Yesterday I had an informative telephone call from Brian McMillin, the developer of Rosebay, about my prior blog post wherein I stated that he preferred to make design changes to the project within the ZBA comprehensive permit process, and then in response to my outreach to her for a status update on the ad hoc group, an emailed MEMO from Town Planner, Sarah Raposa.
- Brian outlined for me the many project changes that he had made to accommodate the concerns expressed by the town and the ad hoc group with whom he meet over concerns about the size and scale of the design.
- Sarah shared her 7/22/2019 MEMO to the Board of Selectmen about the work of the Rosebay Ad Hoc Design Review Group (copy attached below).
Contrary to my prior understanding, I learned that the ad hoc group had made substantial progress in getting changes made to the design, which are enumerated in the MEMO. I also learned from Brain McMillin that none of my own personal suggestions from having studied the plans this week for how to make it a two story project would work, if it is going to remain a 45 unit project.
This is the conclusion stated in the MEMO:
- Conclusion: . . . The group has worked to openly review the design and make recommendations that allowed the developer to put forward the best version of their proposal, and conversely Newgate has been open to the recommendations suggested and have made improvements to their proposed development.
Finally, I note that our fellow residents who so kindly served on this ad hoc group, Greg Sullivan, Todd Trehubenko, and Jim Brand, have tremendous professional experience in the real estate development and design area, so our town got truly first rate, high quality professional input in this process.
EMAIL EXCHANGE THIS AFTERNOON BETWEEN TOWN PLANNER AND NEIGHBOR:
Email from neighbor = “Our main concern is the scale of the project is massive in relation to the neighborhood.”
Sarah Raposa email back = The Planning Board will be requesting that the ZBA include architectural and design review as part of the the ZBA’s technical review process in order to find ways to reduce the height and bulk of the building.
Sarah Raposa, AICP
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
Always best to get your information from the people who really know things. This is the response email from Sarah Raposa to the abutting neighbors providing the straight story.
Pete did a good job of summarizing the process and addressing your concerns. I think that some of the aspects of the failed Senior Housing Overlay District Bylaw may have trickled into your thinking on Points 4 & 5. The Rosebay units are indeed proposed to be perpetually affordable to seniors who income qualify (Point 4) and the Town will likely exercise its right to request 70% local preference (Point 5). The local preference step is done after a comprehensive permit is issued. We have done this for all of the 40B thus far. Affordability and local preference were issues that came up at special town meeting that we could not control through the zoning but are part of the 40B process.
Please let me know if you have additional questions or concerns.
Sarah Raposa, AICP
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA 02052
I responded this morning to an email from Pound Street neighbors of the proposed Rosebay project to both me and Sarah Raposa, Town Planner, and I thought others might be interested in that response, which follows.
Sarah will know this landscape better than I, but I will share what I know and my current thinking.
The current step calls for the Board of Selectmen to make a submission to Department of Housing and Community Development about the appropriateness of the site for the project, which is an initial determination that DHCD must make for the developer to move forward to the real permitting phase, which is the application for a comprehensive permit before the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Medfield. It is really before the ZBA where the decisions will get made as to all the details of the sorts of land use issues that you are raising as concerns will get addressed and decided. The ZBA will undoubtedly be seeking neighborhood input into what it should decide, and I encourage you to be involved in that process. It is usually an iterative process over many meetings, spread over many months, as the developer will submit detailed plans and the town will hire, at the applicant’s expense, its own peer review engineers and other experts to analyze those plans and to make recommendations to the ZBA on the developer’s submission.
At this stage, DHCD is merely issuing a preliminary yes or no as to whether the proposed project is appropriate enough to the site so as to be allowed to proceed to the comprehensive permit filing process. You may recall that the 200 unit proposed 40B at the intersection of Rte. 27 and Dale Street was denied site approval by DHCD at a similar stage, in what all said at the time was a highly unusual denial. It is my understanding that almost all proposed 40B’s receive DHCD approval to move forward to the comprehensive permit stage.
To date, the Board of Selectmen has generally been in favor of expanding the senior housing at that site, but to date has not weighed in on the current proposal.
However, I can share with you my thoughts on your particular issues (in the red):
- The proposed development is inconsistent with the character of the residential aspects of the neighborhood. I say this because the proposed structure is a single, three- story building on a relatively small site. A three-story building will dwarf the homes on the opposite side of Pound Street and the adjacent homes on the same side of the street. Tilden Village is far more consistent with the character of the neighborhood. — I would prefer to see a two story structure. However, I do understand the benefits of such a building for seniors to be in one large building instead of the many smaller buildings as was done at Tilden.
- Light pollution from the development. — I have learned from my involvement with the Medfield Energy Committee and its study of converting the town to LED streetlights that light from LED’s can be directed, so as to prevent such light pollution into neighbors lands.
- Potential traffic impacts on a street that is already congested in the mornings and afternoons due to traffic associated with the school campus. — Yes, agreed. I do not see a way around the traffic issue. Traffic studies will likely be required, done, and peer reviewed, but more housing units means more traffic.
- The apartments are not affordable in perpetuity. — I thought that they would have continued protection, but if that is not possible, then I would still favor doing the project is we can get a good number of years of such units for seniors.
- Whether Medfield senior residents are likely to qualify for these affordable apartments. — I do not know when one can build local preferences in and when one cannot, but even if we cannot with this particular project, these units will assist a lot of local seniors. I expect the ZBA will build in whatever local preference is allowed.
This project is being planned by Brian McMillin, who formerly worked with Gatehouse when Gatehouse developed The Parc on West Street, and if Rosebay is build, the plans say that it would be managed by Gatehouse. Therefore, I would expect Rosebay to both look and operate much as The Parc has. From my recent inquiries of those who live directly across West Street from the Parc, I have learned that those people have found The Parc to be a problem free neighbor.
From Diane Borrelli of the Medfield Cultural Alliance –
Volunteers Needed for the 2018 Holiday Stroll
The Cultural Alliance of Medfield is seeking volunteers for the 4th annual Holiday Stroll. Friday December 7, between 3:30 and 9:30pm, we’ll need volunteer ‘greeters’ in 2 hour shifts.
Greeting duties include smiling, welcoming visitors, tallying head counts, helping some artists set up/break down booths, and providing general event information to visitors. It’s fun, social, and easy, and you work in pairs, so sign up with a spouse or friend!
Click here for information on time slots, and the link to “Sign Up Genius”. And, visit www.medfieldculture.org and check out the “2018 Holiday Stroll” tab to learn more about this annual Medfield event!
From Diane Borrelli of the MedfieldCulture.org –
2018 Holiday Stroll Medfield
(Medfield MA): The Cultural Alliance of Medfield (CAM) announces its fourth annual Holiday Stroll on Dec. 7, 2018 from 4 – 9 pm. This is a festive family event that takes place at seventeen venues along Main Street (Route 109), North Meadows Road (Route 27), North Street and the Dwight Derby House on Frairy Street. Included are 40 juried artisans at three main locations, an outdoor ice sculpture demonstration, food vendors, carolers, photos with Santa and M.E.M.O.’s outdoor tree lighting ceremony. All events are within walking distance, FREE admission and parking nearby. For more information visit https://medfieldculture.org/holiday-stroll-2018/
The following letter was received by the Board of Selectmen today, wherein Department of Housing and Community Development approved the John Kelly 40B at the corner of Dale Street and Route 27. –