Name, age, address
Nicholas Filla, 79, 900 Old Sandwich Road
Master in Urban Planning, University of Pennsylvania
Master of Architecture, University of Pennsylvania
Bachelor of Architecture, The Cooper Union
Independent, Plymouth Architects
Board Member: Plymouth Public Library Corporation
Administrator: Plymouth Antiquarian Society
Member: Rotary Club of Plymouth
Former junior basketball, hockey and soccer coach
Former Chairman, Plymouth Planning Board, member for 10 years
Design Review Board
Urban Landscape Committee
Downtown Master Plan Committee
Obery Street Development Committee
Why are you looking for this office?
As a professional town planner and architect I have always been concerned about the quality and pace of development here in Plymouth. The zoning bylaw has only been in effect for 50 years, barely 13% of the time Plymouth has existed. Currently, the quality and pace of development are below standard. I see an overabundance of poor multi-family housing, sprawling, messy commercial buildings, and an insensitivity to our natural environment, especially the single-source aquifer. My qualifications and professional expertise will greatly assist the Planning Board and our city in addressing these issues.
The state requires MBTA communities, such as Plymouth, to establish a zoning ordinance or by-law that provides at least one district in which high-density multifamily housing is permitted as of right or risk losing some funding. What is your position on this? What should the Planning Council do about this?
Currently, the Cordage Park land has been designated as the Cordage Park Smart Growth District, Section 205-74 of our Zoning Bylaw. Among the District’s objectives are: “To provide a diverse housing stock at varying costs within walking distance of the North Plymouth Village service area and Plymouth Commuter Rail Station, including affordable housing and in housing types that meet the needs of the city’s population. The maximum allowable density for multi-family units in this neighborhood is 20 units per acre. I believe we have met the state requirements in this smart growth district.
What, if anything, should the Planning Board do to expand commercial development to reduce the tax burden on residents?
Unfortunately, the Internet with its online purchases has had a huge impact on physical purchases. Prospects for expanding commercial uses appear doubtful. You could rezone the whole city to commercial zoning and nothing would happen. The commercial vacancy rate in Plymouth is increasing for both retail and office space. Benny’s is gone, as are Rite Aide Pharmacy, Shaw Supermarket, Joanne’s Fabric, Ocean State Job Lot and many others. Colony Place has seven vacant storefronts, Cranberry Crescent has several unused commercial blocks. A more balanced planning approach is needed. For example, our city is a regional hub and destination for medical services, including Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital and several auxiliary medical office buildings. Our city also offers nursing and rehabilitation facilities at several locations across the city. Expanding these facilities would greatly benefit our city with needed revenue and additional access to health care.
Do you support the creation of an equestrian complex of any kind in Plymouth? Please explain your position.
Absolutely not! Not because of the location, not because of the infrastructure and not because of the natural environment. Location: the proposed location for the track is far from the existing interchange. Worse still, access to the track would pass through our middle school with children, our skating rink with children, our police station which requires uninterrupted vehicular access, two shopping centers and an intense multi-family housing complex. This is a dangerous situation! Infrastructure: the existing interchange (exit 13) is already at its maximum capacity. Needless to say, the interchange should be redesigned and significantly enlarged. What a mess! Natural Environment: The proposed race track is an environmental disaster. It would be located just above our single-source aquafer and adjacent to the Eel River watershed. In the watershed area is a fish hatchery, which absolutely needs a supply of uncontaminated fresh water. Absolutely not! to all of the above.
What other planning issue do you think is important to Plymouth and how would they address it in this office?
I believe we have overlooked the beauty and strength of our natural resources in terms of everyday life here in Plymouth. Sometimes we can just go down to the beach and walk along the sand and admire the horizon. Or, we can cycle through the state forest and meander along its cycle paths. Or, we can stroll along our downtown area and shop or dine or walk our dog. The natural beauty of our city is something we should cherish but, more importantly, enjoy every day. The ‘alfresco dining’ program could, with advice from the Planning Council, assist in the design of additional lighting, graphics and street furniture to enhance this experience.