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St. Thomas More condo proposal gets a major boost in Braintree. Here's how
St. Thomas More condo proposal gets a major boost in Braintree. Here's how
St. Thomas More condo proposal gets a major boost in Braintree. Here's how

Published on: 03/29/2024

Description

BRAINTREE − The proposed rezoning of the St. Thomas More Church property has picked up a key supporter.

District 2 Town Councilor Joseph Reynolds, who represents the neighborhood, said in a letter that the change has his full support, calling it a "balanced and beneficial option."

With prices of about $700,000 for each of the proposed 48 condominiums, Reynolds said the development would raise the value of surrounding homes.

He said the proposed development would be "the least-disruptive option" among the possible uses for the property, which include single-family houses, an assisted living center, a day care center and apartments.

At a planning board meeting two weeks earlier, Reynolds said he had not made up his mind about the proposal.

His letter was read at Wednesday's meeting of the town council's ordinance and rules committee. After hearing from opponents and proponents of the proposal, the committee postponed a vote on a recommendation to the full council until an upcoming meeting that has not been scheduled.

Councilor-at-Large David Ringius, who chairs the committee, said that means the council's public hearing on the proposal, advertised for Tuesday, will be moved to its April 30 meeting.

Developer George Clements is seeking to rezone the 12-acre property from Residence B to Residence C. He wants to build 48 condominiums on the property: 13 townhouses, 10 duplexes and 15 detached dwellings.

The units would be designated for owners age 55 and older, the first such development in the town. He would also donate 5 acres of undeveloped land to the town for conservation use.

While the former parish school would be torn down, Clements is taking a second look at the possibility of renovating the church.

He has an agreement to buy the property from the Boston archdiocese. He said the agreement is non-contingent and he hopes to close on the property soon.

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"We do need to make some plans for the property and to make them soon," he said.

Earlier this month, the planning board voted 3-2 to recommend the zoning change to the council.

Some of the speakers pointed out that the zoning change would allow up to 87 apartments on the property and that there are no guarantees that Clements will develop the property according to the plans presented.

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"We're going to have a big building," said Nancy Kennedy, of Blanchard Boulevard. "This isn't appropriate for our neighborhood."

Jean O'Brien Bobeck, of Park Street, said the town has plenty of space for multifamily development in areas recently rezoned under the MBTA Communities Act, but lacks space for new single-family houses.

Stephen DaCosta, whose Blanchard Boulevard home borders the church property, supported the change, saying he is concerned that the land would be used for an assisted living facility or other use that would generate a lot more traffic.

"This is the best alternative I could think of," DaCosta said.

District 6 Town Councilor Peter Morin said the fate of the church is an emotional issue because of the sacrifices parishioners made to build and maintain the property.

He said that since the archdiocese designated the building as no longer needed for religious use in October 2022, "They should be paying taxes."

The property has an assessed value of $7.3 million.

The historical commission is scheduled to meet Monday night to consider whether to order a four-month delay of the demolition of the church to allow efforts to preserve the brick and limestone structure, built in 1940, or to document it.

Reach Fred Hanson at [email protected].

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News Source : https://www.patriotledger.com/story/news/local/2024/03/28/braintree-ma-st-thomas-more-proposal-condos-rezoning/73118310007/

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