Pulte proposes 300-unit 40B project in Shrewsbury

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Pulte proposes 300-unit 40B project in Shrewsbury
An artist’s rendition of the proposed 300-unit Emerald Run development in Shrewsbury. (Screenshot/Shrewsbury Media Connection)

SHREWSBURY – Pulte Homes New England has announced plans to build a large-scale residential development in the southeast corner of town.

Representatives from the Westborough-based company met with the Select Board at its Feb. 28 meeting to outline their plans for “Emerald Run,” a six-building, 300-unit condominium development to be built on a 38.6 acre parcel of land at 33-69 Green St. 

40B project

Pulte is the developer behind the housing development on Chauncy Lake in Westborough. 

The project is being planned as a 40B development, with 75 units priced as “affordable housing” under the state formula. The state’s 40B law allows developers to sidestep many local zoning regulations, as long as 25% of the units meet the criteria as “affordable.” 

Communities with at least 10% existing affordable housing stock are immune from 40B, which Shrewsbury doesn’t meet.

But Essek Petrie, manager of Land Planning and Entitlement, said the company wants to work cooperatively with the town to build a project that will meet the needs of the community and have a positive impact.

“It’s our intention to file an application for a LIP [Local Initiative Program] to do a ‘friendly 40B’ with the Town of Shrewsbury for this project,” said Petrie.

Pulte proposes 300-unit 40B project in Shrewsbury
Mark Mastroianni (foreground) and Essek Petrie of Pulte Homes New England discuss the proposed 300-unit Emerald Run development at the Feb. 28 meeting of the Shrewsbury Select Board. (Photo/Bill Gilman)

LIP is a program through the state Department of Housing and Community Development that encourages the development of affordable housing. As part of other proposed projects in town, officials have said the program would give the town more say into the development and its impact on the surrounding neighborhood and the community as a whole.

According to Petrie, the company is under agreement to purchase 33-69 Green St., though details of the agreement were not revealed. 

The property is presently owned by The Dippell Realty Trust and trustee Harold Allen and was assessed by the town, this year, at $634,000. Sections of the property fall under three different zoning categories – Industrial, Rural A and Rural B.

“As a result of this mix of zones across this one parcel, there really are no viable options to develop the parcel under the existing zoning,” said Petrie. “We have this 40B proposal as a result.”

What is proposed

Much of the property is wetland, which developers said significantly limits the sections suitable for development. 

The project is divided into two development areas – one section would contain one building, and five buildings would be located in the other area. Each building would be four stories with 50 units. There would be 30 three-bedroom units, and roughly 135 two-bedroom and 135 one-bedroom units. 

Access to the buildings would be from Green Street.

Pulte proposes 300-unit 40B project in Shrewsbury
Preliminary plans for the proposed 300-unit Emerald Run development in Shrewsbury. (Screenshot/Shrewsbury Media Connection)

Between underground and ground-level parking, Petrie said the project would have 540 parking spaces, or 1.8 spaces per unit. MDM Transportation Consultants has been contracted by Pulte Homes to conduct a traffic impact study.

“They have already started doing some preliminary traffic analysis. To date, they do not estimate that this project would be an extreme traffic generator on Green Street,” said Petrie. 

Petrie said the early estimates also don’t take into consideration the planned Department of Transportation Route 20 corridor improvements, nor the fact that a signaled intersection at Green Street and Route 20 is deemed as “under capacity” by MDM.

However, Select Board Chair Moe DePalo shared one specific item he would like to see included as part of the project, to help facilitate traffic flow.

“One of the things we’ve been talking about and that I keep dreaming about is making that connection between South [Street] and Green [Street], so that we can get to a signalized light because there’s a lot of houses back there,” said DePalo. “Is there a possibility that we could work with you, so that we could get a street from South to Green? [I’m] not necessarily asking you to pay for that because I know it’s expensive but if there is a way for us to work together to get that road in there, somehow, so we can help people on South Street get to the light.”

DePalo added that such a road would also give residents of the proposed development faster access to the Westborough MBTA station.

“It’s definitely something that we will absolutely look at,” said Petrie.

Age restriction

Select Board member Theresa Flynn asked why Pulte Homes was not proposing a 55-over development, as they have in several other communities. Mark Mastroianni, director of Land Planning and Entitlement, said a 55-over development on this location would be in competition with another 55-over project being built by the company, just 10 minutes away.

“It made more sense with this project to do a non-age restricted project,” he said.

Mastroianni said that given the length of the permitting process, construction would not begin until early 2025. 

As a result, he said it was difficult to estimate what the price range would be for the condominiums. However, he said that condo units in similar projects and markets range from $300,000 to $600,000.

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