Shrewsbury selectmen approve preliminary Beal plans

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Developers presented renderings on Dec. 7, of their proposed mixed-use facility at the site of the old Beal school in Shrewsbury.

SHREWSBURY – Developers took another step forward in their efforts to build a new mixed-use facility at the former Beal school site in Shrewsbury this week when the Board of Selectmen unanimously voted to accept preliminary plans for the site. 

Speaking during a selectmen meeting on Tuesday, newly appointed Chair Moe DePalo explained that the vote clears the way for developers to move ahead with more definitive plans. 

Those plans, in turn, will let developers proceed in Shrewsbury’s official permitting process for new developments.

‘It’s a very early design’

Selectman Moe DePalo speaks during a Board of Selectmen meeting in March. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

Back in March, the Board of Selectmen voted to approve a land disposition agreement with the developers, which is a precursor to a sale agreement.

According to Town Manager Kevin Mizikar, over the course of developing that agreement, the town and the prospective developers, Civico Greenly, settled on eight terms that the Board of Selectmen needed to see in a preliminary site plan in order to move forward with an actual sale of the Beal site. 

“This is really the first step moving forward with the [land disposition agreement] where a preliminary site plan has been presented,” Mizikar said during Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting. “It’s been reviewed by staff to ensure compliance with the land disposition agreement.”

Staff members, he said, are comfortable with Civico Greenley’s preliminary plans. Additionally, he said, the developers met the criteria for parking requirements, the maximum number of units, the minimum amount of retail space and preservation of an existing World War I memorial on Maple Avenue in front of the former school.  

“It looks sophisticated, but it’s a very early design,” Mizikar said. 

Process moves forward

The old Beal School closed last year with the completion of Shrewsbury’s new Beal School on Lake Street.

Even before the closure, however, the town had been working on a process to determine the future of what is a prominent site near the Town Center.

More recently, the town had spent several months negotiating the land disposition agreement with Civico Greenly. 

Plans emerged through that process, calling for 55 units, between 7,000 to 8,000 square feet of commercial space and 136 parking spaces. Of those parking spaces, 20 would be available to the public.

Additionally, the town would retain 0.7 acres of open space on the Beal property.

With preliminary plans now approved, in addition to the land disposition agreement, developers are indeed working on more definitive plans. 

Mizikar said Civico Greenly will do more “due diligence” on the site once granted access. It will begin to develop fully engineered plans and designs for the project through that process.

From there, the plans will go before the Shrewsbury Planning Board for a public hearing.

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