idea to be met with concern, or maybe it is fear of change, is a plan for a new funeral home by a company not currently located in Milton.
The John J. O’Connor & Son Funeral Home in Dorchester wants to add a second location in Milton at the corner of Randolph Avenue and Reedsdale Road. The house, adjoining garage, and land on which the gray clapboard multi-story home sits, are across from St. Elizabeth Parish.
Fears of increased traffic and loss of privacy were cited as reasons why the O’Connor proposal is problematic. Not all are opposed; one person at the Dec. 10 Planning Board hearing attended remotely by dozens of other residents spoke supportively of the O’Connor plan.
Traffic will always be a problem in Milton now and in the future. Unless Milton erects border gates all around its boundaries, traffic, especially cut-through traffic by vehicles headed elsewhere, will continue to increase as new drivers from many communities take to the road.
Milton is a shortcut into Boston off the clogged highway. Its proximity to Boston and Cambridge remains a key selling point for home buyers.
An open mind is needed to see what Milton could become. It is likely that some residents want the town to remain the way it is now. It is also likely that some residents will say of Milton that what you see is what you get. What if it could be different, with more businesses and housing opportunities for renters and homeowners?
For East Milton residents and business owners, especially, a 7 p.m. Planning Board/East Milton Working Group will be held remotely tonight, (Dec. 17). On the agenda, found on the town’s website at townofmilton.org, is posted “East Milton Square Vision Statement.” The meeting dovetails with ongoing work to remake traffic in the Square.
Fear of what lies ahead for East Milton and Milton as a whole need not dissuade the town from evolving into its updated self. The town’s inability to meet the state’s affordable housing mandates of 10 percent instead of its current 5 percent has come home to roost.
The courts may solve some backlash to multi-residential expansion, as the 711 Randolph Ave. proposal shows. The other 40B proposals at 648 Canton Ave., 16 Amor Road, 936 Brush Hill Road, 485 Blue Hills Parkway, 582 Blue Hill Ave. and 4 Franklin St. in East Milton are wending their way through Board of Appeals hearings.
Fear not the future and instead, guide it to shape it into what Milton could become.
– Lisa D. Connell