Developer proposes townhomes near Westborough District Court


Developer proposes townhomes near Westborough District Court
A FedEx truck drives through the intersection of Oak and Milk streets. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

WESTBOROUGH – Twelve townhomes may be coming to the intersection of Milk and Oak streets.

The plans went before the Planning Board on July 19.

However, the Planning Board expressed concerns about a “bonus” room on the ground floor being used as an extra bedroom.

The property — which is at 191-212 Oak St. — is a 2.1-acre site next to Westborough District Court.

The developer is proposing to construct two buildings on the site.

One of the buildings would be three stories and contain six two-bedroom units and two one-bedroom units. The second building would be two stories and contain four one-bedroom units.

The plans showed a “bonus” room located on the ground floor.

Town Planner Jim Robbins said the developers are restricted to no more than two bedrooms under zoning.

“So, if this bonus room — if that’s what you’re calling it — does not have a bathroom and a closet, it cannot be used as a bedroom,” Robbins said.

He added that the developer could not get an occupancy permit if the room was built out as a bedroom.

“If you put a closet in that room, you won’t get an occupancy permit,” Robbins said.

Original plans called for a full bathroom on the ground floor.

When it was presented to the Planning Board in July, project engineer Barry Yaceshyn said that full bathroom had been switched to a half bath. He said they didn’t intend to put a closet in the room.

“But they could theoretically use it as a bedroom — just a bedroom without a closet,” said member John Gelcich.

Member Peter Bouchard added that it would have to be disclosed as a bonus room when it was sold.

This echoed concerns from the Select Board when the project went before it on June 14.

At that time, Allen Edinberg requested that the Planning Board not allow the bathroom.

“Legally because the closet is not inside the room, it’s not a bedroom, but those are going to be used as a third bedroom,” Edinberg said.

He said that upon resale of the property, real estate agents may market it as a two- to three- bedroom unit.

“That will have a significant, potential negative impact on the school population and the school budget,” Edinberg said.

Safety, parking concerns

Among their concerns, Planning Board members voiced apprehension about the amount of available guest parking.

The plans call for 10 visitor spaces.

It’s just an awfully tight site, and I feel like you’re trying to jam everything in,” said Chair Mark Silverberg. “I’m not sure it’s going to function the way it should.”

With the plans including a crosswalk on Oak Street at the intersection of Oak and Milk, some Planning Board members advocated for streetlights at that and other points of the property.

“The safety at this location in the band of Oak Street is a real issue,” Robbins said. “That’s why the board is asking you for additional lighting for the sidewalk because in the evening you could have someone on the sidewalk that a car doesn’t see.”

The plans returned before the Planning Board during its Aug. 9 meeting. The board continued the hearing to Aug. 23.


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