46 Springdale Avenue Ch. 61A Purchase and Sale Right-of-First Refusal Opportunity

On April 4, 2014 The Board of Selectmen received a Notice pursuant to MGL C. 61A that a 27.2 -acre parcel located at 46 Springdale Avenue and owned by Jim Snyder, is under a Purchase and Sale agreement to Northland Residential Corp. for a Chapter 40B project consisting of 40+ townhouse units. Twenty-four acres are classified as Ch.61A agricultural land and the remaining acreage is a house lot. The Town has 120 days to notify the seller whether or not it intends to exercise its right-of-first refusal and acquire the property.

This web page will be used to answer questions, and provide a timeline and access to relevant documents as the Town goes through the process of determining how to proceed.

Key Dates

July 21st, 2014: BOS votes on whether or not to execute Notice of Exercise pursuant to M.G.L.C.61A. The BOS voted in the affirmative so:
September 3, 2014: BOS meeting re: public discussion of issues related to potential acquisition of 46 Springdale Avenue prior to Special Town Meeting.
September 15, 2014: Special Town Meeting at which Town Meeting votes whether or not to purchase the property subject to a debt exclusion. Click here for the Special Town Meeting Warrant. Click here for the Powerpoint Presentations shown during the Special Town Meeting. Town Meeting voted in the affirmative (by 2/3 vote) so:
November 4, 2014: Special Town Election to decide whether or not to approve a debt exclusion (majority vote).
May 2, 2016: Annual Town Meeting.



Shown at BOS Meeting on June 26th, 2014:

Shown at BOS Meeting on September 3rd, 2014:


Aerial vew of 46 Springdale with DEP data layers

Aerial vew of 46 Springdale with DEP data layers. Click for larger version.

