Residents voice concerns about 40B development in Grafton

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Residents voice concerns about 40B development in Grafton
A proposed housing development, if approved, would bring 104 rental units to 59 Pleasant St. (Photo/Maureen Sullivan)

GRAFTON – A proposed 40B housing development for 59 Pleasant St. has drawn concern from area residents.

A public hearing conducted by the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, March 29, was attended by nearly 100 residents. Most of the attendees said they were opposed to the project, citing noise, traffic and environmental impacts as among the reasons.

“Pleasant Street is windy and narrow, and has a small bridge. It’s an old neighborhood that has always been strictly single-family homes. The proposed apartment buildings and garages would bring in at least 200 vehicles to a street that already has traffic problems,” said Wendy Reid.

“They would also destroy habitat for dozens of species of wildlife, including bald eagles, blue and green herons, river otters, turtles and frogs, bobcats, beavers and many others,” she added.

Meshram Ramarao said, “The area is already densely populated, filled with single-family homes and a condo development and multifamily residences at each end. There is already significant traffic, noise and congestion along Pleasant Street.”

“This project was approved and pushed forward with little concern for the current residents,” said James McGee.

The Fire Department said the current plans do not have adequate visitor parking, which could impede fire apparatus when accessing the site.

About The Reserve

The proposed development, The Reserve at Grafton Commons, would feature 104 rental units on a 12.4-acre lot; 26 units would be affordable.

Of the affordable units, eight would be one-bedroom, 15 two-bedroom and three three-bedroom.

The current plans call for 217 parking spaces. A new sidewalk would be built to connect Peters Way and Christopher Drive; the sidewalks would also connect to the existing trail network.

The applicant 59 Pleasant St. Properties LLC has applied for a comprehensive 40B permit; Eastland Partners Inc. is the developer.

The site is a vacant lot; the front of the site is used as a haying field. The current owners are listed as Walter Wasiuk and Gary Wasiuk. A purchase-and-sales agreement was negotiated, but not signed, on Nov. 10, 2020, with the applicant, 59 Pleasant St. Properties LLC, for a consideration of $650,000.

The 59 Pleasant St. site is within the town’s Medium Density Residential R-20 District, as well as the Water Supply Protection Overlay District. According to the developer, “Single-family residential development is a permitted use in both districts.”

“The site is well suited for single-family residential use due to its location, with nearby residential and commercial uses, as well as its proximity to schools, health care services and local area highways. There are no physical factors that are noted that would negatively impact the value. The site is easily accessible and the buildings are in conformance with surrounding scale and uses,” according to a report from Eastland Partners.

Eastland Partners added that should the plans be approved, the town would secure “safe harbor” status for one year.

“Safe harbor” means the town would have more control over 40B developments.

“We all agreed that more housing is needed in Grafton, but Pleasant Street is not an appropriate location,” said Reid.

The public hearing has been continued to Wednesday, May 3, at 7 p.m. in the community meeting room of the Grafton Public Library. This will be an in-person meeting only.

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