Fact vs. Fiction

Planning Board Chair Comments on Opposition's Misleading Statements.

Fact: When the Brookline site is shown at its actual scale, its 3.87 acre site—including its 190,000 SF building—fits comfortably on the 5.25 acre Natick portion of the parcel. To be clear, this is not what is being proposed; in fact, the Brookline building is 60,000 SF larger than the proposed building for this site.

Fiction: A Seniors Housing development like that in Brookline would require clear cutting nearly 9.6 acres.

Background: In fact, the Brookline project, which was developed over the former Newbury College site, was enlarged to nearly 3 times its size to make this manipulated image. The image created by the opposition also fails to show the two houses that were built (included in the image on the left) requiring the clearing of over 100 trees. The Pond Road project actually proposes the creation of up to 4.6 +/- acres of conservation land.

Planning Director Comments on Opposition's Misleading Images—watch until the end.

Fact: The proposed project is set back over 300 feet from Pond Road and would only be minimally visible during the winter when the foliage is at its lowest.

Fiction: The proposed plan would see a structure larger than a Walmart built on Pond Road, looming over the scenic road.

Source: Opposition Posted Sign

Fact: Sight line renderings, created by professional civil engineers, show the true scope of the building as it would appear from Pond Road.

Fiction: The building would be a tall, intrusive building.

Background: The building shown in the opposition-generated render is highly misleading and appears much larger and taller than any building that would be built on the site.

Source: Opposition change.org Petition

Fact: Natick and Wellesley land currently allow for significant development. Below is one example of what is already permitted to be built on the land. All of the options under the current bylaws would require large clearing of land and trees and would not provide for the creation of conservation land in Natick or Wellesley. None of the currently permitted options would need approval from Town Meeting or a zoning change in either community. This stands in stark contrast to the proposed zoning amendment, which effectively only redevelops the currently developed/disturbed land while preserving in perpetuity the currently undisturbed land.

Fiction: Opposing this article preserves Pond Road.

Background: This could not be further from the truth. The Natick and Wellesley land already allows for significant development. This zoning amendment requires the creation of conservation land; without it, the development currently permitted under Natick and Wellesley’s bylaws will likely occur and result in the clearing of the land and trees for the construction of up to 11 homes. To note, the lead opponent did not include, in the image below, the two new nearly 10,000 SF homes they built, which included the clearing of over 100 trees from the area in the bottom left of the picture.

Fact: The Town of Wellesley's Peer Review of the proposed project traffic study stated the number of cars traveling on Pond Road to the south of the site (the main portion of the road) would be up to 15 cars over a 24 hour period without any mitigation measures. The rest of the cars will travel 170’ along Pond Road to Route 135. There are no homes along this 170’ portion of Pond Road and the western side of the road is owned by the proponents. The Town of Wellesley Peer Review traffic Engineer stated “Tighe & Bond has reviewed the TIAS’s [Traffic Study] conclusions and generally agrees that the project will not have a significant impact on traffic capacity in the area.”

Fiction: The project would vastly increase traffic on Pond Road.

Background: This is not supported by the data of the traffic study or the Town of Wellesley Traffic Study Peer Review. In fact, the traffic study speaks to a 2.2 - 2.5% traffic increase on the portion of Pond Road south of the site and a 1.1 - 2.2% increase on Route 135. Note: This is not a Commercial Development. This is an Assisted Living and Memory Care Residence and is categorized by Natick Bylaws as an “Institutional Use”.

Source: Opposition Posted Sign

Fact: The Payment in Lieu of Taxes (PILOT) payment of $1.3M is based on a calculation representing the lost real estate tax revenue that the Town otherwise would have received if new homes permitted by-right were to be built on the Wellesley Land. Such mitigation payments, typically included as part of a development agreement, are common practice for the Town of Wellesley.

Fiction: A payment to the Town amounts to “buying zoning.”

Background: As previously stated, this is common and appropriate approach toward addressing impacts to any community.