Frequently Asked Questions

These FAQs will be updated with questionsand answers as they become available. To assist in keeping track of updates, all answers will be dated.
1.What is Northland Residential Corporation proposing?
At the April 17, 2014 Board of Selectmen meeting CEO Jack Dawley, (no relation to SelectmanJim Dawley) stated that the current plan includes a minimum of 40 2-3 bedroom condos of 2000-2500 sq.ft with a 2-car garage and 1st floor master suite. This project would be permitted thru Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40B, also known as the “Comprehensive Permit Law”, whereby a developer can bypass local zoning laws as long as at least 25% of the proposed units are affordable. There would be 2-3 units per building. The roadway from Springdale Avenue will be about where the current driveway is
situated, will be 22-feet wide per Dover’s subdivision regulations, and will be a cul-de-sac. There will be a 50-foot perimeter buffer and no trees are to be removed on The Meadows side of the property. Soil conditions permitting, there will be a Title 5 wastewater septic system in the open field in the center of the property designed for no more than 90 bedrooms. The developer intends to engage Colonial Water to supply water to the development. Projected sale price for a market-based unit is expected to be $1 million or more. (4/30/14)
2.How is the Town evaluating this opportunity?
The Town has sent a copy of the Purchase and Sale Agreement (“P&S”) to the Open Space Committee, the Conservation Commission, the Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Board of Health, and the Dover Land Conservation Trust seeking input by mid-June which will be posted on this website.
The Selectmen have approved and contracted for a survey of the land and a value assessment of the property. A phase 1 environmental Assessment will
also be needed and will be arranged through the Selectman’s office. The Conservation Commission will be overseeing an environmental impact study.  All reports from outside consultants and Town Boards and Committees have been received and are on the website. (7/10/14)
(5/15/14) Town Counsel has reviewed the P&S to verify that it is a bona fide offer per the terms of MGL c.61A and has found that there are areas of deficiency. At the April 30, 2014 Board of Selectmen meeting the Board voted to send a letter to the landowner and proposed buyer outlining the statutory deficiencies of the Notice, to waive the Town’s right to reject the Notice based upon these deficiencies and to continue to consider whether to exercise the Town’s option to purchase the property with the 120-day period ending 8/2/2014. The letter is on the webpage. (4/30/14)
3. Does the purchase price of $5,550,000 ($4,000,000 for the c.61A parcel and $1,550,000 for the remaining house lot acreage) represent fair market value?
The Board of Selectmen has authorized an independent appraisal of the property which should be available in mid-June. Valuation for the purposes of c.61A
properties seeking to change its use has various criteria per Massachusetts General Laws for the Developer to adhere to in determining an economic forecast for the project. Specifically, the value of the land is to be considered “as is”, not as a result of a contemplated development. (4/30/14)  The complete appraisal completed in June by Avery Associates is available on this website.  In summary, the market value “as is” based upon current zoning regulations was determined to be $5,000,000 ($1,100,000 for the front non-61A 3.2 acre house lot and $4,000,000 for the back 24 acres) and the value based upon a MGL Ch. 40B condominium project was $5.900,000. (7/10/14)
4. What is the tax abatement to be returned to the Town if Northland purchases the property and proposes a change of use of the land?
State law requires that 5 years of tax abatements be reimbursed to the Town upon sale of a c.61A property if land use is to be changed. For the five years FY10-14, the amount of tax abatement is $69,425.10. (4/30/14)
5. 46 Springdale Avenue is currently one real estate tax parcel, the c.61A acreage is approximately 24 acres and the remaining acreage (3.2) consists of the single family residence, barn, pool and horse paddock. The only access to the c.61A acreage is through the existing driveway which also services the existing house. Can the Town buy just the c.61A acreage? If so, how would access be attained? If not, can the Town buy the entire parcel, legally subdivide the property into two parcels, and then sell off the house lot less an access corridor? What does current zoning allow for the development of this parcel?
The Planning Board has provided the following to answer the last question in Questions 5. (5/5/14)  Maps of possible development options are available on this website shown as Maps 2, 3, 4 and 5 and explained in the Planning Board Report of 6-27-14. (7/10/14)
What is allowed under conventional zoning for this parcel?
Under the Approval Not Required (ANR) process, 2 building lots could be created. The ANR process allows lots to be created without going through the subdivision approval process if they have frontage on an existing road. ANR approval requires that the Planning Board endorse the plans within 21 days of submittal without a public hearing. Since the parcel has about 350 feet of frontage on Springdale in the R-1 zone where 150 feet is required, two lots could be created through the ANR process.
If the owner decided to pursue a subdivision under Dover Zoning Bylaws, how many lots could be created and what would be the process?
While an accurate determination is not possible without detailed engineering data, it is estimated that 8-10 lots may be possible under Dover’s current zoning and subdivision rules.
Since dead ends are not allowed by Planning Board rules (unless it can be shown that a through road or loop road COULD be created), a loop road which both enters and exits onto Springdale would need to be created. The parcel is in Dover’s R-1 zone which requires a minimum lot size of 1 acre and 150 feet of street frontage; however, while the parcel has an area of more than 27 acres, about half is within the riparian zone where a 200-foot buffer is protected by the state Rivers Protection Act. Should a subdivision be pursued, an application would be submitted to the Planning Board for review, and public hearings would follow. The approval process normally takes months, and can take up to a year or more. It should be noted that compliance with zoning and subdivision regulations is NOT sufficient to create a buildable lot. Further permits by the Board of Health for septic systems would be required, and Conservation Commission approvals are often required as well.
