On Tuesday, February 15, 2022, Steven F. Venincasa and James Venincasa presented concept plans for a Chapter 40B development in Grafton, Massachusetts to the Town of Grafton Select Board with 300 dwelling units on 14.6± acres with a proposed project address of 14 Snow Road. The concept plan illustrated for 256 apartments and 44 townhouses.
This is a preview of the type of high density that developer, Steven F. Venincasa, threatened the neighborhood and Town of Millbury with, if the Millbury Planning Board did not concede to his demand to remove the conditions of having to fund the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing improvements at Rice Road. On Monday, February 7, 2022, a week prior to the Millbury Planning Board rendering a decision on the proposed Rice Pond Village project, Millbury town officials met with James Venincasa (nephew of Steven F. Venincasa) to discuss a concept plan for just under 225 apartments on 15.4522± acres, under Chapter 40B (affordable housing) on the Rice Pond Realty Trust and McLaughlin Family Living Trust properties with a project address of 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts.
As the Town of Millbury’s town counsel addressed in the drafting of the denial decision of the proposed Rice Pond Village project, “…the residential neighborhood in the vicinity of the project currently has relatively low density development consisting of single family homes on lots ranging from one-third of an acre to more than half an acre…” and “… significantly increasing the density in the neighborhood and having a detrimental impact upon the character of the neighborhood, contrary to the purposes of Section 22 of the Zoning Bylaws.”
The neighborhood and residents of the Town of Millbury must continue to engage in the permitting process to ensure that any development is in full compliance with the town’s regulations, all road and railroad crossing inadequacy issues are engineered to promote public safety, and is in harmony with the surrounding land uses (i.e., single-family homes).
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With such a high density of development, the proposed Rice Pond Village project will affect more than the residents and road users of: Rice Road, Thomas Hill Road, Aldrich Avenue, and Captain Peter Simpson Road; it will most likely have significant impacts on residents and road users in an outward spider web of roads that will include, but not be limited to: South Main Street, Providence Street (Route 122A), Woodland Street, Herricks Lane, Curve Street, Sycamore Street, Maple Street, Dudley Road (in Sutton), etc. with 500± or more vehicles per day to and from the proposed Rice Pond Village project, plus the drastic increase in delivery (i.e., Amazon, UPS, FedEx, etc.) and service vehicle (i.e., trash dumpster pick-up, heating fuel delivery, etc.) to support them.