Controversial development back before Planning Board
After a year of debate and closed door meetings, the hotly contested Bay Pointe housing project will return for round two with the Planning Board on Feb. 27.
On Monday, the board opened then immediately continued a public hearing to hear a site plan review from Bay Pointe developer, Rhode-Island based Stonestreet Corp. Board Chair George Barrett explained that the developer requested the hearing be continued earlier that day.
It marked the first time in more than a year that the board discussed the project in public due to legal issues. Plans call for constructing a subdivision of 84 units centered around the Bay Pointe Club’s golf course, located at 19 Bay Pointe Drive.
In January 2016, the Planning Board approved the site plan. Although it imposed conditions relating to water treatment and lot sizes that prompted objection from Stonestreet.
The developer then filed a lawsuit against the board in Land Court. Since then, the two parties have met in a series of executive sessions to mediate the issue.
Now, it appears that an agreement has been reached allowing Stonestreet to return before the board in what may be another lengthy review process.
“There’s a brand new public hearing, a brand new application, and we don’t know what they’re going to request this time,” said board member Michael Fitzgerald.
Stonestreet bought Bay Pointe in 2012 for $1.4 million, made improvements to the existing facilities and has been operating the golf course since the purchase. In 2014, Stonestreet filed plans to construct a housing development centered around the golf course.
The plans ran into a barrage of questions from the Planning Board about lot sizes, setbacks from the road and how sewage would be handled before being fed into the town's system.
When it became clear that none of those issues was going to be resolved quickly, the developer granted the Planning Board a waiver from a deadline for ruling, up or down, on the proposal. As hearings and discussions continued into the fall, however, Stonestreet rescinded the waiver, due to the lengthiness of the process.
On Monday, board members noted that another lengthy debate may be ahead. Members discussed clearing its agenda on Feb. 27 to focus on Bay Pointe.
“I think Bay Pointe is going to take a long time,” said member Robert Reed.
He added that the town’s engineer submitted an eight-page letter with comments and questions on the project ahead of the hearing, which is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Multi-Service Center, located at 48 Marion Road.