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BURLINGTON, MA-National Development’s proposal to build a 425-unit residential development on a 70-acre former sand and gravel pit is moving ahead despite the Newton, MA-based company’s decision to delay its request to the town’s zoning board for a rezoning of the site.

The project, if approved, would be Burlington’s largest in nearly two decades.

Ted Tye, managing partner of National Development, tells GlobeSt.com that the company wanted more time to get the word out about the project. “We felt that a project of this size shouldn’t be rushed,” he says. “Because of the timing we weren’t able to get in touch with everyone and we want to go into Town Meeting feeling that the project is understood.” Tye adds that the town is also currently dealing with a large school project.

The company has an agreement with the Schelzi family to acquire the pit, which is now an active concrete plant. According to Tony Fields, planning director for Burlington, the site’s zoning would allow for single family housing. National Development wants the site rezoned as a planned development district, which Fields tells GlobeSt.com requires a lot of pre-planning. “It’s like writing a mini-zoning bylaw,” he points out. “The project needs more review time.”

The project was not proposed under the state’s affordable housing law which would enable the developers to bypass local zoning laws if the town has 10% affordable housing and the project has at least 25% affordable housing. Fields notes that in addition to the town’s belief that it has crossed the 10% threshold, the town approved 265 affordable housing units last year enabling it to get a respite from affordable housing projects for a year.

The project as proposed will include 10% affordable housing as well as a senior housing component. The units will consist of one and two bedrooms, which will ensure less of an impact on the school system according to Fields. He adds that the financial impact of the project is currently being reevaluated, but according to the developer the town should have a positive revenue stream from the complex.

This is not National Development’s first attempt to rehabilitate a former sand and gravel pit. In Framingham, the company is in the process of getting a 698-unit complex built on a 170-acre former pit. “These are the biggest parcels of land that are becoming available,” notes Tye. He emphasizes that the pit here is currently a “really ugly, scarred piece of land. It needs to be redeveloped. Not only will this project clean it up, but it will put a residential foothold in the neighborhood for the future.”

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