Announcements + FAQ

Applicant files Appeal of Site Plan Decision

The Applicant filed an Appeal of the Planning Board’s Decision to Deny the Site Plan Application on May 21, 2018.

 

Planning Board Denies Plan for 100 Units of Age-Restricted Luxury Housing

On May 2, our Planning Board filed its formal written decision to deny the Site Plan Application for 700, 750 & 800 Mass. Avenue.

The Planning Board’s 21-page decision is available on the town web site at www.boxborough-ma.gov/planning-board under “Current Projects/Applications” or can be found here.  The four Planning Board members who voted unanimously to deny came to their decision carefully, after 16 months of public hearings. (A fifth member of the board, an abutter, recused herself from participation.) Throughout the public hearing process, which was attended by a growing number of residents opposed to the size and density of the project, the Planning Board tried to reach a compromise with the applicants. Despite numerous requests from the Board—to consider various changes in size, density, and design—the applicants refused to modify the project.

The Planning Board’s May 2 decision cites nine criteria, which are documented in Section 8007 of the town’s Zoning Bylaw. The Board found that the proposed Site Plan Application failed to meet the requirements of all nine criteria:

  1. Does the proposal shall comply with the purpose and intent of the town’s Zoning Bylaw?
  2. Is the development integrated into the existing terrain, and does it protect abutting properties?
  3. Is the architectural style in harmony with the character and scale of buildings in the neighborhood?
  4. Are adequate measures proposed to prevent environmental impacts, such as pollution and erosion?
  5. Are roadways designed to promote convenience and safety for both pedestrians and vehicles?
  6. Are there adequate buffers to protect abutters from lighting, sight, sound, dust, and vibration?
  7. Are there adequate facilities for water supply and for disposal of waste and other by-products?
  8. Is there adequate access to each building for fire and service equipment?
  9. Do the buildings meet the architectural standards established for the Town Center District?

What happens next?

The applicants are expected to file an appeal within the 20-day appeal period, or by May 22. They have hired a Concord law firm that specializes in land-use litigation: Blatman, Bobrowski & Haverty LLC. The appeal will most likely be filed in Massachusetts Land Court and could take many months.

Boxborough is currently represented by KP Law, a Boston-based municipal law firm with a range of practice areas, including land use.

Citizens to Save Our Town Center (SOTC) will continue to monitor the progress of this project and post new information as it becomes available.

Fundraising is on-going.  For more information on how to donate, send us an email at fundraising@boxboroughtowncenter.org

 

Recent news:

  • The legal team hired by our community-funded group has submitted a second letter to support our claim that the Planning Board should deny the current site plan application, including examples of legal precedent for similar denial decisions in MA, that were upheld in court.
  • The traffic and safety committee has compiled a detailed, research-backed letter that was submitted to the Planning Board to advocate for drastic changes to the existing proposed conditions that will not, as written, ensure the safety of anyone driving on 111/Mass Ave.
  • We are fundraising! Check this blog post to learn why, and email us at fundraising@boxboroughtowncenter to learn more about how to help us support the Planning Board in their mandate to keep our town safe.

You can always join the ongoing discussion in our community Facebook group, or watch for updates on the Public ‘Neighbors of Boxborough’ page, where you can also join our email mailing list (hello@boxboroughtowncenter.org) for timely updates on meeting times and locations!

 

Want to help? We are still collecting funds to continue this important effort.  

Please contact our Fundraising Chair, Diana Lipari, at  fundraising@boxboroughtowncenter.org with your donation amount or call Diana at (818) 388-0444Instructions regarding payment options will be provided upon receipt of your email. 

Thank you!

What is all the Fuss about?

The ‘Town Center’ zoned land that is bordered by 111 (Mass Ave), Stow Road and Burroughs Road, is currently under consideration, with plans submitted by “Boxborough Town Center LLC”, owned by developers Michael J. Jeanson and James D. Fenton and under agreement to sell to Toll Brothers (TOL), to build a private community of 100 densely packed senior housing units and a private recreation center. Toll Brothers are currently selling similar 55+ ‘luxury’ units in Stow, already under construction – but at a significantly lower density than proposed in Boxborough.

