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Special Town Meeting Voters Approve Re-Zoning For Genesis Project

Jun 30, 2017 01:28PM ● By Andrew Sylvia

After just a few minutes, Dracut concluded its second Town Meeting of June.

In a voice vote, Special Town Meeting voters approved a rezoning request for a new Genesis Healthcare facility on 55 Loon Road.

The 3.7-acre piece of land had enough space to house the facility, but not the parking lot for the facility proposed on a 1.7 acre portion of the property that was zoned residentially until Wednesday night’s vote.

While the vote was not unanimous, Dracut Town Moderator George Malliaros  that at least two-thirds of the over 600 voters in attendance approved the measure, with no motion for a counted tally made prior to the meeting’s adjournment.

The vote followed a brief presentation by Dracut Town Manager Jim Duggan citing the benefits the proposed facility would hold for the town.

“I was thrilled with the amount of people in attendance that came out and recognized the value of this project,” said Duggan.

Members of the New England Regional Council of Carpenters (NERCC) tried to sway opinion against the initiative, citing what they saw as unethical business practices proposed in the construction of the facility and concerns over unethical business practices in other recent construction projects that received permits from the town.

Organizers from the NERCC reached out to their 70 members living in Dracut to oppose the rezoning request, noting the a decision by Genesis earlier this yeawr not to build the facility on a site in Lowell.

“We weren’t against the project, we were just hoping the town would use some more due diligence,” said NERCC organizer Adam DiGiovanni. “Why did Lowell not want this project and why was Dracut so quick to snatch it up?”

Duggan dismissed the NERCC claims as self-serving and misdirected, citing that the hiring practices of Genesis in the construction of this project were not within the purview of the town’s authority.

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