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Owner of Braintree land seeks rezoning for possible residential/commercial complex

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  May 14, 2012 09:17 AM

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Braintree Town Councilors will look at a rezoning request for two properties on Independence Avenue that a developer hopes to turn into a possible condominium and retail complex.

According to Council President Chuck Kokoros, the two properties along Independence Ave are currently blights to the neighborhood.

One has sat vacant since the demolition of building at the location years earlier. It was taken down when the roof collapsed. A vacant warehouse sits on another parcel of land.

Although plans for what may go there are still unclear, the space is in need of some attention, Kokoros said.

“Something has to be done with the property, whether or not a rezone is the right answer, I don’t know,” Kokoros said.

The rezoning determination is separate from what proposals for development might be on hand, Kokoros said. As such, the Ordinance and Rules Committee, and then the full council, will have to weigh all possible scenarios of what could happen with the rezoned space, rather than rezoning it for a specific use.

“Our role is just as it was in the Dave & Busters ordinance change. Though there was someone to come into Braintree looking to put in arcades, our role was to support other than allowing for one or more video game establishments or not,” Kokoros said. “We’re only one piece of it. The other is whatever the developer puts before the planning board or if they decided to go get a building permit for something. [But] that has nothing to do with what we’re talking about.”

Acording to the attorney for the applicant, there is a plan in mind.

“The specifics of the development are still up in the air. It will be some kind of a multi-use facility of residential and commercial. The commercial would be low impact - no Dunkin donuts or 7-11s - more office type use. But majority of the development would be residential in nature,” said John Garland, a Quincy attorney.

According to Garland, there are three different zoning designations on the entire lot. The plan would be to take 7 and 11 Independence Avenue and turn them into a general business designation.

The Planning Board heard the request for rezone on April 10 and voted to recommend it to the full council. The Ordinance Committee will look at the proposal on May 14, with the full council to most likely weigh in on May 15.

There have already been two public meetings about the proposal, though mainly with Braintree residents, Kokoros noted. Any future public hearings would be open to Braintree and nearby Quincy residents, as the proposed site is on the town line.

Because there is a lot still up in the air, there is no timeline for any finished development.

“It’s a community involved process. We’ve had two meeting with the community… going back a year or so, but it’s an involved process. We’ll be meeting with local councilors, town councilors, and community members.” Garland said. “We hope we can reach a point where everyone is in agreement where something productive goes on that site.”

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