Old Gilcreast Orchard To See 96-Unit Development

Gilcreast Road will be seeing a 96-Unit Development constructed in the near future after the plan was given the green light by the Planning Board last week.
On Wednesday, June 12, the Planning Board held a continued public hearing for a formal review of a site plan for a proposed 96-unit multi-family residential development and associated site improvements for the property located at 35 Gilcreast Road.
Joseph Maynard, who was representing the applicant, Gilcreast Realty Holdings LLC, explained that currently the lot is developed with an old Apple Orchard that hasn’t been maintained in years.
“It has not been maintained in about 20 years,” Maynard said previously.
He said the property is about 21.2 acres in size and the proposal is to build 96 units of townhouse style units with about three to eight units per building.
“We’re looking to develop this land as 96 units,” Maynard said.
He explained that they got a positive recommendation from the Heritage Commission after going back to them after comments were made by the commission and the changes were made.
One of the main items discussed was in regards to the traffic analysis for the proposed plan. It was also explained previously that they were asked as part of the traffic study to incorporate the proposal down the road to build 67 units, which received a conditional approval later on in the meeting.
In terms of traffic, Kim Hazzarvartian, a Traffic Engineer for the project, said that during peak hours there would be 12 trips entering in the morning, and 32 in the evening from the project based on the traffic analysis. He explained that essentially the peak hours are when traffic is most heavy on the road, where people would be turning onto from the development.
A number of residents spoke during the meeting about the traffic issues that exist on the road, including speeding. One resident for example said she often is walking in the neighborhood, and views crossing the road to be dangerous due to Gilcreast.
Planning Board member, Jeff Penta, mentioned that the concerns raised by residents at the meetings regarding the project about the intersections and speed are valid.
“That’s their lived experience,” Penta said about the residents’ concerns.
Another question raised was in regards to the impact on the schools.
Assistant Town Manager, Kellie Caron, said based on the formula, it would attribute approximately 17 students.
Former Town Manager and a consultant for the project, Kevin Smith, noted that the development rights for the project went to a “public referendum vote back in 2021,” saying it passed with almost 1,900 votes to sell the development.
He added that no one disagrees that traffic isn’t necessarily an issue, but the town should look at a full traffic study for different roads in town.
Planning Board Alternate member, Tony DeFrancesco, said he thinks they need to look at how to manage traffic, including looking at things like stop signs in different spots on Gilcreast, saying that he would attend the Traffic Safety Committee meeting in July to discuss traffic management. The Planning Board ultimately gave its conditional approval for the project on a 7-1 vote with Planning Board member, Lynn Wiles, voting against it, noting that he was concerned that they don’t know what is going on with the different infrastructure issues in the area, and he felt it was premature to approve the project at this point.

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