By Dot Bergin
The Planning Board deliberated at length on October 13 before voting to recommend disapproval of an article to amend the By-Law governing Page Place Condominiums at the upcoming Special Town Meeting on November 2. The petitioners-Page Place Condominium trustees- are requesting an increase in the number of units from 31 to 46 and the addition of garages. The owners say there is a demand for larger units from some residents already living at Page Place and new construction would bring in additional funds to help preserve the existing condos, which are beginning to show signs of age. One “sticking point” as expressed by the Planning Board is the proposed maximum size of 2400 sq ft for some units.
But how big is big enough? The Planning Board continues to grapple with this question, both in regard to Page Place and in their review of other residential projects currently before them. Board members have strongly expressed their views that the size of dwelling units in Page Place and in other residential developments under review is a critical factor. A maximum size of 2400 sq. ft., proposed for several new units at Page Place, appeared to make some Board members uncomfortable. They expressed a preference for units in the 2000-2100 sq. ft. range, in hopes of getting the price down to a “moderate” range of $400,000 to $600,000 per unit. (Long- time residents may gasp at this definition of “moderate” but it is accurately reflective of changing real estate prices in town.) At least one Planning Board member was adamant in her hope that an affordable unit or units might be in the proposed mix.
The Board repeatedly acknowledged the dearth of moderately priced housing in town, a deficit that is squeezing out young families, seniors and empty nesters. The PDR proposed for South Road came in for favorable mention for its size range of 1800 to 2200 sq. ft. and its inclusion of a unit for a disabled resident and an affordable unit.
Attorney Pam Brown, representing Page Place Condominium trustees, said that her client would likely propose an amendment on the floor of Town Meeting.