Another development eyed near Sagamore

Mar 7, 2018 by

Published in the March 7, 2018 edition

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — A second over-55 development has been proposed for Main Street near the Sagamore Spring Golf Course.

Developer Angus Bruce unveiled the project to the Board of Selectmen on Monday. Bruce said the project, Wills Brook Village, entails building 66 over-55 duplexes at 1480 Main Street. He noted the project was previously called Sagamore Pines, but said it was renamed in the wake of developer Ronald Bonvie’s proposed Fairways Edge at Sagamore project being in close proximity.

Attorney Jay Kimball said a citizens’ petition for Town Meeting on April 30 has been submitted to the selectmen, who referred it to the Planning Board for review last week. He said the Planning Board will be tentatively holding a public hearing on the project on April 11.

Kimball said the warrant article seeks to rezone the land from Residence RD to Elderly Housing.

“We are not looking to increase the number of elderly units or maintaining a golf course,” said Kimball. “This is a no frills project. There are no pools, no tennis courts and no clubhouse. It’s for people who want to keep their maintenance fees down.”

If Town Meeting approves the project, Kimball said it would be developed under the town’s Zoning Bylaw. He said the Zoning Board of Appeals will be required to sign off on Wills Brook Village’s site plans.

“It’s only after the site plan is approved that we can go forward with construction,” said Kimball. “It takes a lot of time to get this whole process done.”

Bruce said the development would be accessible via Sagamore Way, currently known as Janet Way, which is off of Main Street. He said the project entails building 66 units, which will include one affordable unit for a veteran.

“This meets a need for the town and it creates income for the town without creating an enormous expense,” said Bruce. “I don’t believe it will have a significant impact and we will be talking to the boards to see what we can do to reduce impacts.”

Bruce anticipates Wills Brook Village will generate $608,850 in tax revenue for the town. In addition to generating tax revenue, he said the project is a good opportunity for people looking to downsize as they get older.

“At this point in time, there is a huge amount of people who are coming into the need for this type of project,” said Bruce. “These projects fill a need for people who are aging.”

Bruce said the 66 units would be comprised of duplexes that would cost around $598,000 each. He said the duplexes would consist of two bedrooms.

“I am focusing on more affordable units, although I know that’s relative because we are in Lynnfield,” said Bruce. “I believe most people in the immediate area could afford one of these.”

While Bruce said Wills Brook Village will not allow children, kids will be allowed to visit.

Bruce said the project would have a minimal impact on traffic. He said a traffic study will be ready for the Planning Board’s public hearing on the project on April 11.

“There won’t be multiple trips of people going back and forth,” said Bruce. “The amount of traffic for 55 and older is fairly low.”

Bruce said Wills Brook Village will feature one affordable unit for a veteran.

“The veteran’s unit will come under the same affordable state requirements that a 40B is,” said Bruce. “This would offer a unit at a significantly reduced price somewhere around $270,000. That would be in perpetuity, so the lucky veteran won’t be able to buy it and flip it.”

Engineer Scott Cameron from the Morin-Cameron Group said the project’s design is in the “preliminary stages.” He said each unit will have a garage. He said each unit is about 1,800 square feet.

Cameron said the developer wants to “preserve as many trees as we can” and wants to “retain as much of the natural buffer around the perimeter” of the proposed development.

The engineer said Wills Brook Village’s stormwater management system will utilize “best practices.” He also said the development will include opportunities for its residents to enjoy “passive recreation and outside amenities.”

Coldwell Banker Realtor Nikki Martin, who serves as the project’s broker, noted her mother recently sold her home after deciding to downsize. Since Martin’s mother was unable to get into one of LIFE’s units because of the “long waiting list of 397 people,” she moved to MarketStreet Apartments. Martin said her mother currently pays $2,400 per month in rent.

“My parents bought their house for $25,000,” said Martin. “She could be owning a home in a 55-plus community instead of renting.”

Selectmen reaction

Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett inquired what would happen if Town Meeting does not approve the Wills Brook Village development project.

Kimball said 13 to 15 homes could be built on the property, which would require a subdivision plan being filed with the Planning Board.

“Nice, big child-filled homes,” said Kimball.

While Selectman Phil Crawford noted the development team said the project would not have an impact on the town’s schools, he said that is “not necessarily true.”

“I think having something like this is a nice amenity for a town because a lot of seniors and empty nesters look for that,” said Crawford. “I think you are going to see some large houses open up if these get approved, and it will have more of an affect on the schools later on. That’s not a bad thing because we want new families to move into town, but there is a bubble going on right now in the schools and I think it will happen again in six to eight years if these projects get approved.”

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