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Woodard: We're Being Driven by 40B on Melone Property

Selectman vice chair asks Community Preservation Committee for $150K to complete the property engineering study.

Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Chuck Woodard, left, gives a presentation to the Community Preservation Committee on Dec. 4, asking for $150,000 to complete the development plan at the Malone property. Staff photo by Robert Fucci
Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Chuck Woodard, left, gives a presentation to the Community Preservation Committee on Dec. 4, asking for $150,000 to complete the development plan at the Malone property. Staff photo by Robert Fucci

The Melone property in Sudbury has been a hotly debated topic over the past few years as the town grapples to figure out the best use for the land.

Last year, Sudbury asked Larry Koff Associates, a land use planning firm, and its consultant team to investigate the potential land value if it were to be sold for private redevelopment. The greatest site value, according to the report, would be for either multifamily rental or garden condo development, closely followed by a townhouse condo complex. 

During the Dec. 4 Community Preservation Committee meeting, Board of Selectmen Vice Chair Chuck Woodard asked for $150,000 in Community Preservation Act funds to complete the development plan.

"The reason for the request is 40B," he said, alluding to a program created by Massachusetts in 1969 to allow developers to override local zoning bylaws in order to increase the stock of affordable housing in municipalities where less than 10 percent of the housing stock is defined as affordable. "Sudbury is at 6 percent. Some argue we’ll never get to 10 percent. But the Board should use all the tools to get to that goal. The closer we are to 10 percent, the fewer possibilities of more 40B developments."

The CPC only heard proposals this night and did not vote or take any position on them.

The entire Melone property is 20 acres. About 12 of those acres would be used for development.

The site is located off North Road (Route 117), a rural but often busy road connecting the towns of Concord and Maynard, and is situated 2.5 miles from the train station in West Concord and 3 miles from the Lincoln train station.

Surrounding the site is a rural setting, bordered to the west by two age restricted developments and an office development in a campus setting, wetlands to the north and east, agricultural fields and a water supply well to the immediate south, and a series of walking trails in the town of Concord.

"What we’d like to do is retain an engineering consultant to conduct a public process in deciding the best use of the property and identify the development constraints of the property," Woodard said. "We need a consultant to write a district bylaw to be adopted by the town and expect a consultant RFP for commercial developers."

Thomas Friedlander of the Conservation Committee asked whether meeting the 10 percent was the driving force.

"The 40B issue pushed us in this direction," Woodard said. "The bigger issue is this is a beautiful town with significant amounts of undeveloped land. We want this done tastefully in relation to the zoning bylaws. 40B says we don’t have to follow your bylaws and that’s not good." 

Should rental units be built they would be mixed housing, not all affordable housing.

"This doesn’t have to be affordable rental, just rental to meet our goals," CPC Chair Christopher Morely said.

CPC member Robert Beagan asked whether the land should be studied for more of a recreational use, including athletic fields.

"Park and Recreation has been the driving force to get a feasibility study completed," he said. "Has there been talk of making it more of a priority instead of secondary?"

"We’re being driven by 40B," Woodard said.
John Q. Sybian December 05, 2013 at 07:22 PM
Woodard is being driven by 40B. 40B is driven by developer greed and lawyers' billable hours. Bummer.
siobhan hullinger December 06, 2013 at 07:50 AM
Has there been a decision on the Johnson Farm appeal yet?
pmotw December 06, 2013 at 08:38 AM
Mr. Woodard, How about some FREE consulting advice? Do nothing with the property. These 40B projects are making a lot of taxpaying people very angry!
M G December 07, 2013 at 02:50 PM
A 40B property on that side of town? I'll believe it when I see it.
Spirit of 01776 December 07, 2013 at 11:00 PM
Haynes is going to be crowded enough when Nixon closes -- a 40B will really shake things up. Haynes' test score hegemony could be at stake here.
Chris Rega December 11, 2013 at 10:57 AM
The traffic on 117 east in the morning already backs up from Rt 126 to Sudbury Road (Nine Acres). Not to mention the backup on Sudbury Road at the Rt 2 intersection. The addition of high density housing in this area will make an already bad situation worse.
Let's Open our eyes December 11, 2013 at 11:30 AM
All I hear is complaints. Why is the response ALWAYS, "Not here; not now!"? If not there, then WHERE?! If not now, then WHEN?! Shall we wait for another Johnson Farm to piss off an entire section of town. Not one single compliment for addressing an issue proactively. I for one applaud the study and development. I'm sure Chuck can adequately protect the town's benmefit of this important asset. Developing Maloney in combination with a sewer and rezoning the business district on route 20 will allow for some more rental housing and take us over the 10% riding us from the harmful impact of the ridiculous law to our town, for good! Traffic in small towns in New England sometomes sucks. Deal or move. School poulations fluctuate - deal with it or move. If you want a good school system, stay and use the incremental tax revenue from the rental units (likely with low schoool population because our rents are stratoshperic) to fund additional teachers and appropriate building renovatons. Do better poeple! Be creative, come up with some ideas to ADD to the conversation. Shouting "No, I don't like it" like a spoiled brat doesn't help you or your neighbors.
pmotw December 11, 2013 at 04:06 PM
Deal with it or move on? No one has a right to voice their own opinion? What happened to democracy? Didn’t a majority of the town vote against 40B? Does that matter anymore? How about caring about your neighbor rather them telling them to deal with it or move on? What are your ideas? Let them do what they want? I applaud those who care about the entire town and voice their concerns. Not those who insult others. Why does the town have to sell our land to 40B developers? I say leave the land as is or build ball fields. 40B will be repealed some day and it will be too late for some towns that allow this flawed law to alter the character of their homes. The town is not run efficiently as it is. Just look at all the waste going on at LS and we want to give them more revenue? What about all the unfunded liability? Are your taxes not high enough? Clearly this town has financial management issues as is. Let’s not make it any more challenging for them.
siobhan hullinger December 13, 2013 at 08:23 AM
We don't need anymore housing on Rt 20. The road can't support it and it's a state road so expansion funds will be low priority. Adding sewer to rt 20 will allow 40B and other high density housing distinctions to NOT be limited to number of units. With sewer, I see potential development of Barlett Farms, the group of homes along Easy Street/Uplook including a Selectman's home, the disaster to look at Volvo repair shop across the street, the entrance to Lafayette, the many, many acres all along rt 20 to Marlboro. I don't have faith that current leadership will do the right thing for the town as a whole. Consider this: No plan developed through current leadership and the various planning departments has ever included a financial impact study. Without that, how can we have an intelligent conversation about the town.

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