Sparks fly at French Hill hearing
Marlborough – Sparks flew at a public hearing at the June 23 meeting of the Marlborough City Council, as residents gathered to protest a proposed development of condominiums in the French Hill section of the city.
Attorney Arthur Bergeron, who described the project to councilors, said it would involve cutting down a section of woodland near 582 Lincoln St., tearing down two apartment buildings with seven units and building 19 new condominiums farther from the street instead.
The new condominiums would be 1,300 square feet each, include two bedrooms, and are likely to sell for $300,000, he added.
"It is designed in a way which is appealing to the eye," Bergeron said.
He noted the construction would be built well apart from other dwellings.
Bergeron explained that the project would benefit the city in a number of ways. The new buildings would be entirely owner-occupied, while the buildings that would be removed are occupied by renters.
He said the city would take in $55,000 more per year in taxes from the properties when they replace the existing buildings.
And he said that the watershed would be protected as all runoff would be contained in a detention pond. And, he added, the eff ect on neighbors would be minimized through the creative use of screening by trees and other devices.
Neighbors submitted a petition to the City Council with 61 signatures opposing the project. They raised a number of objections.
David Phillipo, whose property abuts the land, said the driveway into the property would intrude on his life.
"This eff ectively puts me on a street corner," Phillipo said.
Bergeron said the developer would have a traffic study done, which would be submitted to the Urban Aff airs Committee when it took up the application for the special permit.
Kathleen Davison, another abutter, said she is concerned about water drainage at the site.
"What guarantee do I have that the drainage system and detention pond will work?" she asked. "There's no margin for error here."
Other residents said the water pressure on French Hill is poor, and more residents would make it worse.
Valerie Bruso said 10 condominiums were more than the site could handle.
Councilors said they had concerns as well.
"I am kind of disappointed we did not have a neighborhood meeting," Ward 4 Councilor Peter Juaire said.
Bergeron blamed himself for not making that meeting happen and invited local residents to tour the site.
"I am concerned about the water that's going to be flowing across the land," Ward 5 Councilor Edward Clancy said.
Bergeron noted about 30 percent of the land is impervious, and the drainage system is designed to re-create the water flows currently naturally occurring on the site.
As the hearing concluded, At- Large Councilor Patricia Pope, the chair of the Urban Aff airs Committee, said she expected the committee to take up the application in mid-August.
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