Currently only abutters are notified of public meetings, however we aim to bring the awareness of the plans and meetings to the general Boxborough population.  We are NOT affiliated with Boxborough Town Center LLC, which is an LLC owned by the developers Fenton and Jeanson, and former Boxborough Selectman, John Lyons.

Why should you care?

The proposed density of housing has the potential to:

  1. Have an undetermined long-term impact on the aquifer
  2. Hijack the intended mixed-use development of our land that was voted to become our Town Center in 1989
  3. Increase the population of Boxborough by ~2-5%
  4. Add significant burden on essential town services (Fire, Police, Public Works)
  5. Increase traffic on Mass Ave, Burroughs Road and Stow Road (not far from Blanchard, the Library & Flerra Meadows)
  6. Create new road access to both 111 and Burroughs Rd (via Priest Lane)
  7. NOT address the need for affordable, ‘downsizing’ options for seniors
  8. Contribute an unknown amount of added light pollution to impact the local night sky
  9. May put an area of wetlands (flora and endangered fauna) at risk
  10. Expose the entire town to YEARS of widely-felt blasting and construction headaches

What do you need to know?

The applicants own the name ‘Boxborough Town Center, LLC’, but did not register the website domain – so we’re using this site to collect and disseminate public information about this development, the plans that have been filed, and the schedule of town committee meetings at which these plans have/will be discussed.

A more detailed history of this proposal, including drawings of the plans can be found here. Older plans that would have created a ‘true’ Town Center can be seen here.

See our Blog for accounts of past meetings, links to video from public hearings, summary analyses of potential environmental impact, and our resources page for traffic and fiscal projection reports. More reports still to come!

What can you do?

Please check back here for information, share with your neighbors, and attend any public hearings or committee meetings to express your concerns. The Planning Board is comprised of elected officials, and they must take the concerns of their constituents into account during this process.

You can also join our closed Facebook group, which we are building into a Community awareness and interaction forum. We discuss the Town Center project, but also other events and issues of interest to Boxborough Residents. Please join us!

In addition to checking the agenda of Town Committee meetings

Blog

Town Center Decision Promised for April 10, 7:30pm @ Town hall

The Planning Board will vote on the proposed Site Plan for this property tomorrow night, April 10, according to Planning Board Chair John Markiewicz.  Three of the four voting members of the Board clearly declared themselves for denial at last week’s meeting on April 3. However, the Chair asked the Board to continue “thinking” for one more week. Please plan to attend to …

Town Center Development Decision May Be Announced on Tuesday!

The future of the last remaining undeveloped land in our Town Center (nearly 60 acres) may be decided on Tuesday, April 3, at 7:30 PM at Town Hall. Our Planning Board has been reviewing the proposed Site Plan Application for this property and has been receiving public comment since December 2016. For many of us, this has been an engaging civics lesson in aggressive development that ignores the …

Does the Design Review Board report matter?

In an earlier Facebook post, I commented about my reaction to the Applicants’ response to the Design Review Board (DRB) report, submitted in early 2018. In short – the DRB was formed after the Town Center zoning district was defined, in order to ensure that the Planning Board (which considers building applications in all town …

About

We are a group of concerned Boxborough residents, who are trying to educate other residents of the proposed plans for the land in the center of Boxborough, which was zoned as Town Center land.

We are NOT affiliated with Boxborough Town Center LLC, which is an LLC set up by the developers Fenton and Jeanson and is under agreement to sell to Toll Brothers, that has filed the site permit for the high-density units.

We also maintain a closed Facebook community group, where we offer updates and news about the Town Center development proposal, as well as other activities and events in the Boxborough community.

Please join us there (and invite your neighbors!) to actively engage with your fellow residents, and to learn more about pervious Public Hearings and how to have your voice heard at several local, municipal, and state levels.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/boxboroughtowncenter/videos/

For background reading, and many links, here is an archive of past email newsletters. For now, I’ve uploaded a single PDF, but it includes newsletters from February 22 till September 26th.

Oct 11, 2017 Newsletter: Public Hearing still open – Planning Board considering ‘conditions’