$20K For Offsite Improvements

On Monday, December 13, 2021, James Tetreault, from Azimuth Land Design, LLC, the project engineer for the proposed Rice Pond Village project responded in writing to questions from Charles Hunter, of the Providence & Worcester Railroad (a subsidiary of Genesee and Wyoming Railroad) in a letter to the Town of Millbury Planning Board with the following exchange:

Is the developer prepared to pay all costs associated with widening the paved surface and additional gates & lights?

Charles Hunter, Genesee and Wyoming Railroad

Additional gates & lights are not proposed. The developer will pay all costs reasonably associated with the improvements shown on the above referenced plan.

James Tetreault, PE, CPESC, Azimuth Land Design, LLC

We now know, based upon the Monday, December 13, 2021, Millbury Planning Board public hearing, that developer, Steven F. Venincasa, defines “reasonable” as “not more than $20,000” for all offsite improvements related to the proposed Rice Pond Village project and that he has no intension of paying for any upgrades to the railroad crossing and demanded that the Millbury Planning Board strike that condition from the proposed order of conditions for the proposed Rice Pond Village project, which would include, but not be limited to:

  • Widening the pavement width of Rice Road to a consistent minimum of 22-feet (it should be 26-feet in width)
  • Reconfiguring the intersection of Rice Road with South Main Street
  • Adding a 4-foot wide sidewalk (it should be 5-feet wide with a 3-foot grass strip between) from South Main Street in a southeasterly direction on the north side of Rice Road to a point perpendicular to the east side of Aldrich Avenue
  • Relocating a minimum of two utility poles
  • Relocating a fire hydrant at the intersection of Rice Road and South Main Street
  • Reduce the grade and transition in height between Rice Road and South Main Street
  • Widening and improving Rice Road near the intersection with Providence Street (Route 122A)
  • Installing a retaining wall along the railroad tracks near Providence Street (Route 122A)
  • Upgrading the existing railroad crossing, which is estimated to be between $300,000 to $325,000

Think about it, $20,000 is nothing for offsite improvement costs. Twenty-thousand dollars is 0.001% of the estimated gross profits of $18,400,000 for the sale of the proposed 46 condominium units, the net profits would be less after expenses.

A credible source indicated that an estimate for the reconfiguration of intersection of Rice Road at South Main Street and the widening of the road to 22-feet, not including the railroad signals and crossing reconfiguration improvements, or the improvements to the intersection of Providence Street (Route 122A) would be upwards of $1,000,000+, which is not in the town’s budget. The “Downtown Revitalization Stormwater Project” was approximately $1,000,000± which is less distance than the length of Rice Road. The “Downtown Revitalization Stormwater Project – Phase 2” is $1,000,000± is also a shorter distance than Rice Road.

Developer, Steven F. Venincasa, said at the public hearing “I’m not sure what there is to think about.” The developer, Steven F. Venincasa, is clearly not interested in making any meaningful offsite improvements to improve the adequacy of the Rice Road right-of-way to ensure the safety of the road users or lessening the impact on the neighborhood, even though the Millbury Planning Board are contemplating certain waivers to allow this proposed project to be sited on a site and right-of-way that are not adequate (i.e., 40-foot right-of-way verses the required 50-foot right-of-way; 22-feet of pavement width verses the required 26-feet of pavement width; elimination of the required grass strip between the road and sidewalk; a 4-foot sidewalk verses the required 5-foot sidewalk, etc.). Therefore, the neighborhood are respectfully requesting that the Millbury Planning Board vote to deny all special permit and requested waivers for the proposed Rice Pond Village project, as submitted and revised to date.