The Wellesley Board of Selectmen has on its docket this Monday night (Aug. 10, 8:30pm) an item titled “135 Great Plain Avenue — Subdivision Recommendation,” referring to a project that has proceeded without much fanfare but that promises to turn at least one neighbor’s world upside down.
The town has received a Definitive Subdivision Application for the property and has a Planning Board meeting slated for Aug. 24 to address it.
Developer Northland Residential is proposing to create a subdivision consisting of 12 lots, according to Wellesley Planning Director Michael Zehner, who says the development stands out for this reason: “This project will be the first to trigger the Natural Resources Protection Development Bylaw, adopted by Town Meeting in 2013. In short, this Bylaw requires the protection of at least 50% of the property in exchange for allowing the reduction of the dimensional requirements for lots. Since the property is in the Single Residence District 20, where the minimum lot size is conventionally 20,000 sq. ft. (approx. ½ acre), the lot sizes may be reduced to a minimum of 10,000 sq. ft. In this instance, the lot sizes range from 20,720 sq. ft. to 10,911 sq. ft. With regard to open space, the plan indicates that 306,700 sq. ft. (approx. 7 acres) will be reserved as open space, permanently protected under a conservation restriction.”
The Townsman reported in February that the property was acquired by Northland for $6.5 million. A Northland spokeswoman at the time was quoted as saying: “We’ve made more generous lots and they’re going to be very nice homes, and they’ll have significant setbacks to any neighbors’ homes.”
Word is that the houses will be of the multimillion dollar variety.
Among the open space plans: a trail proposed on the Southeast corner of the lot that would connect to the Sudbury aqueduct. The Wellesley Natural Resources Commission has been in the loop on this.
We didn’t hear back from Northland last month upon inquiring about the project’s status. But we did hear from a neighbor who is hoping other residents will take a closer look at this development (“I’m writing to ask if you might have any insight as to how a proposed 12-house development on a 13-acre property that is taking advantage of cluster development bylaws… can be proceeding so quietly.”). According to this neighbor, various circumstances relative to other abutters (ill health, a recent move, etc.) have resulted in him being the only one asking many questions to town officials about the project. Among other things, he says, the project will likely result in a public trail being laid out right next to his property line and in full view of his dining room window.
“But the saddest part of all this is that I am effectively placed in a 10,000-sq ft lot area with enormous houses crowded on them, hardly the almost rural 20,000-sq ft lot area that I bought into years ago with no one’s house closer than 100-ft to another… I thought when I saw this house surrounded by tall trees that I was in heaven! No more, apparently.”
The neighbor figures the town would rather have this sort of development than a Chapter 40B project containing hundreds of units.
He adds: “I hope the town removes the’ Tree City’ sign from in front of my house” in light of the developer planning to whack many of the trees on the property.
Also of interest…