Above: The area bounded in red is the parcel of land Ned Capozzi plans to develop.
Developer appealed after Planning Board denial in August
The State Housing Appeals Board (SHAB) sided with developer Ned Capozzi Monday (11/28/23), overruling the Planning Board’s master plan denial of a 410-unit housing development on Division Road and paving the way for the largest residential development in the town’s history during a time of intense housing scarcity in the state.
Town Solicitor Andy Teitz announced the decision at the end of the Town Council meeting Monday night. While the SHAB vote was taken Monday, it will be weeks until a written decision laying out SHAB’s reasoning is available. But Teitz offered a concise explanation: SHAB “did not accept any of the arguments of the Planning Board.”
Those arguments were that the development did not conform with the town’s Comprehensive Plan; it would not significantly help the town reach the 10 percent affordable housing state mandate; and did not address environmental and health and safety concerns.
The town had argued the appeal was moot since the “master plan” stage is going away Jan. 1. Currently, developers have to seek three municipal approvals, starting with “master plan,” which is largely conceptual but does lock in the total number of units allowed. The next step is “preliminary plan,” where the developer would have fleshed out the plan, including all the engineering. The third step is final approval.
Facing a decades-in-the-making housing crisis, the state General Assembly last spring passed a number of new housing laws designed to make it easier for developers to build affordable housing. One of those changes was to get rid of that first step – master plan.
It’s unclear what the SHAB ruling does for Capozzi since he will be able submit the same development for preliminary plan approval after Jan. 1 regardless.
Capozzi could not be reached for comment Tuesday.
Find a landing page for all the stories we’ve done on the development HERE.