6. If the Town acquires the property what would it be used for?
The Town would seek to keep the c.61A acreage as open space for the use and enjoyment of the townspeople. Options for the house lot include selling it or keeping it for other needs of the town depending upon answers to question 5 above. The Board of Selectman recommends that appropriate time be taken after acquisition to study all options through the creation of a study committee, taking into account the Master Plan and the Open Space Plan. Any recommended change to its use would be subject to Town Meeting approval. (4/30/14)
7. Does Dover have a plan to address 40B developments that are contemplated on c.61A properties as the Town cannot afford to purchase all these properties as they become available? What is the current 40B census in Dover?
Dover has approached each individual opportunity to acquire land on its own merits. It is not often done. Dover acquired Wylde Woods in 2000 and 8 acres
off Dedham Street in 2013, both through a combination of individual philanthropy and town funds. Most of Dover’s open space is either owned by conservation organizations like the Dover Land Conservation Trust or The Trustees of Reservation, or they hold a conservation restriction on the land. We are not aware of a c.61A property being proposed for 40B development in recent history. (4/30/14)
8. If the Town does not acquire the land, what is the 40B Comprehensive Permit procedure in Dover?
The explanation below has been provided by Gary Lilienthal, chair of Dover’s Zoning Board of Appeals.(4/30/14)
What is the Comprehensive Permit under M.G.L. c. 40B?
The Comprehensive Permit, as its designation suggests, is “one stop shopping” for local permitting for a project with a 25% affordable housing component. Before a Comprehensive Permit can be filed with the local comprehensive permit granting authority (“CPGA”), usually the Zoning Board of Appeals, it must first be determined that the development meets state project eligibility criteria. To accomplish this, the applicant files an in-depth written application for a
Project Eligibility Letter (“PEL”) with one of a number of designated subsidizing agencies. The governing agency of the city/town is notified of the filing and given the opportunity for comment. If the project is found to meet eligibility criteria, a PEL is issued. The PEL is the “ticket” to apply to the CPGA for the Comprehensive Permit. The application for a Comprehensive Permit must be in-depth, providing, among other information, floor plans, building elevations, surveys, drainage calculations, roadway, utility, landscape, environmental and other development details. The CPGA acts as the Zoning Board,
Planning Board, Board of Health, Conservation Commission (for local wetlands by-law) and other local permitting authorities. If relief (waiver of strict compliance) from local by-laws is requested, the application must list those. The purpose of relaxing strict compliance with local by-laws, for example, zoning and road construction, is to make it more economical for and to encourage the development of affordable housing. Once the application is submitted to the CPGA, the public hearing process commences. Depending on the completeness of the application and the levels of local participation, there are
usually several hearings. Input from residents, local boards, town officials, engineers, land use consultants and attorneys is sought. When the CPGA and/or the applicant determine that all information has been provided, obtained and reviewed, and any adjustments of the application have been made, the hearing is closed and the CPGA issues a written decision. In most cases, the CPGA will approve the application, as modified, or grant such lesser approval as the CPGA deems appropriate. It will likely include relief from strict compliance with local by-laws, and extensive conditions for development of the project. The entire process is governed by M.G.L. c.40B and the regulations promulgated under 760 CMR 56.00. After a Comprehensive Permit is issued, an appeal period commences, and the applicant or aggrieved parties may file an appeal of the Comprehensive Permit. Depending upon who takes an appeal, the appeal will be heard by either the State Housing Appeals Committee or the Massachusetts Trial Court. (This is not legal advice and may not be relied upon by any party. Any party desiring to participate in the 40B process is encouraged to seek competent legal counsel.)
9. How would the property be bought by the Town? What is the cost to the taxpayer?
A combination of debt, private donations and free cash could be used. A Special Town Meeting (to be held after the execution of a purchase and sale agreement but not later than 90 days thereafter, probably in September) would be required to approve the is suance of debt to acquire the property with a 2/3 majority vote to approve. Should a debt exclusion be required, then a ballot question approval by simple majority via a special Town Election is also required. (4/30/14)
10. At the April 17, 2014 BOS meeting the following concerns were raised:
  1. The current plan by Northland has no second egress.
  2. A Traffic Study should be done, of which Northland verbally agreed to complete.
  3. A walking tour of the property should be arranged (which the BOS will organize)
  4. There was concern that the 120-day decision process may be inadequate. Can an extension be obtained?
  5. Given the recent history of The Meadows and Dover Farms, who is expected to buy these units?
11. What is the projected gross tax revenue to the Town after the development is completed? What are the projected costs (school-aged children, public safety, highway dept.) to the Town associated with the development?

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