Selectmen voted 2 to 1 against requiring the developer of West Bay Landing, the proposed "friendly 40B" development off Bay Road, to pay for a consultant to perform an engineering review of the preliminary plans for this 20-unit project with affordable housing.
Selectmen voted 2 to 1 against requiring the developer of West Bay Landing, the proposed "friendly 40B" development off Bay Road, to pay for a consultant to perform an engineering review of the preliminary plans for this 20-unit project with affordable housing.

Planning Board Chairman Amy MacNab wrote selectmen a letter requesting developer Chafik Hamadeh pay $2,000 for the planning board's consultant do an engineering review of the preliminary plans for the development, which consists of ten buildings each with two attached single-family condominiums on ten acres between Torrey Lane and Soule Avenue. Six of the 20 units will be offered as affordable homes.

Hamedah has submitted the project under the Local Initiative Program, a state housing program established to give towns more flexibility in providing affordable housing. Local Initiative projects are also known as "friendly 40B's" because the developer works in a co-operative manner with town officials as he goes through the comprehensive permit process under MGL Chapter 40B.

Selectmen Chairman Andre Martecchini and Selectman Betsy Sullivan voted against requiring the consultant. Selectman Jon Witten voted in favor.

Sullivan said the engineering review would not be a good idea because the plans are so preliminary and because "there is going to be a thorough vetting as we go through this process."

"Adding another fee at this point in the process will probably have little bearing on the final product," said Sullivan.

Witten felt the information provided by the consultant's review would help the selectmen as they decided whether or not to support this project. Under the L.I.P., endorsement by selectmen is the first step in the process and selectmen have not yet voted on this project. Under Chapter 40B, the planning board has no say in the process; instead the zoning board of appeals works with the developer. However, selectmen decided two weeks ago to let the planning board review Hamadeh's plans.

Witten also said the future L.I.P. plans could be more "rudimentary" than those offered by Hamadeh and that requiring an engineering review would be beneficial to the town.

Martecchini, who is an engineer, said he felt selectmen needed to ask the planning board and the local housing partnership to come up with a set of guidelines for future L.I.P applications. However, he was not in favor of requiring the engineering review of Hamadeh's plans because he felt they were "not bad for preliminary plans" and because he didn't see the benefit at this stage in the process.