The Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board will host a joint meeting on Monday, October 30th at 7:45 pm in the Juliani Room at Town Hall to discuss developer Northland Residental’s 135 Great Plain Avenue 40B Site Eligibility proposal. This 12-acre site is not far from the Recycling & Disposal Facility entrance on Rte. 135.
Here’s a draft of the town’s response letter to the proposal. The developer originally planned to build big single-family homes on the site, but changed its tune over the summer to pursue approval for a 44-unit condo complex aimed at empty nesters and including 25% of units for those with moderate incomes.
Public comment will be welcomed at the meeting.
The Wellesley Board of Selectmen has called the proposed 90-unit 40B residential housing unit for Delanson Circle “too intense” for the less-than-1.5-acre plot on which it would stand across from the Tailby parking lot used by commuter rail customers. The town has used such language in arguing against a 40B proposal at 680 Worcester St. as well.
The proposed “Wellesley Crossing” project for Delanson Circle, an offshoot of Linden Street, has actually been downsized from 95 to 90 units, but that’s still too much according to the BoS letter, which you can read in its entirety below. The developers, who revised their project application last month, plan to offer 18 affordable units as part of the 5-story complex, which they say will have a common courtyard and community room. Their pitch is that the project would be attractive to those using public transportation given its proximity to the Wellesley Square train station.
(See also: Wellesley’s Affordable Housing Challenge video)
In its letter to MassHousing, the quasi-public outfit that the developers are making their bid to, the Wellesley BoS cites numerous concerns. These include the project’s size being disproportionate to surrounding structures, pedestrian safety issues, stormwater management issues and parking/traffic worries. The town would also like to see more of the units being affordable.
Wellesley has been scrambling to get a Housing Production Plan in place to help convince the state that it is indeed taking serious steps to get at least 10% of the town’s housing stock to an affordable level. That’s the threshold required for the town to be able to fend off what it deems as hostile 40B projects that allow developers to avoid abiding by the usual zoning rules. The town has been emphasizing in its formal comments about proposed 40B plans its past and current efforts to encourage sensible development of affordable housing in Wellesley.
Fresh off of last week’s Wellesley School Committee meeting during which town assistant executive director Meghan Jop dove deep into the complicated territory of how 40B and other housing development could affect elementary school enrollment (see Wellesley Public Media video starting at about the 48-minute mark), lots more 40B discussion is slated for town meetings this week.
*On Monday night, the Board of Selectman at town hall plans to discuss the latest on the proposed Delanson Circle 40B project (a site eligibility modified plan review). The original plan called for 95 units, but that number been shaved to 90. The meeting starts at 7pm.
*The Planning Board also meets Monday at town hall (and there is mention of possibly meeting jointly with the Board of Selectmen), and among its agenda items are the Delanson Circle proposal, as well as the 135 Great Plain Ave. and 148 Weston Road 40B site eligibility apps. The Board also plans to hit on a potential 40B proposal at 136 Worcester St. (possibly 44 units), and discuss general efforts to address affordable and diverse housing in town. The meeting starts at 6:30pm.
*Finally, we’re really hoping that some of the 40B developers will boldly put together a Wellesley Spelling Bee team called the 40Bees.
The Massachusetts Coalition to Prevent Gun Violence will present its 3rd Annual Peace MVP Award on Thursday, November 2 at 7pm to Attorney General Maura Healey at Temple Beth Elohim in Wellesley. AG Healey will be recognized for her courageous work in keeping assault weapons off Massachusetts streets.
Previous recipients of the award are former Wellesley Police Chief Terrence M. Cunningham in 2016 for his work with the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police and the State Legislature to add suitability as a criteria to obtain a Massachusetts Firearms Identification (FID) card; and House Speaker Robert DeLeo in 2015 for his leadership in passing comprehensive gun reform.
The evening will also feature veteran journalist and humanitarian Rev. Liz Walker speaking about the Cory Johnson Center for Post-Traumatic Healing, which she founded.