Friday, November 24, 2006
Narrowing the issues at Coventry Woods
Monday night's Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) hearing on the Coventry Woods 40B application marked "the culmination of the evidence-gathering stage and the beginning of the deliberation stages" for the proposed 41-unit development on 21 acres off of Concord Street, according to ZBA attorney Dan Hill. Unlike earlier meetings where tempers flared, voices remained calm as the applicant, abutters and town officials considered the latest wording of the ZBA's "draft decision," a document that specifies the project scope and conditions on which the ZBA can rule on the Coventry Woods application.
An important event in reaching this point was an earlier meeting on November 16. Then, an informal group of members from the various land-use boards and town staff met to discuss the open issues between the applicant, abutters, and ZBA as well as the expert engineering data for the project and 40B guidelines.
The state statute Chapter 40B allows developers to bypass local zoning restrictions when building developments in which at least 25% of the housing is classified as affordable. The Coventry Woods 40B project is to include 12 affordable housing units.
Plannining Board Chair David Freedman said of the draft decision, "is still very much a work in progress." One of the remaining concerns of the Planning Board is the timing of water testing. Normally, Freedman said, water testing is performed in the driest time of the year in late summer, but the applicant has not yet agreed to wait that long.
While open issues remain, such as water testing and landscaping issues, the abutters, the ZBA and applicant appear to be moving closer to an agreement.
The meeting has been continued to Monday, November 27 to continue discussing and identifying the appropriate language in the draft decision.
© 2006 The