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Compromises the hard work of town officials who implement strict zoning initiatives, if large global corporations can bypass zoning laws for a price.

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Source: preservepondroad.com

Fact: The proposed zoning is not spot zoning under any interperation of the law. The proposed zoning provides a public benefit. The Town has been provided with an extensive legal memo on the subject. Further, Planning Board Members in Wellesley have affirmatively stated that this is not Spot Zoning.

Fiction: The proposed zoning is spot zoning.

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Preserve Pond Road. From Commercial Development. Stop Spot Re-zoning.

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Source: Opposition change.org Petition

Fact: If the proposed zoning passes, it will allow only for the additional use of Assisted Living or Memory Care on the site. Please review the full proposed zoning at 200pondroad.com/zoning-language for a detailed description of the restrictions associated with this amendment.

Fiction: Passing the proposed zoning would allow for for any type of development to take place on the site.

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The law of unintended consequences are, "outcomes of a purposeful action that are not intended or foreseen." If this parcel is rezoned, it will allow for any type of development to take place on the site. For example, if in the future, the assisted living facility fails, it could be turned into any number of large commercial facilities, i.e. apartments. This is pandoras box, and once it is opened, it can't be undone.

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Source: Opposition change.org Petition

Fact: There is not a parcel available in either town for development or redevelopment into an Assisted Living and Memory Care community. Please review the list of all properly zoning parcels in Natick at 200pondroad.com/zoning.

Fiction: An office building or could be developed or redeveloped into an AL/MC community.

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Repurposing existing commerical sites with fall out of favor, if large entities can buy cheaper residential sites and spot rezone

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Source: preservepondroad.com

Fact: The project is still in early stages and is projected to be delivered in 2027, so definitive pricing has not been set yet, similar to not being able to determine the exact price you might sell your house for in 4 years. However, the project expects to offer competitive units within market pricing, and in some cases below market price, as compared to communities constructed after 2000 in Natick and Wellesley. We hope to create a community with a variety of options and a place for families to call home.

Fiction: The proposed community will only be for wealthy individuals.

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The project is geared towards only high net worth individuals, ignoring the majority of seniors.

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Source: preservepondroad.com

Fact: If the community was 100% occupied, the maximum the community would serve is 450 meals per day to residents.

Fiction: The community will serve more meals a day than the local Cheesecake Factory.

Background: Based on our discussion with the local Cheesecake Factory, we were told that they would serve over 3,500 meals on the day we called them to inquire.

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The proposed 130,000 sq. ft. facility is larger than the local Walmart and will serve more meals per day than the cheesecake factory.

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Source: preservepondroad.com

Fact: The lighting of the community would be governed by the Natick Light Bylaw and as well as restricted by the proposed Wellesley zoning amendment, which prohibits any light spillage onto any neighboring parcels.

Fiction: The community will cause light pollution along Pond Road.

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Impacts to Pond Road:

- Light pollution at night

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Source: preservepondroad.com

Fact: The proposal would conserve up to 3.5 acres (79%) of the land in Wellesley and add 1.1 acres of conservation land in Natick. An alternative development of two to three homes in Wellesley would require the removal of roughly 50 trees per home, 150 trees total for three homes.

Fiction: The community threatens the tree canopy on Pond Road and would require the clearing of the entire property.

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The threat of massive commercial development looms over the beautiful tree canopy on historic Pond Road. We are a group of concerned citizens and neighbors in both Wellesley and Natick, who are fighting to stop spot zoning, and protect our beloved neighborhood.

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Source: Opposition change.org Petition

Fact: The project would conserve land in Wellesley and Natick and would provide housing and care that is in dire need for both Natick and Wellesley seniors. See 200pondroad.com/preservation for more information.

Fiction: The proposed community would constitute a destruction of green space with little benefit to the towns.

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Impacts to Natick:

- Continued destruction of green space and wildlife with little benefit to the town

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Source: preservepondroad.com