TOWNSEND — Groton developer Robert Kiley’s preliminary plans for a 16-home subdivision on the shore of Vinton Pond was shot down by a unanimous vote of the Planning Board.
The negative vote resulted from the potential for adverse environmental effects to the so-called kettle pond, and certain town bylaws.
“We had received a vast amount of information submitted by everyone. We put in four extra hours going over all of this to give the developer some direction,” Chairman Jeffrey Peduzzi said.
Peduzzi told the abutters, “We are being as cautious as we can regarding the potential impact of new homes on the pond. This area has a unique topography and we want to be very cautious.”
Peduzzi also said many more hydrological tests would have to be done if Kiley submits another proposal. “None of us are hydrologists,” he stressed.
Kiley proposed construction of the housing complex on 75 acres of land, half of which was to be preserved as open space. He purchased the land for $1.1 million from Camp Starfish.
The Trust for Public Land (TPL) was unsuccessful at negotiating with Kiley to purchase the land.
“I would like to say the negotiations with TPL were not productive at all. I said at the onset there was little chance I would agree to sell,” Kiley said. The offers TPL made to Kiley were $1.4 million, and then $1.5 million, both of which he rejected.
Kiley said he anticipates more efforts by the state to buy the land. The state Department of Conservation and Recreation is currently in negotiations with him, he said, but he would not discuss details.
“I do not believe this is the forum to discuss this,” he told planners. “I anticipate more contact with the state and the outcome is uncertain.”
Kiley can return to the board with revised plans since the negative vote applies to a nonbinding preliminary plan.
After the hearing, Vinton Pond summer resident Jean Tenander said, “I’m gratified the Planning Board listened as carefully as they did and took to heart what everyone said.” Tenander does not favor development on Vinton Pond.
“This was somewhat encouraging,” she added.
Deborah Prince-Smith, year-round Sauna Row Road resident, also expressed some optimism.
“It is nice to hear that Mr. Kiley is talking to the state. It gives us a little bit of hope a development will not go in.”