Island Creek changes again

Written by Administrator  | Created: Friday, 03 July 2009 13:02  |  Category: ROOT
Last Updated: Friday, 03 July 2009 13:02  | Friday, 03 July 2009 13:02

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“I’ve got my tie loosened,” said Zoning Board of Appeals Chairman Dennis Murphy at the beginning of last Thursday’s meeting. “Let’s get some work done.”

The proposed expansion of the 40B project known as Island Creek North has undergone more substantial changes as the town and the developer get closer to a final decision. Out of three commercial buildings originally proposed (for a total of 28,000 square feet,) only one remains. Eight two-story, three bedroom townhouse units will be built in place of the commercial buildings.

“Because we’ve eliminated 75 percent of the commercial space, we’ve created room for the townhouses,” said Ed Marchant, a 40B consultant working with the developer, Keith Properties.

The design of the large apartment buildings in the rear of the proposed development has also changed. Architect Andrew Zaleski said the gutter line of the building has been lowered, reducing its height and making it look more like a three story than a four story building. He said the frontal view of the buildings would be reduced by almost 25 percent.

“Physically, it’s giving a whole different approach,” Zaleski said.

However, ZBA members were still skeptical of the height of the buildings setting a precedent, because four story buildings have traditionally not been allowed in Duxbury.

“It’s a big step for this town, aesthetically,” said ZBA member Michael Gill.

There will also be three covered garages on the property, for a total of 14 spaces. Marchant said the garages are merely a sales incentive and won’t have a major impact on Island Creek’s bottom line.

A drainage basin near the property line Island Creek shares with the First Baptist Church was also redesigned, and a proposed “tot lot” was split into three separate playgrounds.

Although Zoning Board of Appeals members praised the new design, there are still some questions about the projects, mostly revolving around traffic.

At the last hearing, the board and Island Creek’s traffic engineer Jeffrey Dirk discussed a potential traffic light somewhere near the intersection of Tremont Street and Route 3. At the time, there was some question as to how much of a traffic light project the applicant would be willing to pay for.

However, at the board’s most recent meeting on Thursday, Murphy read from a letter from a state agency that appeared to mandate that the developer pay for the design of a new traffic light.

“There’s no doubt that improves the situation,” Murphy said of a new light.

Marchant said he agreed that the state letter appeared to require the payment, but said he wanted to check with Dirk, who was not present at the meeting, before making a 100 percent commitment.

ZBA member Gene Orosz questioned the assertion, made at a previous meeting, that the signal doesn’t have to be there for Island Creek to start the project.

“Without the signal there it’s only going to enhance the problem,” he said. “From my point of view, I would like to see the signal there to start off with.”

Marchant said it wasn’t realistic to make getting the signal a condition of the project’s approval.

“You should just tell everybody in Duxbury they shouldn’t use that road because it’s not safe,” he said. “It’s still going to take a while. These things don’t happen overnight.”

The public hearing is scheduled to continue on July 9, however both sides agree that they won’t be ready to move forward at that point. A meeting is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 3 at the Senior Center.