Tonight, Tuesday, May 24, 2022, developer Steven F. Venicasa’s project engineer, James Tetreault of Azimuth Land Design, LLC presented their plans for 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts which includes:
- No significant changes to Rice Road to address the primary reasons for the denial of the initial proposed Rice Pond Village project containing 46-condominium units;
- 192 apartments with 25% being designated as affordable (48 out of 192);
- Three (3) four-story buildings with 64 apartments each, while not specifically stated will have to be a mix of 1-bedroom, 2-bedroom, and 3-bedroom apartments;
- Thirty (30) garages;
- A dog park; and
- A sea of pavement for the parking spaces covering a majority of the 6.5± acres of the development area.
Selectwoman Mary Krumsiek asked if the developer would be submitting any plans with a more reasonable design that addressed the justifications of the Millbury Planning Board denial. The response was clear that they were not interested in returning to the Millbury Planning Board.
Selectmen Scott Despres immediately spoke up and was quite clear that this was a horrible plan, location, no access, did not address the railroad tracks or crossing, and that he as not in favor of this project as presented. Our neighborhood agrees with Selectmen Scott Despres’ assessment, although we are not surprised at what was presented.
While the developer’s attorney appeared to convey that this was a “done deal” and that town officials had no real say in the matter, but town officials could try to negotiate with the developer, this is simply not true. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is unlikely to ignore the significant public safety issues already raised with proposed 46-condominium units project and now the developers, Steven F. Venincasa and James Venincasa, are threatening the neighborhood and the town of Millbury with a 192 apartment development and all the traffic increases on a inadequate road, is quite honestly not the best approach.
Our neighborhood has dealt with developer Steven F. Venincasa for over a year so we know this is his modus operandi and understand that he tries to imply strength in his position, but simply is a form of weakness. Our neighborhood will continue to defend our single-family neighborhood, the surrounding neighborhoods (i.e., South Main Street, Woodland Street, Herricks Lane, Sycamore Street, Curve Street, Maple Street, Providence Street (Route 122A), Riverlin Street, and beyond), and the town as a whole, as their Chapter 40B LIP plans, if approved, would likely result in drastic and adverse impacts on the surrounding areas of Millbury.