Town negotiates conditions for Roseland project

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The town of Canton has exhausted all legal appeals with respect to the Roseland housing project off Randolph Street; however, through conditions negotiated by town officials, the town will be getting more say in the project, more money, and improvements to the water supply in the York/Randolph Street area.

Both the courts and the state Housing Appeals Committee sided with Roseland and gave the developer the right to build a 28-home subdivision and 196 apartments on 81 acres near the Randolph town line.

Attorney Mark Bobrowski, representing the town, said Roseland has decided to contract with Avalon to build the apartments and forego the subdivision for now. Roseland has also decided to file for a state LIP application, which allows the developer better financing options if it reaches a memorandum of understanding with the town.

Bobrowski reported to selectmen the conditions he negotiated with Roseland and Avalon, including a condition stating that the development, although located on Canton land, will only be accessible through Randolph.

In addition, the town will receive $200,000 and the developer will pay nearly $175,000 for an upgraded 12-inch water main to service the development. Avalon wants to build nearly 196 upscale townhouse apartments in three to four buildings and is willing to pay for the cost of a traffic light at York and Randolph streets. The town, through Building Inspector Ed Walsh, will approve building plans and the project can be reviewed by the DPW, zoning and planning boards.

Selectman Avril Elkort, who lives on York Street, said if Roseland-Avalon gets approved for the LIP application, the Housing Appeals Committee will get out of the permitting process, which she said is positive news for Canton.

“We are not happy about the decision, but I think the town will have more say,” said Elkort. “The apartments will be more upscale.”

ZBA Chairman Paul Carrol said the battle the town has fought to oppose the development “has been long and hard.”

“The law is what it is and we respect it,” he said.

According to Selectman Victor Del Vecchio, the only condition that selectmen wanted in the memorandum of understanding was stronger language to protect the town if the developer fails to live up to the other conditions of the agreement.

In other news Tuesday night:

* Southern Sky Renewable Energy reported that it has begun construction of the 19,800 solar panels at the former town landfill, and depending on the weather, it could be operational and manufacturing electricity as early as June 2012. Town Administrator Bill Friel said the town will be receiving the first of 25 annual lease payments of $300,000 and an opportunity to save on electrical costs. Every kilowatt manufactured by the solar plant will be sent to NSTAR, and a portion will be given to the town in the form of net metering credits.

* Selectmen Chairman John Connolly announced that the Canton Association of Business and Industry has given $5,000 to the Canton Food Pantry and that the new CABI president is Gene Manning, who is chairman of the town’s Economic Development Committee. Connolly also announced that the Bank of Canton has given $645 to the pantry and that Reebok is planning to give a sizeable donation as well.

* The Simoni Foundation has donated $2,500 to the Canton Fire Department for thermal imaging cameras.

* Salvatori said letters have been sent from the Office of Dam Safety to the town and the Napleton Company requiring the developer to submit final engineering plans for dam repairs at Reservoir Pond. Salvatori is hoping the letter will encourage Napleton to seek a permit allowing the company to begin repairs by the early spring.

* Selectmen held a moment of silence for Father James McCune, pastor of St. John’s church from 1983 to 2000. “Father McCune was a wonderful man who helped so many people,” Connolly said. “It’s people like Father McCune who make the town what it is.”

* Selectmen will next meet on Tuesday, December 27, at 7 p.m.

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