The developer of two formerly 40B proposals at Delanson Circle (near the Wellesley Square commuter rail station) and Weston Road (near the community gardens) has scaled back those plans significantly through negotiations with the town and neighbors, and the Board of Selectmen this week approved an agreement to go forward with the projects.
Because Victor Sheen‘s projects are no longer classified as 40Bs, however, a more complex set of additional approvals will be required, including at the Special Town Meeting in May, plus the Design Review Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals. 40B projects give developers leeway about adhering to town zoning bylaws in exchange for a certain amount of relatively affordable units, and once they get through the initial gauntlet of approvals, a comprehensive permit smooths the development process. Developers pounced on Wellesley in recent years to exploit the 40B rules because the town lacked a state-required percentage of affordable units — something Wellesley has tried to address via a housing production plan.
The Delanson Circle project, dubbed Wellesley Crossing, now also includes parts of adjacent Hollis Street in the wake of property purchases there. Overall, this project that first came across the town’s radar in 2017 has shrunk from a proposed 95 units to 35 with no more than 75 bedrooms on Delanson, plus 4 affordable condo units at 12-18 Hollis Street. The original plans would have resulted in 155 bedrooms.
The main Wellesley Crossing complex will consist of 3 stories, plus underground garage. The max height will be 36 feet, matching the residential limit.
The 148 Weston Road project has shrunk from an initial 55-unit 40B project to a non-40B project with 25 condos. The Wellesley Park developer has also reached a life estate agreement to buy adjacent 140 Weston Road, which will become part of the project (for 2 affordable units) once the current owner vacates the home. Like the Delanson Circle project, Wellesley Park will be 3 stories, with an underground garage.
You can view the Wellesley Board of Selectmen’s discussion on the development agreements in this Wellesley Public Media recording, starting at about the 30-minute mark.