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Details of Baron's South housing memorandum holding up final agreement

A memorandum of understanding between the town and the developer of the proposed $60 million Baron's South senior housing project has yet to be agreed on, Selectman Avi Kaner told a Baron's South Committee meeting Tuesday morning.

"One issue is that the financial arrangements haven't fully been resolved yet," he said.

He said he wants the final agreement to be "fair for the town and the developer," the Jonathan Rose Companies. He said challenges in reaching final agreement include that the proposed complex would be a public/private partnership and that it's also a long-term project with a 98-year contract.

"We need to consider possible things that could come down the road," he said. "There is importance in dotting the I's and crossing the T's." But, he added, officials also don't want to "slow down the process."

After the meeting Kaner said that resolution of the matter does seem close at hand. "There are three or four options on the table," he said, and negotiations are continuing.

Town Attorney Ira Bloom said the document could be approved sometime in May.

There was also a presentation was made to the committee by David R. McCarthy of the Jonathan Rose Companies of proposed text changes, or amendments, to zoning regulations related to the project planned on 32 acres of town property.

One change involved lowering the percentage of affordable units from 60 to 30 percent, meaning 39 independent living facility units would be designated as affordable.

There were also proposed changes to concealed on-site parking, which could be a problem because of the land's topography. But, Larry Bradley, the town's planning and zoning director, said he's not sure how much would be concealed, meaning underground, "maybe not the 80 percent" usually required.

But "a substantial amount would be concealed," he added.

There was also talk about adding some surface parking which could be a problem if the adjacent senior center building were expanded and more parking would be needed.

But Kaner said it was his understanding that with the construction of the Baron's South facility -- which will be linked to the senior center, with access to a common annex building that is expected to have a cafe, pool, gymnasium and common area -- there would be no need to expand the senior center.

"One of the benefits (with Baron's South) is that the town doesn't need to expand the senior center," he added.

The facility will be built on a section of town property between Post Road East, Compo Road South and Imperial Avenue and will include 130 independent living units and 32 "memory care" units for those with cognitive problems. Read Full Article 

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