Proponents of a proposed 130-unit senior living and memory complex at the top of Pond Road on the Natick/Wellesley line earlier this year pulled back on a Natick Spring Annual Town Meeting citizen petition for a zoning change that could pave the way for the facility. Neighbors rallied to argue against the facility’s location, which they said would wreck the environment and create intolerable traffic and safety issues.
Attorney George Richards told the Natick Finance Committee on April 6 that after meetings with neighbors and town officials “we’ve kind of heard loud and clear, and we’ve gone back to the drawing board a little bit, and we’re going to reassess the project going forward.”
In addition to going back to the drawing board on the “200 Pond Road” project, the team plans to hit the Wellesley Planning Board on Monday, Aug. 7 with a presentation.
While the team had given Wellesley officials an informal briefing last summer on what was initially dubbed “Wellesley Senior Living,” proponents focused most of their attention on Natick officials at the start. The address and driveway for 200 Pond Rd. are in Wellesley, the bulk of the property is in Natick at the top of Pond Road near Rte. 135. The project would likely entail rezoning in Wellesley as well as in Natick.
The proposed 130,000 sq. ft. senior facility would replace a massive Georgian Colonial estate to address what proponents say is huge demand for assisted living and memory care services in the area. Since then, the 86-unit Anthology senior living complex has opened about a mile west on Rte. 135 in Natick. The 200 Pond Road facility would bring 96 assisted living and 34 memory care units.
Revised thinking on the project, summarized in part on a new 200 Pond Road website, includes “minimizing tree clearing and earth movement” by placing the new building where the current one stands. It also entails carving out about 3.5 acres of conservation land for protection. The project team says the facility will be less visible from Pond Road under the revised plan.
The team has also replaced the original operator and architect, which it says will result in savings that will mean less expensive units and services than initially envisioned.
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