Developer solicits residents' views on proposed Waugh Chapel complex

September 28, 1994|By Katherine Richards | Katherine Richards,Sun Staff Writer

The owner of the Village at Waugh Chapel, a proposed complex of stores, restaurants, senior housing and a community center at Waugh Chapel Road and Route 3, is asking Crofton residents for their comments on the project.

Robert DeStefano of the Sturbridge Development Co. said at Monday night's Crofton Civic Association meeting that his development would include a community center, a large plaza, restaurants and a small lake, and would function as a gathering place for residents.

"People are looking for a place to socialize and congregate," said Robert DiAiso, a former community council president who is president of the Tech Group, a land planning firm working on the project.

Mr. DeStefano said a hearing on the proposed zoning change is scheduled for February.

The Village at Waugh Chapel would fill about 70 acres in the southwest quadrant of the Waugh Chapel Road/Route 3 intersection. Plans are still evolving, but Mr. DiAiso said the retail portion of the site would likely include a home improvement store, a major grocery store, a large drug store, a department store, restaurants, bars and a major bookstore.

Behind these would be a 4-story complex of 80 to 100 apartments or condominiums for seniors, along with a 2-story building with 120 units for seniors who need assistance with cooking or other daily activities. The complex also would include vTC medical offices.

Public amenities would include a 2-acre lake, which might be suitable for ice skating in winter, a 10,000-square-foot community center, and a plaza the size of a football field that could be used for open-air concerts or craft fairs.

Jon Grant, a Crofton architect working on the project, said the buildings' facades would span a variety of styles, including Victorian, Second Empire and Georgian. He said architects want to evoke the effect of an American Main Street.

Mr. DeStefano said he was seeking comment from local civic organizations because he wants residents' ideas about what the development should include.

Immediate reaction from community association board members was mixed.

Board member Ken Folstein praised the developers' openness to community comment.

Sheila Schneider questioned the Main Street facades.

"I don't want lights flashing everywhere," she said. "I like subtle elegance."

Civic association President Edwin Dosek said many Crofton residents would be glad to have senior housing and assisted housing nearby.

But Mr. Dosek cautioned board members that the developers are trying to win the group's support for a zoning change from R-1, a classification that allows one house per acre, to C-3, a commercial category.

"The bottom line is whether or not we're going to support rezoning," Mr. Dosek said. "It's not a fait accompli."

"If it's not them, someone else is going to be there," responded association board member Richard Trunnell. "Who do we want to work with?"

Mr. DeStefano presented his plans to the Greater Crofton Council, which represents homeowners outside the Crofton special tax district, on Sept. 13, council President Robert Scott said yesterday.

"We have not taken a formal position yet," he said.

"People were very interested in having something other than just your traditional shopping center," Mr. Scott said. But they also recognized the need to protect their interests in the event Mr. DeStefano obtains a zoning change.

Mr. Scott said that before the Greater Crofton Council endorses the proposal, it would seek guarantees preventing Mr. DeStefano from either selling out after obtaining a zoning change or converting the public facilities part of the development to stores.

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