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Zoning Board of Appeals Minutes 03/20/08
Hudson Board of Appeals
Town Hall
Hudson, Massachusetts 01749

Minutes of Meeting – March 20, 2008             page 1
Minutes of Meeting— March 20, 2008
The Hudson Board of Appeals met in the Second Floor Auditorium, Town Hall, Hudson, Massachusetts.  At 7:30 p.m., Chairman Lawrence Norris called the meeting to order.
Present:        Lawrence Norris, Joe Peznola, James Smith, Sara LaFleur, Dorothy Risser, Christopher Tibbals, Darja Nevits, Teresa Vickery, Clerk, and Aldo Cipriano, Town Counsel.
Petition 2004-02: The Esplande, Main Street
Present was: Joanne Foley, Atty. at Law

The Board is in receipt of a letter dated March 5, 2008 from Atty. Foley on behalf of MP Development, Inc.  The letter is a request to modify the comprehensive permit by removing the age-restriction.  Mr. Norris read the letter into the record.  

Mr. Norris read a letter from Jennifer Burke to Atty. Foley dated March 13, 2008.  He also read a letter into the record from a group of residents from the Esplande to members of the Zoning Board dated March 15, 2008.  

Atty. Foley, who represents the Petitioner, MP Development addressed the Board on their behalf.  The request is that the Board make the determination that the modification to the comprehensive permit be deem insubstantial.  Atty. Foley explained that by the regulations set forth by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) this is an insubstantial change to the comprehensive permit.  DHCD cites that substantial changes would include changes to the height of the building greater than 10%, an increase or decrease in the number of units by 10%, a change in the building type or changing the status of the property from home ownership to rental property.  For these reasons, Atty. Foley recommends that the Board deem the change insubstantial.  

Currently the permit states that one of the persons living in a unit must be 55 or over.  The request that potential purchasers be allowed without regard for age be allowed to purchase.  The objective is to generate more interest therefore increase the sales of units.  

Mr. Norris asked that Atty. Foley explain why the applicant is requesting the change.  She informed the Board that during the past 4 years the developer has tried to sell the units and has only filled 64% of the units.  The Esplanade has been marketed to 55 and over adults and opening it up to would create a larger pool of purchasers.  The developer has worked with four different marketing agents and the development is still not at full capacity.  

A traffic study was conducted 4 years ago and concluded that there would not be substantial impact to traffic.  Atty. Foley believes that this change would not affect the traffic situation.  

Mr. Norris asked Atty. Foley how she considers this to not be a substantial change to the comprehensive permit.  Atty. Foley explained that the comprehensive permit speaks to the number of units, the height, etc., not the age restriction.  

Ms. Risser asked whether the deeds have an age restriction written into them.  Atty. Foley stated that she is not aware of this because she did not process the deeds.  

Atty. Foley cited an example of a case in Hanover in which the age restriction was lifted.  The Zoning Board in Hanover deemed the project uneconomic after a series of marketing efforts did not result in sales of the units.  Lou Tagliani, Unit 208 stated that the case in Hanover cannot be compared with Hudson because the units in Hanover are rental units.  He went on to say that the financial interest is much greater for the owners of the units at the Esplanade.  Mr. Tagliani believes that the marketing of the units was not aggressive enough and was misdirected.  

Bill Burns, Unit 214 asked if the project was not intended to be geared toward the 55 and over population then why are there emergency call boxes fitted into each unit.  Atty. Foley informed him that the permitted project was intended to be 55 and older housing, however this market has been saturated in recent years.   

Helen Boudreau, Unit 410 stated that she is sure that the Fire Department would see this as a significant change because of the potential for children pulling the emergency pull cords.  

Janice Mannone, Unit 216 stated that if people with children were to purchase units there would not be anywhere for them to play.  She went on to say that the residents do not want children living in the development.  

Kerri Walsh, 4 Day Circle asked why the developer continued to expand the project when the units were not selling.  Atty. Foley explained that for safety reasons it would not be wise to leave the development unfinished.  Ms. Walsh then asked if the developer would consider changing the status of owner occupation from 75% to a lower percentage.  It is possible, however, this is the route the developer chose.  

Art Hamel, Unit 118 expressed his concern and dissatisfaction with Atty. Foley’s belief that this would be an insubstantial change.  

Carl Leeber, 125 Causeway Street, stated that he is bothered by the developers broken promises.  He went on to say that it is his belief that changing the age restriction will probably not help generate sales of the units.  

Many other Esplanade residents spoke in opposition to lifting the age restriction.
        Kathy Tagliani, Unit 208
        Joe Reardon, Unit 421
        Frederick Defancesco, Unit 408
        Ralph Crowell, Unit 302
        Janice Byrne, Unit 301
        Richard Mutti, Unit 305
Carol Wurth, Unit 411

Lawrence Norris, seconded by James Smith, made a motion to go into deliberative session.

Vote: 5-0-0, Unanimous (Christopher Tibbals & Sara LaFleur not voting)

Ms. Risser feels that this is indeed a substantial change to the comprehensive permit.  Mr. Smith agrees and stated that during the initial hearings it was specifically stated on three separate occasions that the 55 and older status would not be changed.

Mr. Peznola stated that the parking for the site was geared toward a 55 and older community, which would not require as many parking spaces as a non-age-restricted development.  He believes that a public hearing is necessary in order to gather all the information and he finds this to be a substantial change.  Ms. Nevitts echoed his concerns.

Ms. LaFleur and Mr. Tibbals also agree that this is a significant change.

James Smith, seconded by Dorothy Risser, made a motion to come out of deliberative session.

Vote: 5-0-0, Unanimous (Christopher Tibbals & Sara LaFleur not voting)

Lawrence Norris, seconded by James Smith, made a motion to deem the request to modify the comprehensive permit for 248 Main Street, The Esplanade significant and schedule a public hearing for April 8, 2008 at 7:30 PM.

Vote: 5-0-0, Unanimous (Christopher Tibbals & Sara LaFleur not voting)


At 8:45 p.m., Joe Peznola, seconded by Lawrence Norris, moved to adjourn.

Vote: 5-0-0, Unanimous (Christopher Tibbals and Sarah LaFleur not voting)