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GROTON — In an unexpected turn of events, a report to be submitted to the Planning Board by its newly-created Design Review Committee will recommend against a groundbreaking private/public housing project proposed for 134 Main St.

In its memorandum to the Planning Board, approved at its meeting of Aug. 10, the DRC found that the Boynton Meadows project did “not appear to be consistent with the town center overlay district design guidelines.”

Due to the detached nature of Boynton Meadows from the rest of the town center overlay district, the DRC concluded that the situation being set up would trigger other zoning inconsistencies making it difficult if not impossible for members to recommend the project.

“In relation to the published purpose, vision, core values, and seven itemized guidelines for the district,” read the memo’s findings, “the magnitude of the project’s shortcomings suggest that continued evaluation may result in the DRC’s finding that the proposal is ‘not suitable for TCOD zoning.”

Reviewing some of the problems they had with the project last week, committee members noted that because 134 Main St. was part of the TCOD but not contiguous with it, there could not help being concerns about access to the site, the creation of a cul-de- sac, a lack of integration with the rest of the district, and the whole question of whether the project was even appropriate for the downtown.

“The challenge is to develop the property in the way the town wants,” summed up committee member Halsey Platt.

As proposed, 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 has arranged to loan developer Robert France $412,000 in return for the creation of the affordables.

The overall scheme for the Main Street site however, depended on expansion of the town center overlay district to include it. That scheme was approved by the Planning Board and subsequently supported by residents at Town Meeting clearing the way for formal application for a special permit from the Planning Board.

Apparently, however, that has not been enough to dissuade the DRC from arriving at its own conclusions.

Although DRC vice-chairman Timothy Hess described the memorandum as simply a “red flag” for the Planning Board as it proceeded with its own hearings on the Boynton Meadows proposal, board member George Barringer and planning administrator Michelle Collette expressed some disappointment in the results having expected further comment on other details of the project than just that of the TCOD.

“What I’m looking from your board is comprehensive design,” said Barringer, adding that he spoke for himself and not for the entire Planning Board. “I would urge you to be as comprehensive as you can. Don’t ignore the details.”

For her part, Collette gently reminded committee members that according to the bylaw establishing the DRC, it was their responsibility to review other aspects of such projects as Boynton Meadows including architectural specifications, parking, traffic circulation, and landscaping.

The committee’s memorandum about the zoning issue was commendable, Collette said, but the Planning Board would like to see more information regarding details of the project itself.

When asked if the DRC was on the right track or not, Barringer said he agreed with Collette’s position, that the Planning Board had hoped for more detailed comment and analysis of the project.

Adding immediacy to the issue was the fact that the Planning Board was scheduled to hold its first formal public hearing for site plan review of Boynton Meadows the very next night and could have used findings and recommendations on the project itself by the DRC.

There was some discussion that there was yet some time for the DRC to proceed with a more comprehensive review of Boynton Meadows as the board’s hearings progressed but time was of the essence.

Barringer told committee members that he for one would like to see them get to work on those details in an expedient manner but not to rush the work.

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