September 1, 2014
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Developer says he’ll ‘wait’ on Major Potter Rd. housing project

Douglas DeSimone is confident that better times are ahead.

That’s why, in a surprise move, the developer withdrew the largest housing development to come before the Planning Board in recent times. DeSimone of Major Potter Associates, LLC, was seeking master plan approval of a cluster subdivision of 13 new single-family homes on almost 19 acres off Major Potter Road. The City Planning Department recommended approval of the development with conditions, a significant step for the developer who faced opposition from neighboring residents.

Many of those neighbors showed up at last Wednesday’s board meeting, only to get up and leave when informed DeSimone was withdrawing the petition.

In a telephone interview, DeSimone was asked whether the conditions being recommended by planners were too restrictive. He said, as proposed, the project is not feasible, adding that the property is “real good land.” He said Monday that it might be a couple of years before returning with another proposal.

“I think it is better sense to sit on it and wait rather than develop it now. This is purely a business decision,” he said.

The withdrawn proposal called for a cul de sac, with a turnaround at the end and houses on both sides of the road. Sites would have ranged from 80 to 244 feet of frontage situated on sites from 23,500 to 32,000 square feet. By regulation, properties must be at least 23,500 to sustain a septic system.

The planning department listed 18 recommendations if the board were to approve the development. Among the more demanding of them were requirements for the developer to repair and resurface the entire width of Major Potter Road to the project site after extension of the natural gas line to the site and installation of a storm water management plan.

In meetings with city planners, DeSimone scaled back the development from 15 to 13 houses and reconfigured plans so that nine acres of woodlands and wetlands would be preserved as open space.

In other action Wednesday, the board gave preliminary approval to subdivide three existing lots on Florin Street and Julian Road off Church Avenue with stipulations to create 11 new lots. Sturbridge Home Builders has plans to build 11 single-family homes on the property.


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