UPDATE: The meeting originally scheduled for Tuesday, Dec. 4 will be held on Thursday at 2 p.m. at the Town House. Chairman Robert Sylvia will share a draft denial to compare to a draft approval discussed last week.
The Board of Appeals on Zoning will meet this afternoon to again discuss its final decision on the 96-unit affordable housing complex proposed off West Street.
The board must file a decision in the matter by Dec. 14.
Last month, the ZBA asked the town's legal consultant to draft a decision they could use as a starting point in deciding whether to allow the Gatehouse Group to build "The Parc at Medfield."
Last week, the board -- comprised of Chairman Robert Sylvia, Russell Hallissey, and Charles Peck -- reviewed the first draft which was written from the viewpoint of an approval with conditions though Sylvia had said it was a working document and the final could look completely different.
Hallissey was in agreement with the way the letter was drafted.
Peck had concerns related to the density of the project, its proximity to the aquifer and wetlands, and said the total number of units may have to be reduced.
"I think we can reasonably protect ourselves against deterioration of the aquifer that this property sits in," Peck said.
Sylvia didn't care for the draft (as an approval) at all.
"I hate to be the skunk at the picnic but I want that draft changed substantially," Sylvia said. At tonight's meeting, he is expected to share his draft of a denial letter that addresses many issues including density, the aquifer, and the number of waivers requested.
"I couldn't, in good conscience, sign any decision that says you can put 96 units down there," he said. "The only concern I have right now is to do the best job we can for the town of Medfield."
Sylvia was concerned that the state insisted the town enact a Aquifer Protection Bylaw to protect the aquifer so it would seem state law would want to protect the aquifer and not allow this project to affect it.
Legal consultant Mark Bobrowski said, in his experience, the Housing Court (where the matter would go if the ZBA denies the application, and the applicant appeals it), "said it would not look at environmental issues where the town has no regulation more stringent than the DEP one.
Bobrowski said he would not recommend the Board deny the application but, rather, work with the applicant regarding the concessions they have offered to date.
Town Counsel Mark Cerel also said a denial is risky because, if the denial is overturned, the applicant does not have to honor the concessions he is currently willing to make.
Said Sylvia, "If this thing ends up getting approved without the protections that I think are needed, (a) I'm not going to vote for it, and (b) somebody else can take over running this committee because I'm done. I can't go to bed at night and sleep if I did something that I thought was inherently wrong and was delivered to the town of Medfield. I won't do it."
The next scheduled meetings for the ZBA are Dec. 4 and Dec. 11. The decision is due on Dec. 14.
- ZBA Instructs Lawyers to Start Drafting Decision on 40B
- 40B Project Could Add 80 Students to School District
- Affordable Housing Project Continues to Raise Questions
- Neighbors Ask: "Is 40B Development A Duck?"
- ZBA Denies Application for Extension for Affordable Housing Project Off West Street
- A Closer Look at the Proposed Housing Complex Off West Street
- Affordable Housing Project on West Street Could Cost $15 Million to Develop
- Hundreds of Residents Seek Answers Regarding Proposed West Street Affordable Housing Project
- 40B Land Used to be Town's Poor Farm
- And more...