Board disagrees on SMOC lot Friday, September 8, 2006
Andrew J. Manuse Metrowest Daily News
FRAMINGHAM -- The South Middlesex Opportunity Council will bring two plans for its Winter Street property to an early October meeting after the Planning Board last night failed to agree on where the agency should put a parking lot.

Last night, a representative for SMOC presented a plan for the agency's home for recovering addicts that incorporates a thick driveway with two connections to Ardmore Road.  The plan for Sage House, which SMOC wants to move from Clinton Street to the former nursing home at 517 Winter St., also places several contentious items, including a Dumpster and small parking lot, near neighbors' property.

The board disagreed on where the parking lot should be located and also discussed moving one of the property's driveway entrances to Winter Street.  SMOC will return Oct. 12 with two different plans for the board to consider.

Responding to comments from several Framingham residents and other members, Planning Board Chairwoman Ann Welles said the board would also discuss whether a stone or shrub buffer was needed along Ardmore Road, whether to install more decorative fencing, whether to incorporate parking lot lighting, the need for a landscape maintenance agreement and whether the proposed driveway entrance width, currently set at 24 feet, could be thinner, among other issues.

Several residents, including Dr. Harold Silverman of Crest Road, said SMOC's use of the Dover Amendment was inappropriate since SMOC has not verified Sage House has an educational or religious purpose.  Jim Hanrahan of Bowditch and Dewey, the law firm shepherding SMOC's site plan review, said the board didn't have the jurisdiction to review the Dover Amendment designation granted by the building commissioner but Welles said the board had the right to verify the building commissioner's decision.

Peter Adams, a spokesman for Stop Tax Exempt Private Property Sprawl, presented a six-page document to the board that supports the Planning Board's look into SMOC's use of the Dover Amendment and also requests that more of the agency's development of the property take place in a large yard off Winter Street, rather than behind the building.

Vice Chairman Tom Mahoney recused himself from last night's SMOC hearing to avoid appearances of conflict.  His wife will be working one night a week with SMOC as part of her job with the state Department of Social Services.

The Planning Board also heard from Pulte Homes of New England, which said each neighboring home in its proposed 525-unit housing development off Riverpath Drive in Saxonville would be built with a unique design -- in line with a companywide "monotony code."  The board debated the name of the project, throwing out "The Villages at Danforth Farm" or "Danforth Green" rather than the proposed "Danforth Landing."  Discussion of the project continued past press time.

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