University Station Revised Conceptual Plan Unveiled

Planning Board gets look at plan from developer and architect for the first time at last night's meeting.

The Westwood Planning Board meeting opened up last night with New England Development and David Manfredi of Elkus-Manfredi Architects unveiling a revised conceptual site plan for University Station.

Still just a conceptual site plan, meaning all the specifics haven’t been formulated yet and that much more information is being put together and will be available in a few weeks, Manfredi led most of the presentation and explained where they expect different things to be in the development. He did note that the exact sizes of some of the buildings hadn’t been determined, and that for certain things, such as residential units or parking spaces, they haven’t determined an exact number or how large they will be. But they have a good idea of where things will be, he said, as he pointed them out on his presentation board.

“Forget about buildings,” the Boston architect said. “Think spaces and connections.”

One of the things that was changed from the meeting on August 28, was the way pedestrians and vehicles can move around and connect. This was something that some members of the Planning Board asked questions about in order to be clear.

Vice-Chairman Steven Olanoff asked about the proposed entrance to the train station, which appeared to be a long walk from where people were able to park. He stated that he believes many people drive to the train station, so this seemed to bother him.

New England Development CEO Steve Karp responded by explaining that the state has some things they’re planning, so they have to wait until the state makes a decision on what they’re doing before they can make changes.

“I want everyone to understand the Planning Board is seeing this for the first time as well, so it’s a very conceptual plan,” Planning Board member Steven Rafsky said. “My reaction is this gives us the basis to move forward.”

“I appreciate all the changes that have been made,” added Town Planner Nora Loughnane.

The Board opened up the floor to questions from residents, and there were several. Among those questions that were asked was how many parking spaces will there be at University Station? (approximately 5,000, but the details haven’t been completed on that yet). Have there been any noise studies done yet? (no, but they will be done). What are the heights of the different buildings? (3-4 stories, but they’re not sure which yet. They said more information will come at a later date)

Some upcoming dates for people to know about related to the University Station Development Plan:

On October 2, the Planning Board will be reviewing the zoning bylaw. This is something that will wind up being voted on at Town Meeting.

On October 9, the Planning Board will be receiving the full submittal for the University Station plan.

On October 16, there will be a large presentation of the University Station plan before all the Boards in town at the Middle School cafeteria.

WW Resident September 28, 2012 at 12:22 PM
The 10/9 meeting (full plan submittal) will be very interesting, because this meeting last night they did not touch upon the big question - how many residential units?? I trust the Planning Board understands how significant of a concern this residential unit question is for town residents. Despite all these questions and concerns, I really hope the best for University Station (BTW, name might appear confusing to non-locals... there's no university here). I will not at all be supportive of it if there are residences that will add to the school enrollment. I was confused at what changes the Planning Board requested that had been implemented prior to yesterday's meeting. I also think the understanding of the involvement (if any) from the state is vague, but hopefully more information will be presented on Oct 9th. Thanks for the coverage on this, Rob.
local resident October 03, 2012 at 01:26 PM
I believe they are planning for 650 residential units (including affordable housing) plus an additional 150 senior citizen units. They have not said how many rooms will be in the 7 story hotel that will loom over the neighborhood. The project seems to be big box retail, large apartment buildings and a towering hotel.


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