Here’s the latest on Wellesley 40B activity…
The envelope please…
Wellesley’s Board of Selectmen, Planing Board and Housing Development Corp., liked both consulting teams that bid to work on the town’s housing production plan, but unanimously wound up choosing the team of Barrett Planning LLC & JM Goldson community preservation + planning (Wellesley Public Media recorded the interview session if you’re interested in viewing).
Both teams had experience with other communities’ (Brookline, Bedford, etc.) housing production plans and put forth creative ways to engage with the Wellesley community during the process of assembling a plan designed to put the town more in control of its destiny on the affordable and other housing fronts. Judi Barrett, from the winning team, said during her interview that she always advises clients to seek advice from “3 people they love and 3 they cannot stand,” so be forewarned that you might fall into one of those categories if you wind up getting such a personal invitation for input from the town…
The winning bid, for $35K, was revealed in a semi-dramatic envelope opening (at about the 32-minute mark of video) that Planning chief Michael Zehner pulled off without one of those Oscar-like snafus. Town officials made their selection, though noted that they still needed to do some reference checking, etc., before finalizing their decision.
Assuming that all goes well, next up will be looking over a first draft of the plan, holding a public open house later this month, nailing down a final draft in January and then getting the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen to give the plan their final blessing in February or March. Once the plan is in place it would help set Wellesley on a course of boosting its affordable housing inventory on a regular basis that would satisfy state rules and help fend off 40B proposals that the town and residents find hostile.
Weston Road’s 40B proposal
The Planning Board and Board of Selectmen this past week publicly discussed the BoS’s draft letter of response to a local developer’s site eligibility application to build a 55-unit housing complex, with 11 of the rental units to be deemed affordable, at 148 Weston Rd. This 40B project, dubbed Wellesley Park, would be located in between a couple of homes in the North 40 area of town.
But the town has plenty of concerns about this project, too, with traffic impact being perhaps the largest, both in terms of how a project of this density could clog up Weston Road and neighboring streets. The town also has raised concerns about privacy infringement on neighbors, whose yards the project would bump right up against and hover over, and is disappointed by the lack of a public storm water plan.
A handful of neighbors spoke at the Planning Board meeting, airing their issues with the project (Wellesley Public Media recorded the meeting). One referred to the project as being “preposterous” and akin to plopping an aircraft carrier into the middle of Sturbridge Village. The project shows no concern for the people who live near it, he said, and would essentially trap neighbors in a traffic prison.
The Board of Selectmen will continue its review of the letter to MassHousing (a quasi-public outfit that oversees and funds affordable housing projects) at 8:35 pm on Monday, Nov. 27 at Town Hall. Public comments are welcome, but residents are encouraged to submit comments in advance of the meeting to [email protected]