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Owners to discuss land plans with selectmen

Sunderland officials want to know what interests new owners have  in Plumtree Road site

SUNDERLAND — The new owners of 67 acres on Plumtree Road will meet with the selectmen in two weeks to discuss their interests in the land off Route 116.

According to Selectman Scott Bergeron — the town’s point man for the negotiations on this issue — the new owners, Paul Boudreau of South Hadley and Gerard N. Aubrey of Holyoke, indicated they were interested in development. Town officials have hoped to head off development of the land.

The future talks have renewed those hopes for the town, which has persisted through a six-year rancorous court battle with the former owner and developer Scott Nielsen of Sugarbush Meadow LLC.

In January, the state’s high court ruled the developer may build five three-story buildings on the property for affordable housing. The state Supreme Judicial Court upheld the 2008 decision by the Housing Appeals Court, ordering the Zoning Board of Appeals to give the developer a permit it had denied.

However, any future development is not a done deal.

Last summer, Nielsen sold the property to Boudreau and Aubrey’s newly formed company, Bourey LLC, for $880,665. Nielsen originally bought the property in 2003 for $620,000.

Nielsen also sold off 0.924 acres of the property on Feb. 6, 2012, to Cynthia L. Rice, who owns a home on Plumtree Road abutting the property.

The comprehensive permit is under the name of Sugarbush Meadows. To develop the property, the new owners would need to seek approval of the transfer of the permit. And if they have other plans for the property, they would have to request a project change within 20 days of being granted the comprehensive permit.

In addition to the comprehensive permit, the developers need other permits that deal with state wetlands, water wells, wastewater disposal, and access to a state highway. It also needs approval from Mass. Housing, a not-for-profit public agency that uses bonds to provide financing for developers of affordable housing.

The town has dealt with the prospect of the property’s development since September 2006 when Sugarbush Meadow filed a comprehensive permit under Chapter 40B to build the complex. Chapter 40B encourages the building of affordable housing and streamlines the local permitting process for developers. The local Zoning Board of Appeals denied the application in January 2008.

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

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