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Planning Board votes against endorsing citizens’ petition for Hayden Rowe, Colonial Avenue rezoning

by | Mar 19, 2024 | Featured: News, News

The Planning Board voted 5-3 on Monday night against supporting a citizens’ petition for a zoning map amendment that would change the zoning from residential to business for three properties if approved at Annual Town Meeting on May 6.

The properties are located at 81 and 83 Hayden Rowe Street and 1 Colonial Avenue, across from Hopkinton Middle School. The request would reclassify the zoning of these properties from Residence A to business. The maximum height for a business would be 35 feet. The maximum lot coverage for a business would be 60% versus 25% for residential property.

Ashland Attorney Neil Bingham represented the two applicants, Sue Costanza and Philip Antoniades. Antoniades owns the two Hayden Rowe Street properties, while Costanza owns 1 Colonial Avenue. Bingham explained that his two clients were “similarly situated” and decided to join forces on the citizens’ petition.

The goal of the applicants is “to create some uniformity in the area,” Bingham explained. The properties are surrounded by commercial interests that include two septic companies, a tax preparation office and a dentist’s office that is zoned residential. They also abut a residential neighborhood.

Said Bingham: “Even though we’re looking at a residential zone, there’s nothing really residential about it.”

After Bingham’s presentation, chair Gary Trendel stressed that this hearing was in regard to whether or not the Planning Board should support the citizens’ petition at Town Meeting — not whether the zoning change is allowed. There needs to be a two-thirds majority vote at Annual Town Meeting for zoning articles to pass.

He added that because this is a citizens’ petition, the proposal does not have to be vetted by the Zoning Advisory Committee.

“It’s worth noting that this is a recognized and appropriate process,” said Trendel.

Antoniades explained that he has lived at 81 Hayden Rowe for 22 years, while 83 is a buildable lot behind it. He has no plans to build currently. From his perspective, building a house on the back lot would not be economically viable.

“I would like to be able to have the option to develop this land in a way that serves the town,” he said, noting that the 2 acres would be ideal for a business.

Vice chair Rob Benson spoke about the increase in water flow to the abutting neighborhood, which later was echoed by the residents.

“Increasing the amount of commercial businesses, there’s concern of water flowing downhill,” he said.

Abutter Steve Petrovski, who lives on Hazel Road, said he and his wife purchased their home with the understanding that they lived in a residential zone. They feared their property value would decline, with Steve adding the water flow onto their property has made the situation “a complete mess.”

Bingham said that if these properties were developed, there are processes in place to prevent water issues and address neighbors’ concerns that may arise.

Ted Barker-Hook provided some historical context about the 81 Hayden Rowe Street property. The ZAC chair and Conservation Commission member explained that ZAC recommended against the rezoning about eight years ago.

He explained that one side of the area looks business oriented, while the other “becomes a neighborhood.”

Said Barker-Hook: “There was a very real concern of business zone creep heading north towards town.”

Costanza said she has a tenant in the house at 1 Colonial Drive now. She is the owner of the J.C. Parmenter septic company at 85 Hayden Rowe Street and would like the zoning change so she could “have the opportunity to expand.”

Trendel explained that he was “inherently cautious” about endorsing a citizens’ petition unless there were an element of “inherent timeliness.”

MBTA Communities Act hearing continued

The hearing on the MBTA Communities Act draft zoning compliance plan was continued to April 22 to allow for state feedback to be received and reviewed before taking a final vote.

Gelcich explained that the draft proposal was submitted for review to the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities, which previously was known as the Department of Housing and Community Development. The EOHLC will be implementing the policy and has offered communities the opportunity to have their proposals reviewed to ensure that they meet compliance standards. It also was sent to the Attorney General’s Office, which is conducting a similar review.

Hearing on stormwater management proposed amendments postponed

Discussion on proposed amendments to the town’s stormwater management regulations was postponed at the request of the Conservation Commission, Trendel said. The commission would like more time to review the potential changes. The hearing will be held at the next meeting on April 1.

Elmwood Farms III stormwater management permit hearing continued

At the request of the applicant, the stormwater management hearing for the Elmwood Farms III subdivision off Blueberry Lane was continued until April 1. Toll Brothers is undertaking the construction of the remaining approved lots. As a result of the proposed work, a stormwater management permit is required due to the amount of disturbance.


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