The council room was packed Tuesday night as councilors contemplated whether or not to grant a special zoning designation to a Walden Street property.
After hearing from neighbors and the property owner, the Town Council voted 5-4 to deny the Special Development Overlay District (SDOD).
The property at 15-17 Walden St. owned by resident and business owner Jack Anderson, sought to change the zoning from commercial to SDOD so he could take down the building currently there and create a multi-unit housing property. To many, the building is known as the home of Muffin Town. An SDOD designation is intended to encourage the reuse of property and meets special criteria. The process of obtaining the SDOD includes going to the planning board first, then to the town council and then back to the planning board for final details. Anderson originally planned for a three-level, 20 unit building with parking underneath. At Tuesday night’s meeting he said he would reduce the number of units and that he would be “flexible and willing to work with the town.”
Neighbors are concerned about density, traffic, and size of the project.
“I don’t care if the warehouse stays empty for two years,” said one resident.
Anderson explained that he has owned the building for 30 years and has lived in the town for 50 years.
Luann Camarda, of Lincoln Street, said she wanted to see the plans for the site before the council voted on it.
“For the first time tonight he said he’d be willing to negotiate,” Camarda said of Anderson. “What are you willing to be happy with? Eight, 10 units?”
Jim Polino, a resident and business owner, reminded everyone that the council is not voting on the number of units, just the SDOD designation.
“I don’t think the planning board would let you down,” he said.