Chapter 40B Can Be Scaled Back

Case in point, Medfield Meadows is just one example of a proposed Chapter 40B project that was denied and there are other cases too. After the rejection of the proposed Medfield Meadows project by Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (MassHousing), they submitted a new plan that addressed the Chapter 40B requirements, noting that the proposed project was “inconsistent with nearby existing residential building typology.” MassHousing pointed out that “the height, mass and scale of the proposed developments were impediments to approval” and that “the building massing in the original submission was entirely inappropriate for both the site and its relationship to the adjacent residential neighborhood.” The density of the project was also identified as an important factor in denying the proposal, as MassHousing deemed the Medfield Meadows development “simply too dense for the lot on which it is located.”

Each of the reasons for the initial denial of the Medfield Meadows project have some similarities to the proposed concepts plans submitted by developers, James F. Venincasa and James Venincasa, for 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts, in addition there are numerous public safety concerns with the inadequacy of Rice Road and the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing (refer to other blog posts for more details).

Three (3) four story buildings with 192-apartments in a well-established single-family neighborhood where the majority of the homes are single story with a few are two-stories is completely out of scale. We do not believe that there is any four story building anywhere in Millbury, therefore it is out of character for the whole town and surrounding towns.

There are other examples in other surrounding communities that have been drastically scaled back and modified Chapter 40B projects, so the initial 192-apartments is something that should be able to be reduced considerably and all public safety concerns will need to be eliminated.

One of our neighbors recently reminded us that “united we stand, divided we fall.” If we are united, we can mitigate the impacts of this proposed project.