Neighbors opposing a proposed 180 Unit 40B development at Park Central heard upsetting news this week. The developer has potential plans to come back with two more 40B developments within the decade. Each development would add another 200 units to the site.
William Depietri of Capital Group Properties addressed the Zoning Board of Appeals this week. On the agenda was a requested continuance for the project. If not requested (or granted) the ZBA would have had to rule on the project by August 11th. Instead the extension was made to December 12, 2014.
At the meeting, ZBA Chair Bartolini continued to press Depietri to consider changing his project from for sale condos to rental units. Bartolini had in past pitched that doing so would allow the town “safe harbor” from future 40B developments. He hoped the town could then control which 40Bs were let in for 20-30 years.
Depietri told the board that he projected the town could control projects for 80-90 years. Meanwhile he has hopes to come back in 2017 with another 200 unit 40B development at Park Central. And he wants the option for even coming back in 2019 with and additional 200 units. He asked why they would consider “boxing themselves out” of that.
The news disturbed neighbors who asserted that traffic issues for even the 180 units haven’t been resolved. They were upset to learn about traffic from another potential 400 units being “piggybacked” onto the proposed egress to the property.
Depeitri justified his plans as the “highest best use” of the property. He explained that commercial office space would cannabalize his office space on Route 9, in an area where most tenants are extracting not expanding. And he blamed neighborhood protests for stopping a deal he worked on 4-5 years ago to build an assisted living facility there. He said now the facility was built elsewhere and there are too many in surrounding towns to make that work.
Later, Blackthorne resident Jim Foster claimed that the neighborhood had been extremely supportive of an assisted living facility. He blamed the market falling out for having halted that project.
Depeitri shut down ZBA questions about the traffic study not including those 400 units. He stated that the board only had the right to look at the project in front of them.
Bartolini continued to float alternatives to persuade Depietri to switch units to rentals. In addition to controlling 40Bs, he was seeking to add less children to the school system. They agreed that statistically rental units have fewer children.
Some of the Chair’s ideas were adding more units now, but making all rentals. Or the board could grant a variance or use permit for development of single and/or multi-family homes.
Depietri asked to sit down with the Town Planner to make sure she was “on board” before the next meeting. He said he had already wasted enough time considering rentals.
Bartolini urged Depietri to consider proposals and promised to talk to Town Planner Jennifer Burney. But he cautioned that Burney wouldn’t be allowed to discuss the current 40B project with him. Discussion would be limited to other projects on the property. Any discussion with her about the current proposal would have to be at a ZBA public hearing.
Depietri also stated that any other projects would have to be done concurrently, since rental would be contingent.
Not that I don’t trust you guys, but, you know, you already shut me down once.
The next ZBA public hearing on the issue will be on Wednesday, August 27.