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Sudbury Town Meeting’s zoning change makes way for retail, housing development

By Brittney McNamara
MetroWest Daily News, Framingham

Posted Jun. 13, 2016 at 10:36 PM

SUDBURY – Voters passed a special zoning district for the former Raytheon land, bringing the town’s vision of a more bustling Rte. 20 corridor closer to reality.

Special Town Meeting on Monday night approved a zoning overlay district that will make possible National Development and Avalon Bay’s proposed Meadow Walk project at 526 and 528 Boston Post Road. The move, town officials said at the meeting, is the product of a decades-long discussion to bring more business and vibrancy to Rte. 20.

The zoning overlay district allows commercial development only on the 50 acres of former Raytheon land, meaning National Development’s proposed restaurant, retail and age-restricted housing at Meadow Walk can go forward.

Plans call for 60 age-restricted condominiums, 54 beds for memory-care patients, restaurants, shops like nail salons, a Whole Foods and 250 apartments. Those apartments must still be approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals and were unaffected by Monday night’s vote.

All together, the town expects the project to bring in around $800,000 in net tax revenue, but the changes come with costs. Planning Board member Dan Carty said the town’s education costs could rise $600,000 to $1.1 million because of the projected 65 students who will live in the development. To help lessen the project’s impact, the developers offered $2.5 million in one-time payments for various town departments as part of a town-signed agreement, a new traffic light to help with traffic near the Shaw’s plaza, money for a new fire station and other incentives.

In addition to the immediate impacts, the agreement allows Town Meeting to extend the overlay district to certain other parcels in town that would allow landowners to bring in more commercial development. The overlay agreement hinges, however, on a Town Meeting vote, giving residents general control over what comes into town, officials said.

“This is a plan that has long been in development,” Selectmen Chairwoman Susan Iuliano said. “The Planning Board has been working on some aspects of this plan going back to the 1990s. We’re here tonight because the Raytheon company is leaving Sudbury. Raytheon asked the town what its preferences were. The development plan before you tonight is a careful…response.”

Residents questioned the impact of the development on traffic, town water and the environment, but the project faced little opposition as a whole. One resident, however, questioned whether the development will benefit existing residents, or only change the town’s character to fulfill a years-long dream.

Town Meeting voted overwhelmingly to approve the overlay district, accept the Meadow Walk master plan and accept land for a new fire station from developers. Town Meeting had not voted on articles 4, 5 and 6 by the Daily News’ print deadline.