On Tuesday, June 15, 2022, the Millbury Board of Selectmen voted to enter negotiations with the developers, Steven F. Venincasa and James Venincasa, for a proposed Chapter 40B LIP project, with a proposed 192-apartments with 48 being affordable (not low-income) apartments, at 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts.
What people need to understand is:
- This vote is for negotiations only. No decisions will be made this point.
- If negotiations result in agreements favorable to our neighborhood and the town, then the Millbury Board of Selectmen could decide to take a vote to either approve or deny a Project Eligibility Letter (PEL) which is required for any developers to make an application with the Massachusetts Housing and Community Development (DHCD).
- Should the Millbury Board of Selectmen approve a PEL, then the Millbury Board of Appeals would be the local decision-makers, which is more of a recommendation than a decision. The final decision-maker is DHCD.
- If a PEL is approved by the Millbury Board of Selectmen, then the Millbury Board of Appeals would schedule and hold one or more public hearing and take public comments in a compressed timeframe, so it is important for town officials and residents to gather their concerns together now.
The majority of the members of the Millbury Board of Selectmen were quite clear that they are not in favor of this proposed project as presented, due to its location, the design, the well-documented public safety issues, the inadequacy of Rice Road, the Providence & Worcester Railroad crossing, the massing (three four story buildings), the lack of a “fit” with the character of the neighborhood, and the environmental concerns.
Mary Krumsiek, Chairperson of the Millbury Board of Selectmen, opened the new business item by clearly stating that she “detests this project” and “wishes it never landed on their desks.” The majority of other members echoed similar assessments and concerns as our neighborhood and residents throughout Millbury have for more than a year.
Mary Krumsiek and David Delaney will represent the Millbury Board of Selectmen in these negotiations with other town officials, consultants, representatives from the Providence & Worcester Railroad’s parent company, etc.
While there are some individuals in town who think this is a “done deal” and that there is “inevitable,” that is simply wrong. Chapter 40B projects can be denied by DHCD or drastically scaled back and modified. DMCD has design criteria that must be met, and public safety is an important part of their decision criteria.
A number of residents from our neighborhood were in attendance in person and via ZOOM. While not a public hearing per se, Mary Krumsiek allowed one neighbor to clarify a point on the pending temporary building moratorium on multi-family dwelling units (3 or more).
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