Two representatives for the proposed 489 Worcester St. condo development, formerly known as the 8 Cliff Rd. project, shared updates at the Wellesley Planning Board meeting on July 24 (about 25 minutes in to Wellesley Media recording).
According to the production slideshow presented by developer Victor Sheen, one of the major changes is that there will be 48 housing units as opposed to the previously planned 69. Eight will be deemed affordable housing. Another major change to the plan will be the preservation of the 4 and 14 Cliff Rd. single-family homes. Sheen said this will hopefully keep the historic nature of the neighborhood.
As a result of critiques about traffic flow, Sheen and his colleague Peter Holland responded to the working group and Select Board input by relocating the front of the building and drop-off point to the South or Rte. 9 portion of the land. Sheen said that with two full-time access points to the building, this should decrease the amount of traffic which primarily goes through the adjacent Bradford Road. As a result of adding garages with internal-access for the units, Sheen said during the presentation that two-thirds of traffic will be redirected to Rte. 9 and the remaining third will be on Cliff Road.
Despite these changes, some Wellesley residents had remaining concerns about the plan.
Gregg Griner, who lives on Bradford Road, spoke at the Planning Board meeting during the Q&A forum portion. Griner pointed out his personal doubts about the traffic assessment provided during the meeting, explaining that many people—including himself—do not take the commuter rail train because it is not conducive to their work hours. Griner said that redirecting an increased amount of traffic to a Rte. 9 entrance which only allows for driving west, is a safety concern because of more speeding off of Cliff Road.
Other concerns brought up by the Planning Board and residents, was how much the construction and chemicals from the build-out will disrupt the nearby wetlands, the blasting of the rocks on the cliff, and how the design of the new garage car lot and aesthetics of the building will look from Rte. 9.
To address those concerns, Sheen said that the development team has added a Cliff Road landscape buffer with a space of open land between the building and wetlands. The proposed building site will also be 170 feet back from Cliff Road.
The town has emphasized that the development plan is in the preliminary stages, and encouraged residents to submit questions and suggestions or concerns by email, and to subscribe to the 489 Worcester St News Flash for emailed updates on the development project.
The Historic District Commission also touched on the project about 90 minutes into its Aug. 1 meeting.