P&Z Hears Development Proposal

Weston Today photo

Preliminary plans for mixed-use development of one of Weston’s “four corners” in the Village District were presented to the Planning and Zoning Commission on July 1 in an exploratory pre-application meeting.

Peter Greenberg of Able Construction, perhaps best known locally for building the Daybreak Commons condominiums in Westport, brought a team to the meeting to discuss transforming the two-acre property at 176 Weston Road into a blend of residential and retail units.

The property is directly across Weston Road (Route 57) from the Jarvis House where Parks and Recreation has offices. St. Francis Church is next door, but the property is owned by the Norfield Congregational Church Society. Mr. Greenberg acknowledged that a purchase and sale agreement is conditioned on local approval of his plan.

The plan, as designed, is to convert the two-story house currently on the property into retail space or a cafe. The ground level of new two-story structures would contain about 6,500 square feet of retail space, which Mr. Greenberg envisions would be occupied by small local businesses. The upper level would be residential.

Christopher Pagliaro conceptual design detail

The upper level would have a total of six two-bedroom units and seven one-bedrooms. There would also be 10 three-bedroom units, each sized at 1,800 square feet.

Pre-application meetings are informal. Nothing said or presented is binding on anyone. Architect Christopher Pagliaro said he hoped to “get the temperature” of the commission about the 10 three-bedroom units, since their specifications exceed regulations enacted when the Village District was created less than three years ago.

The regulations limit the number of bedrooms to two. And the maximum allowable size of a residential unit is 1,100 square feet.

Those limits, said Attorney Eric Bernheim, are “too restrictive to attract investment” in the Village District. Mr. Pagliaro pointed out that allowing three-bedroom units would decrease the total number of parking spaces needed, which matters because the amount of usable land on the parcel is diminished by the presence of wetlands.

Commission chair Sally Korsh acknowledged that this is the first significant project proposed for the new Village District and the first test of how well the regulations meet Weston’s overall goals. She said the meeting was “very informative” and that “we all need to think about” the size limit “and decide how we feel about it.”

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