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Neighbors protest hamlet development

Residents opposing a hamlet style apartment and commercial building development in western Glenmont flooded Bethlehem Town Hall Tuesday, March 16, to get the latest news on the Kendall Square project and tell the town's Planning Board"in no uncertain terms"they don't care for it.

The meeting did not include a public hearing, but several people took advantage of the public comment period to insist the proposal at the corner of Feura Bush Road and Elsmere Avenue is simply too big and too dense.

"We'd like the board to reject the current plan and rework it so it has greater adherence to the general hamlet atmosphere," Walden Fields resident Dave Kissinger said. He also submitted to the board a petition against the project he said had 400 signatures.

The proposal calls for a total of 112 apartment units divided into 3- and 8-unit buildings. In addition, 20,000- to 40,000-square-feet of commercial space in four buildings would be built near the intersection of Feura Bush and Elsmere. 70 percent of the 17-acre lot would be preserved as green space, but that's generally federal wetland areas.

Developer Lee Rosen said businesses have not been lined up at this early stage, but he painted a picture of a small, outdoor cafE or law offices being located there.

The Rosen family was behind many of the housing developments in this part of town.

"I think we have the opportunity to do something even more creative and innovative [here]," he said.

The Kendall Square proposal is unique in that it sits in a hamlet zone. A result of the town's comprehensive plan, the hamlet zone is intended to encourage neighborhood-scale mixed-use developments. Building size and placement restrictions are among the requirements imposed.

The hamlet zone also encourages a variety of housing types and uses. Some pointed out Kendall Square includes only apartments and in only two proposed configurations.

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