Planning and Zoning Commissioners recently denied a public hearing waiver request for a six-unit apartment complex on the corner of Route 10 and Higgins Road.
During the Commission’s May 9 meeting, Commissioners heard from Jonathan Ricci, representative for 687 South Main Street LLC. Ricci explained that he was seeking the Commission’s approval to waive the public hearing for the project, which was previously approved as a special permit for residential infill.
“This is something that you guys have seen a couple of times previous,” Ricci said. “We just shrank the buildings. We went from seven units to six units and actually combined two buildings into one, and pulled it back away from Route 10 a little bit.”
The original project, which was reviewed by the Commission in 2020 before property owner John Ricci withdrew the plan, called for two buildings with four and three residential units, respectively. Ricci called the new project “a little bit simplified” from the original plan.
Commissioners, however, were hesitant to approve the waiver, instead wanting to give residents the opportunity to speak on the new application if they so choose.
Commissioner Matt Bowman added that there was no lighting plan submitted as part of the new project, commenting that the application is “incomplete.”
“There is no lighting plan there, and this needs to be part of this application,” Bowman said. “I think it’s significant enough that, at least in my opinion, I think it needs to go back to a public hearing.”
Bowman continued by saying that a public hearing should not impede on a construction timeline.
“I don’t think it’s going to delay you at all if we can certainly have a public hearing and act upon it if there’s no input from the public,” stated Bowman.
Fellow Commissioner Rob Brucato agreed, reflecting that the new design of the building changes the scope of the project.
“The whole face of it changes how much you’re going to see on Route 10,” Brucato said.
Ricci, however, argued that the new proposed building sits farther back from Route 10 than the original buildings, providing for “a better sight line.” The units, as proposed, are approximately 1,800 square-foot, three-bedroom apartments.
The changes to the project will also result in less impervious surface on the site, Ricci added.
The public hearing is slated for the Commission’s next meeting, scheduled for May 23.