By Kim Siebert MacPhail
Planning Director Glenn Garber reported that the 54 Loomis Street development team, in a recent phone conversation, said they intended to set up a meeting “almost immediately” with neighbors of the project.
“That set off some alarm bells. You really need to not rush it or give people a matter of [only] a few days’ notice. Cathy [Silvestrone] was able to help them set up email lists. I persuaded them to push the date out a bit, but they rejected a September time frame. They want to do it well within the month of August,“he said, adding, “I want to make this clear: This is their show. It has absolutely nothing to do with the regulatory process. We’ve only helped them in some mechanical ways.”
Chairman Jon Silver asked whether the property owner and his team had withdrawn their application, but Garber said, though they’d been informed of the time frame issues for project review, the team had decided to keep the file open rather than apply anew. “I think there are many disadvantages to that decision…but they were informed, absolutely,” replied Garber.
On a special permit, the Planning Board has 65 days to convene a hearing, according to Garber. “And once you vote on it, you have 90 days to write a decision so it actually has the same maximum time frame as a definitive plan on a subdivision. They [the developers] are targeting September 12th to return to the Board with revised plans.”
In the way of probable revisions, said Garber, the developer is definitely considering increased retail space and will also try to attract more of a mix of tenants, especially older residents. Planning Board member Sandra Hackman added that the developer also indicated willingness to improve connections from the Minuteman Bike Path to the Narrow Gauge Pathway.