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Future of church site to be discussed in Wellesley

Posted by Caitlin Castello  January 14, 2010 09:49 AM

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p class="byline">By Caitlin Castello, Town Correspondent

The Wellesley Planning Board has scheduled public hearings next week on two controversial properties along Route 9.

Potential site plans for St. James the Great Church and traffic concerns regarding a proposed CVS will be discussed at the Jan. 20 meeting.

Since last month, the Planning Board has been working with a group of consultants to develop some concept plans should the land where St. James the Great is located is ever be sold by the Archciocese of Boston, said Michael Zehner, assistant planning director for Wellesley.


“This meeting will be with the Planning Board to review several general concept plans and to solicit the Board’s recommendations for three preferred land use scenarios in order to move forward with more detailed design development review,” states the public notice of the hearing.

On Oct. 31, 2004, the Archdiocese of Boston announced St. James was on the list of parishes to close. Parishioners immediately began holding a vigil at the church and appealed to the Archdiocese to reconsider the decision. Parishioners marked their 5th year of vigil last fall.

The study is not complete, said Zehner. A kick-off meet with the consultants, residents and parishioner was Dec. 14. Ideas were shared, but nothing deicide, said Zehner.

After the St. James the Great hearing at 7:30 p.m., the public hearing for the proposed CVS at 978 Worcester Street will continue over traffic concerns at 8 p.m.

Residents of Overbrook Drive and the surrounding streets have voiced concerns and discontent over the possibility of a 12,900- square foot building with 65 parking spots.

Beechwood Road resident Andrew Schneider said he feels the study already conducted by traffic engineers is flawed, and that more variables than traffic should be considered.

The Board of Selectman reviewed the traffic study and sent a letter of recommendations to the Planning Board that include asking the developer of a proposed CVS to conduct a neighborhood traffic study upon the completion of the project and add a traffic signal at Overbrook Drive, if the plan is approved.

‘‘To consider having a light going into our neighborhood is inconceivable to us because traffic is so bad already,’’ said Beechwood Road resident Suzanne Palacino.

Caitlin Castello can be reached at caitlincastello@gmail.com.

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