Developer reduces number of units for Greenbriar project in Shrewsbury

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A location at the intersection of Greenbriar Drive and Cypress Avenue in Shrewsbury is the subject of new development discussions. Photo/Jesse Kucewicz
A location at the intersection of Greenbriar Drive and Cypress Avenue in Shrewsbury is the subject of new development discussions.
(Photo/Jesse Kucewicz)

SHREWSBURY – Developers have reduced the size of a proposed 55+ housing development on Greenbriar Drive by nearly 10%.

The developer came before the Shrewsbury Planning Board on Aug. 4 to present modifications made from comments from the Conservation Commission to the proposed housing development to be built at the intersection of Greenbriar Drive and Cypress Avenue.

“What we have proposed to the Conservation Commission and now to you folks is to not develop this northeasterly portion. It’s about five acres,” said project engineer John Grenier.

Instead, the development would be concentrated in the southwestern corner of the lot.

“Which is really the main development portion of the property,” Grenier said.

What was originally proposed

The developer originally proposed developing a total of 66 units on the site, including 12 in the northeastern portion of the site.

Back in February, the Planning Board approved a cul-de-sac that would serve as the entrance to the project. The next month, the plans for the development came before the Planning Board.

With the proposed reduction in the number of units, the developer is now proposing 60 units.

“We just really wanted to give you an update as to the direction we’re going,” Grenier said. “We got a lot of smiling with Conservation at our last hearing. We think this will also go a long way as far as density and the amount of roadway [and] would hopefully address some of your concerns.”

Grenier said one of the benefits of not developing these units is that they will not need a wetland crossing to access that portion of the site. Additionally, it would reduce the amount of the site that they would disturb along with the amount of impervious area and site costs.

Past density concerns

When the project was before the board in March, nearby residents and Planning Board members voiced concerns about traffic due to the project’s density and its proximity to Shrewsbury High School.

“I also have kids that go to the high school and I know it’s not just a drive in the morning and drive out at night thing. It’s traffic all day long coming in and out of the high school — activities, sports, clubs,” Planning Board member Joseph Thomas Jr. said at the time.

With the decrease in the number of units, Planning Board member Purna Rao asked during the August meeting whether they increased the density in other areas.

Grenier said they were able to maintain their setbacks, frontage along the road and drainage to absorb six units from the northeastern area.

Chair Steven Boulay said he thought the project was “kind of compact” to begin with, noting that the driveways on opposite sides of the road were in line with each other. That raised safety concerns, Boulay said.

“I think there are too many of them,” Boulay said. “I don’t know if you have any plans that are smaller than 66 [units.] Maybe 40, 35, 45 — somewhere in that neighborhood to see what it would like.”

The Planning Board voted to continue the hearing for the project to Sept. 1.

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