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Johnson Farm Developer Proposes Reduction in Housing Complex Units

Modification submitted to Zoning Board of Appeals.

As another step in the process of potentially building the Residences at Johnson Farm 40B housing complex on Landham Road, developers have submitted modifications to the original plan that would reduce the total number of units from 120 to 64, subject to approval by several town boards and committees.

As part of a town forum to update the Board and residents on Conservation Commission projects and works at Tuesday’s Board of Selectmen meeting at , Conservation Coordinator Debbie Dineen told the Board the applicant for the Johnson Farm complex, Robert Moss of Moss Development, submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals a concept alternative plan that includes modifications to the original plan, most significantly a reduction in the number of units.

Sudbury Planning and Community Development Director Jody Kablack discussed the proposed changes on Wednesday, saying the town has received a draft of the architectural style for one type of building, which shows a reduction in porous pavement and townhouses that are only two stories in height. The updated draft also shows just six units on the Landham Road side.

“We’re passing this through staff and consultants to see if the major issues are mitigated by this plan,” Kablack said. “I think (the plans) have addressed in concept some of the major issues. I think there will be some people who will be happier (with this plan). But if the attitude is the only thing that will make them happy is no units, I think we’ll have to live with it. Going down from 120 units to 64 is a deep decline.”

In the meeting, Dineen said the reduction would not affect the footprint of the complex, adding that the applicant has requested limited project status under Massachusetts Wetlands Protection Act regulations.

From a conservation perspective, that designation would allow the project some different standards from those set by the state, a point questioned by Selectman Bob Haarde, who said he felt that other projects are subject to stricter wetlands standards.

“It is true that 40B (projects) have different standards,” said Dineen.

The ZBA will discuss the alternative plan at its next hearing on March 28. According to Kablack, the current deadline to close the hearing is April 5, but could be extended depending on the results of next week’s discussion.  

“We have 40 days to render a decision from the close of the public hearing, which is still open,” she said.

Also part of the town forum was a preview of 2012 Town Meeting warrant articles by the Community Preservation Committee (CPC). Presented by CPC Chairman Chris Morely, the articles include a request to purchase a restriction on the 94-acre Pantry Brook Farm located on Concord Road near , a property Morely described as having been on “many (state and local) lists” for preservation. If approved by voters, the restriction would prevent future development of the parcel.

Other CPC proposals discussed include one to purchase and restore property at 15 Hudson Road in Town Center for either historic or open space purposes, with the existing structure anticipated to be torn down and future plans possibly to build a small historic museum on the site; the appropriation of funds to install a fire suppression system at Hosmer House and to preserve historic town records; and funds for an architectural and design study of Town Hall. A full listing of the CPC proposals is available on the town website.

Other Board news

  • Following brief remarks by Board Chairman Larry O’Brien, the Board consented to a proclamation designating April 22-28 as Sudbury Earth Week and April 28 Spring Cleanup Day, and urged residents to join a town-wide effort to pick up litter from Sudbury roadsides.
  • The Board approved the gift of a flagpole by HOPEsudbury, to be erected at , in commemoration of the organization’s 10th anniversary. In a letter to the Board, HOPEsudbury said the “gift demonstrates our appreciation of this partnership (with the town) as we continue our joint efforts in support of those less fortunate in the community.”
  • Following a March 15 talk with seniors by State Rep. Jay Kaufman, O’Brien updated meeting attendees on the status of the 2011 Special Town Meeting ballot item pertaining to , saying some 30 seniors attended and that the bill has moved on to the Senate’s Ways and Means committee, where it will go through the next stages of review.

The Board of Selectmen’s next meeting is scheduled for April 3 in Town Hall.

Sudbury Patch editor Robert Fucci contributed to this story.

siobhan hullinger March 23, 2012 at 12:42 AM
Makes you wonder if this wasn't the plan all along? Now we will have greater exposure with the reduction in units yet every unit increases e burden on our already stressed budgets , services and pocket books. If this were truly about opportunity - which I wholeheartedly support, shouldn't current inventory be included in the 40B calculation? Why should our CURRENT low income earners and fixed income folks subsidize developments we have voted that we don't want?
Landham Road March 23, 2012 at 01:52 AM
It is a very good point. It shows how fake 40B is. It is all about building houses not housing people. We have people in Sudbury who make below the income requirement for 40B but have to pay their full share of high Sudbury taxes to subsidize people who make more money than they do and live in these brand new luxury 40B homes paying a lower tax rate. 40B is a joke.
nathaniel fridman March 23, 2012 at 03:04 PM
Hi From a longtime resident from 1963. Any building on a wetland site is still bad news. Two years ago when we had a very high rainfall landham rd was flooded and the traffic was diverted, creating long delays and extended commute times. Secondly the site has to build huge 25,000 gallon sewer tanks that has to be pumped out or recycled. Secondly the natural beauty is destroyed where the little fish, birds and other animals need to have that sanctuary destroyed. Thirdly people in sudbury purchased homes to have this beauty and the rural feeling. The developer is a heartless selfish human. I will do everything legally to prevent this to happen. I proudly signed my name nathaniel fridman 25 christopher lane sudbury call me 617-872-2066.
Thrice Rusty March 23, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Great post Nathaniel. If you will do anything to stop this you will vote for Dan DePompei and Pat Brown this Monday November 26th. I live off Landham Road and decided to get behind Dan DePompei after speaking with both candidates at the dump. Dan seems to have a real plan on how to keep this from happening.
Bryan S March 23, 2012 at 04:30 PM
So the headline of this article says "proposes reduction". The article mentions 120 unit reduction to 64 units. The town comment is that is a "deep reduction" and we should be excited. The town goes on to make it sound like those who are still opposed are unreasonable. But, then you start reading the comments above, and I start getting emails telling me the bedroom count per unit is actually going up. I am not sure if fewer units helps us get to our 40B goals, but fewer units with more bedrooms definitely attracts families. Here is Moss Development commenting about why the 40B he was going to build in Southboro is better than a competitor since his 40B won't attract families: "Moss said he expects concerns about the number of school kids the project will bring to town – and the fact that property taxes from the prjoect may not cover the cost to educate those kids – will be a “big issue” with residents. But Moss said families typically want 3-bedroom apartments, and his plan to make 60% of the units one bedroom and the other 40% two bedroom will “lock out families.” No lock out for Sudbury, unless this bedroom count issue is just wrong. http://www.mysouthborough.com/2011/06/28/developer-shares-detail-about-proposed-140-unit-40b-development/

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