Developer Nervous About Project Support

At the September 27, 2021 public hearing of the Millbury Planning Board, the developer, Steven F. Venincasa of Whitney Street Home Builders, LLC asked to take a straw poll of the board members to see if there was a super majority who would vote in favor of the project or not. If not, then Steven F. Venincasa wanted to withdraw the project and resubmit it. Richard F. Gosselin, Jr., chairperson of the Millbury Planning Board, denied the request to conduct a straw poll of board members.

If a project is receives an unfavorably decision (denial) by the Millbury Planning Board, the proposed project cannot be resubmitted for a period of two years after the final unfavorable action as defined in Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40A Section 16:

No appeal, application or petition which has been unfavorably and finally acted upon by the special permit granting or permit granting authority shall be acted favorably upon within two years after the date of final unfavorable action unless said special permit granting authority or permit granting authority finds, by a unanimous vote of a board of three members or by a vote of four members of a board of five members or two-thirds vote of a board of more than five members, specific and material changes in the conditions upon which the previous unfavorable action was based, and describes such changes in the record of its proceedings, and unless all but one of the members of the planning board consents thereto and after notice is given to parties in interest of the time and place of the proceedings when the question of such consent will be considered.

MGL Chapter 40A Section 16

If a project is withdrawn by developer, Steven F. Venincasa of Whitney Street Home Builders, LLC, then it can be resubmitted at anytime.

There are five members (regular voting members) and one non-voting alternate member (who can only vote in certain circumstances) of the Millbury Planning Board, so for a super majority, that would mean the project would have to garner four out of the five members to vote in favor of the proposed Rice Pond Village project. It is obviously apparent to Steven F. Venincasa, that he and his company may not have the four votes to gain approval for the proposed project. The majority of the neighborhood (over 70% now) do not support the proposed Rice Pond Village project, as submitted and revised twice for a multitude of legitimate reasons, that include, but are not limited to:

  • The density of the units on the property, plus two additional residential lots, being incompatible and not harmonious with the existing neighborhood;
  • The road conditions and safety issues with Rice Road at the Providence Street (Route 122) and South Main Street, and the significant issues with the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing only allowing one vehicle to pass over it at a time;
  • The additional traffic generated by the proposed Rice Pond Village project with the proposed high dense on a minor access road would likely create traffic issues, congestion, delays, and safety issues;
  • Increased railroad noise from the Providence & Worcester Railroad (abutting the property) and truck noise (from Providence Street (Route 122A)) due to the property basically being clearcut and the existing grades reduced; and
  • Privacy concerns from the property owners who’s properties directly abut the subject property on Rice Road and Jackie Drive.

The neighborhood has consistently and respectfully requested that the Millbury Planning Board deny the proposed Rice Pond Village project as submitted and revised.

As previously articulated, neighbors fully agree that the McLaughlin Family Living Trust, John Antaya and Kathleen (McLaughlin) Mardirosian do have the right to develop their combined parcels of land in full compliance with Millbury’s Zoning Bylaws without the need for a special permit. However, any development proposed should be harmonious with the well established neighborhood of 43 existing single-family households on Rice Road, Thomas Hill Road, Aldrich Avenue and Captain Peter Simpson Road as well as the other 30± surrounding residences on South Main Street, Curve Street, Jackie Drive and Providence Street (Route 122A) and the overall consensus of the existing residents is that their proposed multifamily project is most definitely not harmonious with its surroundings and therefore incompatible.

The McLaughlin Family Living Trust, John Antaya and Kathleen (McLaughlin) Mardirosian should respect the neighborhood‘s desire to keep the neighborhood a single-family neighborhood that is a peaceful and harmonious place to live and raise families in, a benefit that the McLaughlins were afforded as children, rather than being known as destroyers of neighborhoods and greedy profiteers.