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Milton to solidify options for Granite Avenue Park and Ride

Posted by Jessica Bartlett  December 4, 2013 05:03 PM

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Though future ownership of the land hasn't been settled, Milton officials have agreed to work with the state to devise redevelopment options for the Granite Avenue Park and Ride lot

The state would help create streetscape plans and provide technical assistance for various potential uses. Among the options that have considered are residences, a mixed-use development, and a hotel that has drawn vehement objections from neighbors.

“[The state] will take the things not completely knocked off [the list] and run it through the streetscape, the warrants, see what the traffic issues are,” said Planning Director William Clark.

The Granite Avenue Park and Ride Committee will meet again on Dec. 11 to narrow down choices before handing over the suggestions to MassDevelopment and town-hired engineers Beals and Thomas Inc.

A more solidified plan will be necessary in case the town has to buy several acres of the parcel.

Plans have been under way for over a decade to obtain the land off I-93. The parcel, which fronts Granite Avenue, includes 200 parking spaces and is valued at an estimated $6 million.

Currently used as a Park and Ride by the MBTA, the hope is for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, which currently owns the land, to declare the parcel as “surplus,” subsequently offering the land to the town.

Yet a change with the state enacted over a decade ago may complicate that process, said State Senator Brian Joyce.

“What used to happen is the property was often offered to the municipality for free. That changed…where when the state is disposing of surplus property, they need to get fair market value," Joyce said.

If a surplus designation was obtained, Joyce hopes to pass any cost to the proposed developer.

"Theres going to be a net positive," Joyce said. "The town wouldn’t do it unless there was a net positive fiscal benefit, but it's possibly not as lucrative as it once was."

The town is still waiting on the surplus determination, but officials said they are trying to be prepared regardless of the state's decision.

“We want to be proactive, not reactive,” Clark said.

Clark said the committee will determine what to do with the property no later than spring.

“We’re trying to find something that can help sustain the town…having it as a parking lot, that does not serve the town of Milton, does not help the town of Milton,” Clark said.

The Park and Ride Committee also added a Citizens Speak portion to each agenda to allow the public to express opinions throughout the process.

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