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Plumtree Road property owners to look at all options

Affordable housing proposal was backed by judge

Recorder file photo/Paul Franz
The Northfield Food Mart in downtown Northfield.

Recorder file photo/Paul Franz The Northfield Food Mart in downtown Northfield.

SUNDERLAND — Paul Boudreau, one of the new owners of 67 acres on Plumtree Road, said he is considering all options after the state Supreme Judicial Court ruled in favor of a proposal to build a 150-apartment affordable housing complex on the property.

The court handed down a ruling last week allowing Sugarbush Meadow LLC to build five three-story buildings on 67 acres off Route 116. The decision ended a six-year court battle between the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals and developer Scott Nielsen.

Nielsen, however, sold the property last summer. According to the Registry of Deeds, on July 16, Nielsen sold the land to Bourey LLC, a limited liability company managed by Boudreau of South Hadley and Gerard N. Aubrey of Holyoke, for $880,665. Nielsen originally bought the property in 2003 for $620,000.

Reached a few days after the decision that cleared the way for him to develop the land, Boudreau would not comment on why he and Aubrey decided to purchase the property and how they intend to use it. He said the land is “an investment.”

The Board of Selectmen will discuss the court’s ruling with its attorney, Jason Talerman, on Feb. 4 at 7:45 p.m. in the Town Hall. It will be open to the public.

The dispute between the town and Nielsen began in September 2006 when Nielsen filed a comprehensive permit under state law Chapter 40B to build a 150-apartment complex on Route 116 and Plumtree Road. Twenty-five percent of the apartments would be subsidized as affordable housing. Chapter 40B encourages the building of affordable housing and streamlines the local permitting process for developers. The local Zoning Board of Appeals, however, denied Nielsen’s application in January 2008, sparking a series of court hearings and appeals.

Town officials had thought Sunderland already had its quota of affordable housing because it is home to many apartment projects that cater to many area college staff and students, but the state definition of “affordable” doesn’t include those projects.

You can reach Kathleen McKiernan at:
or 413-772-0261 ext. 268.

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