GROTON -- In a major change to plans concerning Boynton Meadows, developer Robert France met with members of the Planning Board to discuss adding a 100-seat restaurant to the list of tenants signing up to occupy an existing, newly renovated building fronting Main Street.

According to a special permit awarded France by the Planning Board, Boynton Meadows is to include three affordable-housing units among 18 planned, a feature that first drew the attention of the Board of Selectmen and the interest of the Affordable Housing Trust, which arranged to loan France $412,000 in return for the creation of the affordables.

Designs for the individual homes themselves will follow the classic lines of many older homes in town, with articulation designed to make the various duplexes and triplexes look less like town houses and more like single-family dwellings.

France said the first affordable unit will be ready in phase one of the project, along with two other market-rate units and the commercial space, all of which are to be located in the existing building being renovated.

It was about the commercial space that France met with the board at its meeting of Feb. 14 to discuss.

Already tenants have been lined up to move in to the commercial space on the ground floor of the renovated building, including Bliss Bakery, Buddha Nest Yoga and a dentist's office.


But according to France, alterations in construction of the building has made it possible to expand the square footage of the remaining commercial space so that a space that had been reserved for 26 seats can now accommodate 100.

The reason for that, France told board members at the meeting, was because new basement space was created beneath the building as well as under a nearby courtyard.

France assured board members that according to his calculations, even with the increased seating there will be enough sewer capacity for the project due to a reduction in the number of bedrooms in some of the housing units.

In addition, the alterations would have no impact on nearby wetlands or drainage due to no increase in impervious surfaces around the building.

The only real issue, said France, was parking, and for that, only 29 extra spaces would be needed to accommodate the expansion of the restaurant space.

Although France did not go into detail on how the extra spaces were to be created, board members did not seem to think it would be a problem.

"The board is willing to entertain creative ways to (address parking)," said board member Russell Burke.

With the briefing completed, France is expected to return before the board with a formal application for a special permit modification.

Also at the meeting, the board voted to recommend approval of changes in the town's water resource protection district map as presented by Water Department Superintendent Thomas Orcutt.

The proposed change would be submitted as a warrant article at spring Town Meeting, updating a map prepared by Applied Geographics Inc., which will now include recently acquired or identified areas as sources of drinking water to be protected.

According to Orcutt, the new areas include the Shattuck Well, a site at Unkety Brook, and two other well sites being developed. The areas are located around and northeast of Baddacook Pond, which together with other parcels will now form a protected watershed corridor running north to south through the eastern part of town.

Orcutt said the most immediate change in local zoning if the amendment were approved at Town Meeting would be to have more strict guidelines for development in the area, especially those involving commercial or industrial activity.