After months of meetings, hearings and town boards mulling the proposal, a controversial citizen’s petition to rezone and redevelop the Dana Home as an upscale hotel and restaurant concept known as The Inn at Hastings Park heads to Town Meeting with backing from the Board of Selectmen.
Annual Town Meeting, which last gathered on Monday, April 24, reconvenes at 7:30 p.m. tonight at Cary Hall to take up remaining articles dealing with the Wright Farm Land Acquisition and, possibly, Article 34, the Dana Home proposal.
Last week, the Planning Board voted to recommend approval of a Preliminary Site Development and Use Plan, conditioned upon the execution of an acceptable Memorandum of Understanding between petitioner Trisha Perez Kennealy’s team and the Board of Selectmen.
The nay vote came from Selectman Peter Kelley, who attempted to tighten up the memorandum of understanding with amendments dealing with hours of operation, driveway improvements and locations where food and drink could be served.
According to Kelley, his objections were rooted in concerns about the site, and that its proposed use was too intense for the property and its residentially zoned surroundings.
“It has nothing to do with the proponent, it has nothing to do with the concept she’s advancing,” he said. “It clearly has to do with the site. … I’m not saying this is going to be a terrible situation here, but I think this is the time we need to be accountable and responsible.”
Article 34 seeks to rezone the Dana Home and an adjacent parcel to allow for commercial redevelopment within a neighborhood that's currently zoned for residential use. There has been some opposition to Perez Kennealy's proposal, based on the size and scope of the project, along with some concerns about traffic and the impact on wetlands.
Kennealy’s proposal calls for a 22-room hotel and restaurant with seating for 54. Zoning dimensional controls govern seating and guest room capacity, while the selectmen have control over alcohol service as the licensing authority, according to Town Counsel Kevin Bott and Planning Director Maryann McCall-Taylor.
The selectmen who spoke in favor of supporting Article 34, Deb Mauger and Norman Cohen, said they felt CD zoning has made Lexington a more vibrant community and that they believed there were sufficient standards and control in place to warrant approval at Town Meeting.
For instance, the underlying zoning and dimensional controls would remain with the land, while the alcohol licensing comes before the Board of Selectmen annually and the MOU is a third control, which is binding on the applicant, Bott said.
Read More About This Issue
- VIDEO: An Inn Out of the Dana Home?
- Question of the Day: Dana Home?
- Business Leaders Back Dana Home Proposal
- Dana Home Proposal Riles Residents
- Dana Home Rezoning Goes Before Planning Board Tonight
- Planning Board: No Direction on Dana Home Before Town Meeting
- Planning Board Closes Hearing, Continues Dana Home Deliberations
- With Planning Board Support, Inn at Hastings Park Heads to BOS