Abutters File Suit Against Millwood Development Approved by Framingham Planning Board

FRAMINGHAM – A group of abutters to Millwood Golf Course in Framingham have filed an appeal of the City of Framingham Planning Board’s decision to grant Capital Group Properties several special permits to construct a 129-unit active adult housing complex on the site in District 3.

Plaintiffs include Elizabeth Roy, Bruce Hulme, Stephen Shaw, James Georges, et al.

“The Decision violates the density and affordable housing requirements of the Zoning By-law, Town of Framingham, Massachusetts (“Bylaw”). The Townhouses are to be  constructed on the eastern half of the Property, adjacent to the Plaintiffs’ properties, so that Plaintiffs bear the maximum burden of the violation of the density requirements of the Bylaw. The Property and the Plaintiffs’ properties are in the same residential district, which district contains the least dense and largest lots in Framingham. The purpose of the residential districts under the Bylaw is to preserve the character of the residential neighborhoods. The Project does not preserve but rather detracts and diminishes the character of the Plaintiffs’ neighborhood, states the complaint.

In order to determine the maximum density allowed for this type of project, the Active Adult Housing portion of the Framingham Bylaw requires that certain land features be deducted from the total parcel acreage. The remaining acres constitute the Developable Site Area; a maximum of 8 bedrooms per Developable Acre is then allowed. The complaint alleges that the Board erred in its calculation of the number of units that were permitted under the Bylaw. The project includes a minimum of 30 acres of open space, which must be deducted from the total parcel in order to determine the area available for housing units. The Board incorrectly deducted 30% of the total parcel, and used 20 acres, not thirty, as the area available for development, according to the cmplaint filed in Middlesex County Superior Court.

The effect is an extra 80 bedrooms (40 two-bedroom units) being shoehorned into the area of the parcel being developed. In addition to the visual effects of the excessive density, other consequences will be more construction noise and traffic, as well as a large number of buildings sitting in the Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act 100-foot and Framingham’s 125-foot buffer zones for sensitive resource areas, or wetlands, which are behind many of the plaintiffs’ lots. Adverse effects on these resource areas would alter the ecosystem that exists in that neighborhood, accordint othe plantiffs’ complaint.

The Planning Board decision also violates a 75-foot property line buffer in the Zoning Bylaws, which was designed to protect abutters, states the complaint.

The Planning Board included in the decision activities, such as removal of trees, which is prohibited under the Bylaw, according to the plantiffs.

Representing the plantiffs are Michael J. O’Neill and Olympia A. Bowker of McGregor & Legere in Boston.

Bob Depietri, one of the developer, said he would prefer not to comment at this time, when told of the lawsuit. Source left a message for Bill Depietri, one of the developer, also.

The owners of Millwood had given the developers an extension through Sept. 15, 2018 to sign the purchase & sales agreement.

In September 2016, Framingham Town Meeting  voted 69-86 not to purchase the Millwood Farms golf course, at a cost of $5.5 million.

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Originally posted at 3:48 p.m. Last updated at 4:13 p.m.

Framingham Source Editor Susan Petroni

Susan Petroni Framingham Source Editor Email: editor@FraminghamSource.com Phone: 508-315-7176

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