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ZBA Sorts Out Affordable Housing Dilemma at West Street Site

The Board of Appeals for Zoning denied an application for extension for an affordable housing project off West Street, saying the developer, who originally filed in 2008 and was issued an extension in 2011, no longer has control of the site since the town

This is the first in a three-part series related to the development site off West Street near the former Potpourri building.

Two developers cannot have control of the same site at the same time – that was the basis on which the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals denied the latest extension for a project known as "Medfield Woods," a proposed townhouse condominium development off West Street.

In 2008, a permit was issued by the Board of Appeals for Zoning to West Street Development LLC to build 35 two- and three-bedroom condos near the former Potpourri building. 

The permit was granted for the standard three years, then extended for one more year in 2011 to Medfield North Meadows LLC when they asked for a two-year extension after no activity on the site.

The current permit, set to expire on Feb. 19, would end plans for the Medfield Woods project.   

In December, Robert Engler, an affordable housing consultant working with Medfield North Meadows manager Lawrence Rothschild, filed an extension saying the project had not yet started because the “condition of the housing market makes it impossible to finance a condominium project of this type at the present time” and “the condominium market [is] so poor that it would be impossible to sell the proposed condominium units” according to the ZBA’s denial letter dated Jan. 5.

“If that was all that was involved here, it might well justify a short additional extension … [but] there are other considerations in this case, however, that preclude the grant of an extension,” said ZBA Chairman Robert Sylvia in the letter, namely that another developer claims to control the property and has filed a plan to develop the site.

In December, the Board of Selectmen received a second request for the site from The Gatehouse Group LLC who alleges to have a purchase and sale agreement – signed in October for $1.65 million – with Medfield North Meadows, and, therefore, development rights to the site. 

The proposed Gatehouse project is called "The Parc at Medfield" and calls for 96 one, two or three bedroom apartment units to be built in two phases starting in January 2013. File documents say 100 percent of the proposed units would be considered affordable housing.

Part two of this series will outline the 40B proposal for The Parc at Medfield.

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