The Milton Planning and Zoning Commission unanimously voted to grant preliminary approval for the master plan of the proposed Granary at Draper Farm development, sending the matter to the town council for final approval.
The master plan for the proposed 1,350-unit community serves as the town’s road map for how the development will be planned. While specific details are not entirely hashed out – which typically happens during the site-plan review process – the master plan does give the town an idea of how the pieces of the 450-acre development will fit together. A master plan is required by Milton code because the Granary is a large-parcel development.
The main issues at the commission’s Sept. 20 meeting were street design, emergency access and parking.
In a letter to the commission, Zac Crouch, engineer for developer Convergence Communities, said the street system was designed to mimic many of the precedents found in town.
“In certain instances, street design was strategically modified from standards to offer safer environments for pedestrians, slower vehicular speeds, and more green infrastructure through the use of street trees. Some streets act as green corridors, linking various components of the plan and/or providing tree-lined and shaded walking experiences for pedestrians. All streets are considered part of the public realm and careful attention was paid to details in order to develop streetscapes – the space between the buildings – that enhance the overall community.”
The issue of street design is important because once the development is built out over a 20-year period, the streets will be dedicated to the town, which would then be responsible for maintenance. The commission asked – and officials from developer Convergence Communities were amenable to – widening some of the side streets in sections of the development and removing on-street parking in others to have better emergency access. The Granary is proposed to be built in 10 sections, and includes a buffer backing up to Diamond Pond and 110 acres of open space that Convergence is planning to dedicate to the town.
One concern from the commission was on the alleyways planned in the development and town ownership of them, a pertinent issue because of dead-end alleyways in Heritage Creek, a similar development. However, the commission agreed the alleys are wide enough for large trucks, like trash trucks, to turn.
Another concern was whether there would be enough public parking to accommodate a proposed amphitheater planned to be part of the development, although it was agreed that question will be better addressed during the site-plan review process.
Now that the commission has given preliminary approval for the master plan, it will move to town council for final approval. The Granary review would then head back to planning and zoning to begin the site-plan review process.