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Planning Board Approves Waltham Street Apartment Project

Developers say the key was cutting down the size of the project, neighbors were disappointed.

Developers of the 155-unit Waltham Street apartment complex finally got the vote they sought for five months, approval of the project by the Planning Board.

The Planning Board voted 4-1 to approve the plans Wednesday night, with Linda Tuttle-Barletta voting against the project.

Over the months since the project first came before the Planning Board in November, developers from Wood Associates and then to 155. The latest version replaced one of the three apartment buildings with a set of 12 townhouses.

was key to getting approval of the project that faced major opposition from neighbors and scrutiny from the Planning Board, said Kevin Malley, vice president with Wood Associates.

“We knew that was the crux,” Malley said.

Most projects would not work if 30 percent of the units were cut, Malley said, but they worked it out by cutting out the street-level, under building parking.

“We are lucky to still be here,” Malley said. “We were able to eliminate an expensive part of the plan.”

Malley said he hopes to start construction this fall. A few steps remain, including getting the approval of the Conservation Commission. They will appear before the commission next month.

Residents who packed the Council Chamber in Town Hall left with long faces. , saying it would add many cars to already crowded roads, and that a major apartment complex is out of place in an area of single-family homes. Wednesday night they but they were more reserved, though still opposed.

State Rep. John Lawn, who lives in and represents the West Side, said he opposed the proposal, and now wants to make sure the neighborhood is not harmed by the project.

“I, like everyone, wish it could remain open space,” Lawn said. “But it is private property and they have property rights.”

He said he would watch the project, to make sure developers live up to their agreements, and make sure that the town improves roads and makes them safer, as residents have been promised.

Developers will clean up Walker Pond, which is on their property, as well as make improvements to the roads and sidewalks in the area.

Improvements include:

  • A four-way stop sign at Waltham and Bridge streets
  • Building a sidewalk from the Waltham line to Stanley Street
  • Making a pedestrian path down Stanley Street to Pleasant Street
  • Make road improvements near Bemis Park

Resident Candi Aulenbach said she is not sure whether the changes will help cut down traffic in the area. She sees traffic as a town-wide problem, and it should be considered when dealing with future projects. There is one good thing that came from the project, she said.

“It’s still hard to swallow,” Aulenbach said. “It did increase town activism, town awareness and make the town think about how they will handle this.”

Joe April 12, 2012 at 04:49 PM
Not surprised it was approved, more tax money coming in. Where exactly on the street is this development going, is it where the old abandoned Raytheon parking lot is across from the side of Gore Place?
Joe April 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
In front of the Jewish center/school?
Sonny Beaches April 13, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Nope the empty lot West of the Academy.
B. Murphy April 13, 2012 at 02:15 AM
sonny, do you think this development is well-considered? you seem to have a good understanding of community development and planning. is there any relevant information you could supply about this proposal?
Charlie Breitrose April 13, 2012 at 11:02 AM
Yes, Raytheon was on parcel that is across from Gore Street, just west of the Jewish Community Day School. The apartments will go on a portion of that land.

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