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Chapter 43D application to state is nearing completion


GROTON — Different aspects of the “Chapter 43D” expedited permit application process are moving forward, the Planning Board was informed.

The work is a requirement of the 43D state law which, if the application is accepted, could provide the town with grant money and expertise in its ongoing plans to redevelop the Station Avenue neighborhood as a mixed use residential/commercial district.

With the approval of town meeting, the Planning Board dissolved a Station Avenue Redevelopment Committee and in turn established a number of subcommittees, each tasked with different aspects of the 43D application. These include design guidelines for the planned Station Avenue development, traffic and parking, infrastructure, market conditions and permitting.

Made up of members of various town committees and departments, as well as citizens at large, the five subcommittees were officially charged to begin work at the Planning Board meeting of Jan. 10.

At the time, town officials had only 120 days to gather the information they needed on each category of the 43D application before handing over the completed package to the state for review.

According to planning administrator Michelle Collette, only a few more weeks remain until the deadline is reached. Final drafts of each subcommittee’s findings must be submitted to the Planning Board for review and approval by next week.

Board members learned on May 1 that the drafts of those findings were all nearing completion, with board member Anna Eliot reporting that the infrastructure evaluation was “almost complete” and member John Giger saying that parking and traffic had “pretty much wound up all its deliberations” and that his subcommittee was within “one or two drafts of completion.”

For his part, board member Ray Capes confirmed that the marketing studies subcommittee had received a strong response to its surveys from the public and that the group was in the process of tabulating results.

Once the town’s application has been completed and submitted to the state, the permitting process should be complete within 180 days.

In other business on May 1, the Planning Board voted to approve changes to its fee structure, bringing it into closer alignment with other nearby towns.

Some of the changes in fees include those for each lot change for an “Approval Not Required” application that went from $150 to $250; the fee for each building lot shown on an application for a preliminary plan went from $150 to $250; and a fee for each building lot shown on an application for a definitive plan went from $500 to $750.

Fees were also increased for special permits, site plan reviews and concept plans.

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