Planning Board Concludes Public Hearing on 555 Hopping Brook Special Permit – Deliberations Are Next

Chair David Thorn called the June 3, 2021, meeting of the Holliston Planning Board to order at a little past 7:00pm.  He welcomed newly elected member Barbara Peatie to the Board.  Josh Santoro, whose elected term ended in May has been appointed an Associate Member for the purpose of completing his participation in the pending CRG Integrated Real Estate Solutions applications.  Ms. Peatie will be able to ask questions of the applicant, but not able to vote in the final disposition.  Mr. Santoro (left below) will join the Board for all deliberations / votes relative to the proposed CRG warehouse.

Planning Board member Karen Apuzzo-Langton (above) illustrated the volume of reports / correspondence the Board has received – and read thoroughly.  Langton went on to suggest a timeframe for the evening’s meeting that would conclude by the 9:00pm curfew set earlier by the Board.

Members from the CRG team had 20 minutes to update the Board.  Much of their time was devoted to changes to the site plan that had been called out by the Town’s peer reviewer, David Faist of CMG engineering.  CRG Counsel Chip Nylen summarized the developer’s efforts to abide by zoning by-laws and public concerns throughout this months-long process.  Concluding by recommending that the Board approve the applications.

Mr. Faist was called on by the Board to provide some initial reactions to the most recent CRG changes.  Mr. Faist had just received the updated plan dated June 1, 2021.  He is still waiting for some documentation and has not had a chance to review fully.  One item he noted was the 30-foot-high berm.  Such a man-made structure will require specialized engineering input.

Mr. Thorn then invited the public to share comments.  The goal was to receive new input – not a repeat of previous input.  Eleven Holliston and Medway residents weighed in.  It appeared to this reporter that the evening’s citizen input served to reinforce concerns raised in earlier sessions: truck traffic, noise, environment, and quality of life in Holliston.   All the speakers were unified in their opposition to the project and implored the Board to deny the applicants proposed building. 

One caller asked if in the large stack of correspondence, the Board had received there were supporters of the project.  The Board cited a couple of supporting messages. 

The Holliston residents commended the members of the coalition objecting to the development for their, “brilliance and dedication, doing their homework” to present their case.  Some citizens postulated that “CRG did not understand Holliston and its fabric of life.”

After hearing from those citizens, Mr. Thorn asked Town Counsel, Jay Talerman, to outline possible next steps the Board could take. 

Talerman (above) indicated that if the Board was satisfied that all the facts are in that the Public Hearing could be closed.

The Board acted upon Attorney Talerman’s input by voting to close the Public Hearing on CRG Integrated Real Estate Solutions application for a Special Permit at 555 Hopping Brook Road.  By closing the Hearing, the Board now has 90 calendar days to render a final decision.

Talerman suggested that like a jury, the Chair could ask for a non-binding poll of the members to get a sense of where they are at this point in time – before any official deliberation / discussion has begun.  The Board (including Mr. Santoro, excluding Ms. Peatie) were unanimous in their No vote. 

Deliberations will be closed – no additional input from the applicant or citizens – but will be open for all to view.  No date has been set for the deliberation to begin – pending clarification on if Zoom will be approved as part of the Commonwealth’s Open Meeting Law after June 15, 2021.  As soon as adequate access arrangements are in place the Board’s deliberation session(s) will be posted on the Town’s calendar.

The next Planning Board meeting is on June 17, 2021, and will be a Public Hearing on the Marshall Street Solar project.

Chris Cain

1 Comment

  1. Judy Blank on June 10, 2021 at 8:59 pm

    Is it true that the town has the right to limit the hours of operation at the site, as one resident had mentioned several weeks ago. Also, has the question of the vernal pools on the site been addressed?

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