Old Morgan Site Plans to Get Public Scrutiny at IWC, PZC
The proposed Indian River Landing development to be built on the old Morgan School property is another step closer to becoming a reality. The Inland Wetlands Commission (IWC) will hold a public hearing to discuss potential impacts to the site’s wetlands on Tuesday, Feb. 4 and the Planning & Zoning Commission (PZC) has scheduled a public hearing on the proposal on Monday, March 2l.
While the application from Greylock Property Group is the same for both public hearings, the concerns expressed at the two meetings will likely be substantially different.
Per its charge, the IWC may only rule on the merits of an application based on the potential impacts from construction on any of the wetlands on the property. That means the public may only speak for or against the application based on those concerns at the IWC public hearing.
The application for the development is proposing no activity in the wetlands, but the commission had concerns about the proximity of the construction to the wetlands.
The PZC hearing in March will have a larger scope than IWC hearing, according to Kathy King, an official in the Land Use Office. The PZC can have input on aspects of the application that pertain to zoning requirements, the proposed uses on the property, and open space requirements. Any potential concerns such as traffic increases can also be discussed at the PZC hearing.
According to King, the staggering of the two public hearings was done purposely. There are statutory requirements associated with the timeline of when the PZC must accomplish certain tasks based on when an application is received. Additionally, the PZC needs IWC input before it can make a ruling on an application. By opening the IWC hearing a month before the PZC hearing it allows for the IWC approval process to start so that the PZC process doesn’t stall.
At the hearings, the public will be able to speak in favor, against, or neutrally about the application. The applicants may make a more detailed presentation of their proposal and may respond to questions from the commission members. Depending on if the commission members feel they have received enough information, they may vote to either close the public hearing or continue it to a later date. Once a public hearing is closed, the application is eligible for decision, which usually comes at a subsequent regular meeting by that commission.
If the application is approved by the both the IWC and the PZC, the former high school property will be turned into Indian River Landing, a mixed-used development consisting of retail, restaurants, and a hotel. There will also be a trail system consisting of walking trails and scenic vistas on the property.
An application and drawings available in the town’s land use office show that the plan calls for nine buildings to be built on the 37-acre property. The plans call aim for four restaurants spaces, five retail spaces, a 55,150-square-foot grocer, and a 14,021-square-foot hotel with 100 rooms.
The application estimates a start date of May 2020 and a completion date of October 2022. The developer of the project told the Harbor News that it’s not ready to make any public announcement on specific tenants as of press time.
In late 2018, residents approved the $2.2 million sale of the old high school to Greylock Property Group. Since that time, the developer has conducted test work on the site as it prepared for the application process. That preparation included a successful petition to subdivide within the property’s zone to allow for smaller wastewater systems and an agreement with the town to split the remediation costs of discovered asbestos on the site.
The Feb. 4 IWC public hearing and March 2 PZC hearing are both scheduled at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.