Town, project developers working out sewer issues for Route 6 apartment complex

Jan 14, 2020

Project developers are still working to clear logistical and technical hurdles to begin construction of a 288-unit apartment complex on State Road. 

At the Zoning Board of Appeals’ January 13 meeting, officials behind the Dartmouth Woods II project appeared to update the board on the status of its comprehensive permit to build an apartment complex at the old Joe’s Used Cycles property on State Road.

The developers applied for a permit in late 2017 under the state’s Chapter 40B affordable housing law, which allows developers to bypass certain zoning regulations in exchange for designating a certain percentage of housing units as “affordable.” 

Since then, the developers have been working with the town to hammer out a host of concerns relating to environmental issues on the property. 

It was once home to a litany of polluting uses, including an auto body repair, a car junkyard, car dealership, fuel storage, asphalt, brick, and concrete dumping and processing, a dumping ground, sand and gravel quarrying, marine storage and salvage, junk storage, and storage and disposal of various hazardous materials. 

In the 1970s, hundreds of drums containing toxic pollutants were discovered to have been stored and dumped on the property by a company called H&M Drum. There have also been documented instances of releases of toxic chemicals on the property.

Although cleanup operations have been undertaken since the 1980s, town attorneys and health officials still want to set environmental conditions to ensure safety for construction workers and future residents. 

Attorney Karis North, special counsel representing the town, reported that she and the project developers have agreed in principal on the general concepts of legally binding environmental conditions which will be imposed on the project. 

“I think from our perspective we’re pretty much putting that to bed,” added attorney Mark Bobrowski, representing the project developer. 

Now, the major focus is on sewer issues. The town and the project developers are still negotiating the specifics about what could be required in sewer system upgrades to support the scale of the project. 

Bobrowski said they have submitted an offer to upgrade the Route 6 sewer station and others if need be, but are waiting to hear back from the town on specifics and a number for cost-sharing. 

Bobrowski also presented a five-phase construction plan. The developers intend to begin the first phase of construction with four apartment buildings and the complex clubhouse, with four more phases to build out the 32-building complex. 

The developers anticipate being before the Zoning Board of Appeals again on March 10, with the plan being to wrap up the sewer questions and draft conditions by then.