SHREWSBURY – Residents voiced concerns about a proposed nearly 200-unit 55+ housing development on South Street during a Zoning Board of Appeals meeting Aug. 29.
The developer, Greystar Development, presented the project, titled “Album Shrewsbury,” which would be developed under the state affordable housing statute Chapter 40B, to the board.
Resident David Singer voiced concerns about traffic, noting the development of nearby Centech Park North.
Singer said he and his family have lived on South Street for 30 years, and they have seen it grow from “cows next door to warehouse facilities to now a 196-unit complex.”
“South Street is an extremely narrow and dangerous road with no speed limit. It’s a dangerous place to be walking. It’s a dangerous place to be driving. If they’re elderly [the tenants], there will be a lot of extra traffic from those coming to visit,” Singer said.
He added, “If anyone is familiar with my property, we have put up some rock barriers that are constantly getting hit. I lose count of the hubcaps, car parts and little pieces of glass. It’s a very dangerous area.”
Album Shrewsbury would be a 40B project
According to Massachusetts State Law, in each municipality, at least 10% of the housing stock must be affordable. The current stock in Shrewsbury is 6.42%
Chapter 40B is a state statute that allows the local zoning boards of appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 25% of the units provide long-term affordability restrictions.
According to Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las, Chapter 40B allows developers to submit comprehensive permit applications to towns. Greystar had applied for the permit, and this August meeting was the first hearing on it before the board.
What is proposed
Proposed at 409 South St., the 14.7-acre site has been historically used as farmland owned and operated as Russell Farm.
Approximately 40% of the land is actively farmed and contains row crops, and the remainder of the property consists of undeveloped woodlands.
The project would include 196 units, and 49 of those would be affordable. The main entrance of the development would be off Chestnut Street.
Project Manager Phil Cordeiro, of Allen & Major Associates, said Album Shrewsbury would include a pool and a “very large amenity-based” courtyard, which could include outdoor sitting spaces, a gardening space and a pickleball court.
In order to preserve the trees and wetlands on the property, Cordeiro said the developers would aim to focus the project in an area that has previously been disturbed.
“By focusing the development to the front, we are able to utilize the land area that is currently farmed and then create the terracing for this project,” he said.
The front half on Chestnut Street would be a four-story building, and the back half would be five, according to Cordeiro.
He noted that half of the site would be developed and the other half would remain natural, allowing for residents a vista view over the rear of the property.
By positioning the development that way, the wetland resource area, which is located at the bottom of the hill, would not be altered, Cordeiro said.
‘She can make my life very difficult’
Dottie Jean’s Pet Resort and Daycare Center Nancy Bradley said she understands she is unable to stop the project. However, she asked the developers to inform the tenants of her pet daycare so they know who lives next door
“I am very, very concerned that Jane Doe, lying by her pool, hears my boarding dogs barking,” Bradley said. “ She can’t do anything to me because I am permitted, but she can make my life very difficult.”
Greystar’s Chris Legocki said that part of the development process is to conduct an acoustical survey of the site, which is a method to determine what barriers must be added to the site to reduce noise.
“Our interests are aligned. I don’t want disgruntled, disappointed, or surprised residents. We think the first line of defense is smart design and making sure we understand the environment and that we have the data,” he said.
Bradley said she “really appreciates” the information from the meeting, noting it clarified the vision she initially had of the development that could be built next door.
“I think it will work out,” she said.