By Bonnie Adams, Government Editor
Westborough – Local developer Sotir Papalilo of Westwood Associates has been trying for nearly a decade to get a 55-plus development, Park Place, under way. But with the state of the real estate market still in recovery mode, he told the Board of Selectmen at its Oct. 27 meeting that he has been struggling to find buyers for the 12-unit development.
To help improve his chances, he has requested from town officials that a 55-plus age restriction be waived. He said that if that request were granted, Westwood would then market three of the 12 units as affordable housing.
Before Papalilo met with the selectmen, he had met with the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), the board that has the ultimate decision on the matter. Tin Htway, the town's building commissioner/zoning enforcement officer, told the selectmen that the ZBA was not in favor of the change. One of their main concerns, he said, was the impact of the affordable units on the town's school system.
Steve Liedell of the Westborough Housing Partnership said that his group supports the change.
“We feel that it would have minimal impact on the town,” he said. “We see affordable houses there that the town needs. ”
Several of the selectmen expressed concern that the developer had come before several boards at various times over the past years since their initial proposal requesting other waivers.
The board noted that they did not have authority in this case but could make a recommendation to the ZBA. After further discussion the board did agree to give a tentative approval to the request but with the requirement that the ZBA ensured that the town would not lose any of the previously agreed-upon benefits stated in the site plan approval.