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Sunday, December 24, 2006

Cluster developments on the rise

WRENTHAM/REGION

The builder of The Preserve at Oak Hill received special town permission to closely space 62 new large homes on lots that are significantly smaller than standard Wrentham zoning allows. Meantime, the company will donate the undeveloped land, worth roughly $2 million, to the town, a move the builder said gives Oak Hill a selling advantage over traditional subdivisions.

"We believe people would rather have smaller lots with a lot of open space around, rather than a 2-acre lot you have to maintain," Oak Hill developer Howard Bailey said recently, standing on a freshly paved road as workers framed a new home. "Every house in this development will have access to the open space. You can open your backdoor and enjoy it."

Cluster developments, long pushed by environmentalists and smart-growth advocates, are finally catching on with builders who previously did not want the aggravation of pursuing special permits, and with once-wary municipal officials who feared too-dense developments, the Globe reports today.

-- Thomas Caywood

Mashpee, for example, eliminated minimum lot sizes altogether from

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