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Once rebuffed, Hillside Street developer returns with 77-unit 40B plan

Posted by Dave Eisenstadter  August 21, 2013 10:18 PM

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Milton is likely to face yet another proposal for a 40B housing development, this one for 77 two- and three-bedroom townhouse units on Hillside Street.

Todd Hamilton, former candidate for the Planning Board in April, told selectmen at a meeting Wednesday that he would apply for 40B status for the project on Feb. 5.

Hamilton, a Holland Street resident, previously tried to build three houses with four-acre lots, but was opposed by neighbors and the Planning Board. The Planning Board voted 2-to-2 in October regarding Hamilton’s petition for three houses, which was not enough to approve it.

“I’m pretty much done with that,” Hamilton said of listening to neighbor’s opposition. “I’ve tried everything, but their attitude is ‘pay the tax, don’t use your land for anything.’ That’s all I’m hearing from the neighbors.”

He said he was counting on the state to approve his project based in part on the fact that much less than 10 percent of Milton housing stock is classified as affordable. In communities below the threshold, the state's 40B affordable housing law gives developers broad exemptions from local zoning ordinances if they set aside a certain percentage of the housing units at below-market rates.

Milton’s local boards would thus have a more difficult time denying the project, according to 40B law.

Hamilton had also previously accused Planning Board Chairman Alexander Whiteside, a Hillside Street resident, of abusing his position to block development near his home.

Whiteside had sent Hamilton’s lawyer suggestions of ways to change the application that Hamilton took as demanding, he said at the time.

Whiteside went on to defeat Hamilton in the election in April with 60 percent of the vote.

Hamilton’s proposed development would also include a bridge from Ford Ranch Road, something the Planning Board had suggested the development required during hearings, according to Hamilton.

Under this 40B proposal, 25 percent of the units would be made available to those who make 80 percent or below of the average income in the area.The other 75 percent would be at market rate, Hamilton told selectmen.

“I think the town is lacking some nice townhouses,” Hamilton said.

Milton is currently working against another 40B project – Milton Mews – that would bring 276 units to Brush Hill Road.

When Selectwoman Katie Conlon asked if Hamilton could be persuaded to return to his original plan, Hamilton said no.

“I’m done – I spent too many years on that,” he said. “I’ve never been through so much fight for three house lots that were four acres apiece.”

“The Planning Board fueled the fight is what they did,” Hamilton added.

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