Council Heeds Neighbors Request

On Tuesday night, the Town Council postponed granting a zoning request to the owner  of a project at 15-17 Walden St., pending a presentation to neighbors regarding plans for the development.

Attorney David McCool, representing property owner Jack Anderson as PJP Realty Trust, LLC appeared before the Town Council Tuesday night with a zoning request for a Special Development Overlay District (SDOD).

The SDOD designation is a special zoning area used to encourage the reuse of a property and must meet special criteria. The process of obtaining one includes going to the Planning Board first, then to the Town Council and back to the Planning Board for final plans.

Jim Soper, of Precinct 2, submitted a petition from 97 residents, who oppose what they saw in conceptual plans for the project. He said it was clear that property could not be reused and that the developer plans to build eight residential units. Soper reminded officials that the request is a public process. The only presentation the developer made was at the Planning Board meeting. Soper did add that the sentiment amongst the neighbors did change when the Planning Board chairman said the existing building could not be saved.

“This should be a open, clear process so the applicant can go along,” Soper said. “I am confident with the Planning Board” who can mold it. The Planning Board will vote later on the specifics of the project.

McCool said the residents want something other than what is there now and “it has to make economic sense for my client.”

Councilor Paul Varone, who was successful in holding a neighborhood meeting regarding the SDOD request for the old church on Hermon Street, suggested the same process be done for this request.

“Let the residents hear the plan and have time to digest,” Varone said. He suggested the council vote on the issue after a neighborhood meeting.

The council voted to hold a neighborhood meeting no later than July 21.

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