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FRAMINGHAM, MA-The state’s executive office of environmental affairs approved the Villages at Danforth Farm’s final environmental impact report, pushing developer National Development one large step closer to getting a shovel in the ground. The complex will be the town’s largest-ever residential project.

Peter Sellers, director of Framingham’s public works, tells GlobeSt.com that his office had sent a letter to the state’s department of environmental protection right before the state granted its approval requesting some additional testing as well restrictions on the development’s wells. Felix Brown, a spokesperson for the state’s executive office of environmental affairs, tells GlobeSt.com that the town can appeal the MEPA certification within 60 days of the decision, but Sellers says that his office does not see any reason to appeal right now. “We are confident that National Development will respond,” he says. “They’ve been very straightforward in dealing with us. (The letter) was intended to point out some concerns.”

Sellers notes that National Development is not out of the woods yet. “There are still issues involved with the planning board,” he notes. A town representative tells GlobeSt.com that the project received planning board approval back in March, but there have been several appeals to that decision.

If the appeals are denied, National Development intends to start construction on the 170-acre former gravel pit it bought from New England Sand and Gravel. The site was rezoned in 1989 to allow for a mixed-use development. The Newton, MA-based company plans to build the 698-unit residential project in stages over 10 years with 134 acres of the parcel left as open space. Ten percent of the units will be designated as affordable. In addition to the residential units, the project has 4,000 sf of commercial space that will be used for retail.

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