At the Select Board meeting on March 1, Selectman Steve DeCourcey made a slide presentation on the Mugar/Thorndike Place Comprehensive Permit and the board subsequently voted 5-0 to send additional comments to the Zoning Board of Appeals, following up on the Select Board letter of February 22. The new comments call into question the validity of the project’s initial approval by MassHousing.
The current scheme, presented to the ZBA by Oaktree Development on February 16, eliminates the townhouses along Dorothy Road, consolidating the entire project of 172 rental units into one large structure fronting immediately on Dorothy. Removal of the townhouses takes away the only design element that was reasonably compatible with the style and scale of the neighborhood. It also takes away any opportunities for home ownership, leaving only rental units in the remaining four-story structure.
The original 2015 “Project Eligibility Approval” by MassHousing based its findings on the project having a mix of rental and ownership opportunities, and that “the proposed townhouse units on Dorothy Road were designed as a transitional zone between the duplex and single family homes of the existing residential neighborhood to the North and East of the project and the larger proposed apartment building to the South.” Both of these key elements have now been removed. The Select Board suggests that without the townhouses the original Eligibility Approval could not have been granted. The Board has urged the ZBA to request that the Applicant submit a new site approval application for review by MassHousing before any further action is taken on the current proposal.
State Senator Cindy Friedman has also sent a letter to the ZBA reinforcing her opposition to the proposed Thorndike Place project.
Next ZBA Hearing on Thursday, March 11 at 7:30 pm.
To register for the hearing via Zoom, visit the ZBA agenda page on the Town website. Links to all the site plans, reports and correspondence received about this project can be found on the ZBA Thorndike Place page. Please review these informative documents and be sure to send your own comments and concerns about this proposed project to the Zoning Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.