Development in Winthrop Center Will Be Focus of Tonight’s Town Meeting

The developer of a proposed building on Somerset Avenue will find out tonight what the town really feels about development in the town center.

The developer, Envelo Properties of New York, will appear at a public meeting on Dec. 13 at the E.B. Newton at 6 p.m. to discuss the proposed development at 10-16 Somerset St. And on Dec. 17 the proposal will be presented to the Planning Board.

Plans call for five-story building with 40 housing units, 13,000 square feet, and 34 parking spaces with parking under the building. The units will consist of three studios; 17 one-bedroom; and 20 two-bedroom units.

“I believe the consensus is that something needs to be done regarding the vacant and boarded up buildings in the center. They are unsightly, dangerous and create a health hazard,” said Town Council President Ron Vecchia. “In all of my conversations with the developers I have always recommended they first hold neighborhood meetings to get the input from the residents that will be most impacted by their project.”

In the case of the Somerset Street property Vecchia said he shares the concerns of residents as to the size and design of the overall project.

“Dialog should have been started with the community long before the unveiling of the design. We are a long way away from approving the final design of this project. Neighborhood meetings, governmental committee and board hearings will shape the final design and scope of this particular project,” Vecchia said. “In the end the design of any project in the center should reflect a New England type of feel, the best example of which can be seen in the downtown design in Newburyport.”

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