Too many new homes on historic road for Planning Board

Plans for a small housing development on a historically significant parcel of land in Manomet met opposition from neighbors and skepticism from the Planning Board.

Nancy Nolan, who owns 20 Brook Road, located near the northern end of the street, is proposing to build five single family homes, or two single family homes and two duplexes, on the 2.8 acre property. The property was once owned by Robert Bartlett, who came to Plymouth in 1623, according to Jan Rushforth, who once owned it along with her husband, the late Dr. David Rushforth. Nolan’s representatives brought the project before the Planning Board Monday night.

Fire damaged the existing home on the property, shortly after Nolan’s husband, Charles died, according to developer Buz Artiano. After talking with Nolan and local real estate agent Larry Gay, it was decided that replacing the house wouldn’t be cost effective since it would cost more than it could be sold for and developing the land was a better option, he said.

Each building would be between 1,700 and 2,500 square feet, Bill Shaw of Associated Engineering said. The project, he told the Planning Board, would require waivers of local density rules.

While many of the abutters had kind words for Nolan, they didn’t care so much for the proposal. Richard King told the board that he loved his privacy living on the quiet, historic, road but “that’s all destroyed with this proposal. King’s home is located behind 20 Brook Road. Another neighbor, Linda Harding, also worried about her privacy. The duplexes, she said, would look over her backyard.

King made it clear he had no issues with Nolan, who called “very nice,” adding that he didn’t “begrudge people trying to maximize the use of their land.” Even though he expressed concern over the effect the project would have on his property values. Maureen Cheesman had similar sentiments. “Charlie was very dear to me,” she said. Nonetheless, she was opposed to the project, since “it will change the character of the neighborhood.”

Planning Board members were about as supportive of the project as the residents. The number of homes being proposed, considering the size of property, was too many for several of them. Bob Bielen called for it to be scaled down.  “I never thought I’d see a situation that 5 or 6 homes would have such an impact,” he said. “It’s much too dense, even if meets the zoning requirements,” said Malcolm  MacGregor. “This is a delicate piece of property there’s way too much being inserted into this property,” said member Ken Buechs.

In the end, Shaw told the board that he heard the concerns expressed.

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