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Belmont receives two proposals for Woodfall Road property

Posted by Tom Coakley  November 6, 2013 12:58 PM

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Two developers have submitted proposals for 5.25 acres of town-owned land on Woodfall Road , in response to the town’s third attempt to sell the controversial property.

Both proposals, which were due on Oct. 31, involve building four single-family homes on the property.

Belmont-based developer Belmont Advisors filed one of the proposals, with Greensbrook Development , Line Company Architects and Phoenix Construction Group listed as partners on the document. Belmont Advisors is offering $2.2 million.

The other developer, Northland Residential Corporation , based in Burlington, Mass., is offering $750,000 .

Belmont Advisors and Northland Residential Corporation did not return requests for comment before press time.

Selectmen had previously said they hoped to receive about $2 million for the property.

The town first tried to sell the land at 108 Woodfall Rd. in 2012 to a hospice, but a group of residents, including former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney’s son Tagg, protested, saying they only wanted to see residential houses on the land. In response, the town placed a restriction on the land stating it could only be sold for residential use.

No developers took the bait the first time the town issued a Request for Proposals for residential use. Town Administrator David Kale said he thought the town was more successful this time because of the upturn in the residential housing market.

“This offer is an opportunity for both these developers to build single-family homes in a highly desirable community,” said Kale. “They’re in the business of development and they feel they can purchase this property from the town and provide four residential units and be able to be successful at it.”

The Woodfall Road property presents a challenge to developers for reasons besides the residential restriction. The property is hemmed in by wetlands, which will restrict the size of three out of four potential residential lots, community development director Glenn Clancy said in August.

Developers will also have to pay $45,000 to the adjacent Belmont Country Club for a barrier separating the golf course from the properties, and will have to extend Greensbrook Way to the lot’s boundary as well as build a road across the lot to serve the development, according to the Request for Proposals.

But developers will not have to provide affordable housing on the site, following a Special Town Meeting vote in May to change the town’s inclusionary housing zoning bylaw.

Kale said now that the town has received the two proposals, it will work with the selectmen to rank the proposals by examining selection criteria.

“That includes looking at things like purchase price, fiscal benefit, type of use, wetlands impact, and addressing buffer issues with regards to the site in relation to the neighborhood,” Kale said.

Kale said he did not have a timeline on when the town would select one of the proposals.

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