Planning Board recommends approval of SDOD for hospital site

Measure will go before Town Council for consideration

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

The Winthrop Planning Board voted 4-0, with one member absent, Wednesday night to recommend that the Winthrop Town Council consider the application by Winthrop Cove Realty Trust to include the Winthrop Hospital site in the town’s Special Development Overlay District, but also recommended a number of restrictions that will have to be negotiated with the developer, before the project could go forward.

The Planning Board’s action seemed to gain the support of both sides in the development battle, as both the developers and the abutting neighbors expressed  confidence that the Planning Board’s recommendations were a good compromise.

“I am very happy with the Planning Board’s report and recommendation to rezone the former hospital property.  Although I believe that some of the planning recommendations  in  the report will require some modification, overall , the report is obviously the result of some thoughtful deliberation. Now we can move forward to the next level and toward a conclusion of this four year stalemate.” said the developer’s attorney James J. Cipoletta.

Similarly, the attorney representing the Lincoln Street Neighborhood Association seemed satisfied that the Planning Board had considered all of the issues surrounding the property before making is recommendation.

“My clients are pleased the Planning Board has examined the issue very professionally and we intend to participate in the permitting process. The members seem to have a good understanding of the need to balance the interests of the neighborhood with the interests of the developer. They have based their affirmative recommendation on certain parameters which are reasonable. This is an example of contract zoning. Lets see what happens,” added attorney William DiMento, representing the neighborhood.

The recommendations compiled by the Planning Board were read aloud by member Peter Roach, and essentially ask the council to enter into a Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) with the developer, Winthrop Cove Realty Trust, in which issues such as density, parking, number of units, height and other dimensions will be agreed to by both parties, with iput by the Planning Board.

With the Planning Board’s vote, the issue now will go before the Town Council, which must approve the request by a two-third majority in order for the hospital property to be placed into the SDOD and move the project forward.

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