Overall, it was another strong showing for the opponents of both 40B projects. Both developers were sent back to the drawing board to reconfigure their projects to meet town standards and will need to extend the applications since they will not have furnished enough critical information within the 6 month timetable. All handouts from the meeting have been added to the website.
The Lodge on Shattuck Road
The ZBA asked the Community Opportunities Group to review the plans for the The Lodge to assist them in evaluating the adequacy of outdoor recreation areas and facilities for residents of the development. Judi Barrett submitted a full report of her findings (which is now online) and presented her analysis at the meeting. The report states that the proposed recreational space is completely inadequate to support healthy living by residents of all ages. Even MassHousing commented on the shortage of greenspace on this site. The developers met with this committee and so far have been unable to reach a solution. The developers have been unwilling to reduce the number of buildings as it will impact the economics of the project, and do not want to reduce parking although they claim there will be limited number of cars as this is a “green” community. This density issue is not going away, and members of the ZBA are not at all convinced that the office park is an appropriate site for a residential development.
There are conservation issues on this site as well. Their report can be found online as well.
Land Use Conflicts – Boston Properties and the Hanover Company have come to some undisclosed agreement regarding the sale of property within the office park which will facilitate this development. Although they will not disclose the details of this arrangement, the attorneys are asking for waivers to the rules regarding the impacts on the surrounding industrial properties and conditions to cure the non-abutting non-conformity. Our Town Counsel was in attendance and did respond to questions posed on
the pending SJC Lunenburg case. The ZBA will not give waivers for an arrangement that has not been clearly defined. This portion of the discussion will be continued at a later date.
Other issues/concerns - Still unresolved are the sewage/drainage and stormwater
management issues. More details are required from the peer review before further
evaluation can be completed.
AA@RG Meeting Developments
As expected, there are numerous conservation issues pertaining to this site. The
Conservation Commission’s comments and the peer review can be found online. An area
which the developers had previously called a “non-jurisdictional irrigation pond” has now been clearly marked and redelineated as a jurisdictional wetland, which carries significant conservation restrictions. Mr. Cormier is appealing the commissions’ resource determination, and a decision from the Department of Environmental Protection should be rendered shortly.
ZBA Chairman Anderson made it clear that he is adamant about protecting our water resources. There is an area within the current build plan that is in the Watershed Protection Overlay District Zone. These buildings (maybe 50 townhouses) will need to be eliminated. As a result of these findings, the development plans will need to be completely revised.
Still at issue is the “Southern Pond” and its jurisdictional status (I do not have any visual aides that delineate this area). The conservation commission stands firm that this feature is an important and protectable resource area. More information is required before the commission makes its final determination. Mr. Anderson stated that he may be willing
to sacrifice the pond, but it is unclear whether Mr. Anderson has the authority to make a decison of this nature.
Also, the developers have been asked for more information on the development details so that the commission can make further recommendations. The developer has not been forthcoming with this and the ZBA is getting extremely frustrated.
In December, Mark Johnson, the attorney for Mr. Cormier stated to the ZBA that due to economic considerations, the minimum number of rental units that would be acceptable would be 240. He has never submitted the financial documentation to back up that figure. We will be paying particular attention to the new number of units that are proposed as well as the unit blend.
As you can see, many of your neighbors have worked hard in bringing these very legitimate issues to light. They have tirelessly attended both conservation and ZBA meetings and we
are so thankful for their help. The conservation and density issues can reduce the scope of the project to the point where it becomes uneconomic for the developers to proceed. We will need your support at the next ZBA meeting, scheduled for 4/10/12. We expect a number of DEP decisions at this meeting.