By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
NORTHBOROUGH — Developers are hoping to build single-family homes on an approximately four-acre peninsula on Bartlett Pond.
They’re also proposing a public dock into the pond, according to an informal presentation of their conceptual plans to the Northborough Planning Board July 6.
The development would take place at 75 Ridge Rd., which splits off Lyman Street to run behind the Juniper Hill Golf Course.
“I think it’s really great to come forward with an idea about a troubled property in town. I’m glad that you did. I’m open to figuring out how we can make something like this work, assuming that it benefits the town and fits in our bylaws and all of this,” Planning Board Chair Kerri Martinek said after their presentation.
The developers have the site under contract. Developer Damon Amato called the site a “unique property.”
“If you’ve ever driven by it, you may have seen mostly woods, potentially the PT Cruiser that has a tree through it. It’s quite an interesting site,” Amato said.
According to Amato, there are eight buildings on the site as well as evidence that there was once a ninth building. Developer Ben Legare said they tried to track down the occupants, but it got “messy.”
There’s debris and trash all over, Amato said.
The cost to clean up the site is similar to the price of buying another tract of land, Legare said.
Amato said his team has done similar projects, which required zoning changes, such as an overlay district. He said that, under the current zoning bylaws, they would only be allowed to build two single-family homes instead of the proposed six.
“The problem is that the clean up, not including the purchase of the property, would be too much of a burden,” Amato said. “There’s no way to make that work.”
Board members asked several questions, including about their estimated clean up costs, whether one of the units could be affordable, the septic system and a potential zoning overlay district.
“I think what you need to do is you have to prove, at least to my end, why this can’t be a subdivision, and that’s part of your process when you’re coming through with an overlay district — you have to prove why it can’t be a subdivision,” said member Michelle Gillespie.
Board member Anthony Ziton said he liked the idea of a public dock, but he expressed concern about the volume of people coming in and out.
“This is just my opinion, but I would say do away with the public dock and spread the houses out,” Ziton said.
Martinek said she liked the idea of the public dock. She noted that zoning amendments or changes would need to be done at Town Meeting.
“If it’s a path that we need to take, it’s certainly something that we’re willing to handle if that’s going to be the highest percentage of success for us to make it happen,” Amato said.