As a resident of Gray for over 20 years, I have witnessed the addition of several businesses as well as housing developments, resulting in steady economic growth in the area. At this time, several changes are under consideration by a small number of people. These changes will have great impact on the town. Several areas throughout Gray are being reviewed for zoning changes along Route 26, possibly creating additional commercial zones, including land adjacent to MSAD 15 middle and high schools. Any changes made near these schools should not be done in haste.

While change is inevitable and area growth should be encouraged, it would be wise to consider long-range development planning. Limited information gathered at this point reflects that the current re-zoning scenario under consideration will draw only a particular type of business (i.e. gas stations, convenience stores) to areas close to these schools. Care needs to be taken to restrict the types of businesses (if any) within walking distance to areas heavily populated and accessed by students. The commercially zoned areas of the village and Route 100 strip mall have several rental vacancies and commercially zoned real estate for sale. These areas are much more primed for commercial development compared to the heavily residential area near the schools. At a minimum, any changes under consideration that will have a significant impact on the welfare and safety of the children of MSAD 15 must be presented in a referendum. The voices of the residents of Gray must be heard.

Lisa Johnson