Spruce Street condo project wins key approval

The Planning Board Monday night approved a new 7-unit condo complex off Spruce Street. 

The complex will replace a former single family home on the 1.5-acre lot. 

According to plans provided by the developer, Glenn LaPointe, the seven units will be located  toward the rear of the lot, about 300 feet off Spruce Street. A landscaped island with multiple trees will largely screen the units from view from the roadway.  

The project features an on-site septic system. That part of Spruce Street is connected to Rockland’s sewer system. Shawn Reilly, the project’s attorney, said Rockland refused to allow the connection unless the developer helped pay for a new sewer system pumping station.

Neighbors opposed the project saying it was out-of-scope for the neighborhood, which is largely single family homes. They were also concerned it would significantly add traffic to the street,  which runs east to Rockland. 

Multi-family housing is only allowed in this part of town with a special permit. The Zoning Board of Appeals will consider the project at its March 11 meeting.

Reilly said a traffic study showed that the complex would add about 52 vehicle trips per weekday, including just three during the morning rush hour.  

The project was part of a five-hour Planning Board meeting Monday night.

The board’s vote was 4-1, with Bruce Hughes the lone vote in opposition. Hughes, a retired municipal planner with experience doing traffic counts, was concerned the study underestimates the amount of traffic normally found on the road when there isn’t a pandemic going on. 

Members Rick Collins and Bob Soper said they voted yes because of the building’s location toward the rear of the lot and the proposed vegetative screening, which reduced the project’s impact on the neighborhood.

[Disclosure: The author of this article is a member of the Abington Planning Board]

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