Monday July 30, 2012

GREAT BARRINGTON -- A 59-home development proposal for land off Christian Hill Road will be looked at by a third party before any decision is made on granting a special permit for the plan.

That decision was made by the Planning Board on Thursday night at a public hearing held at the State Road fire station. The board listened to a presentation on the clustered condominium plan being proposed by Barrington Brook LLC and Stone Path Development LLC.

The board said it wanted an outside firm to look at the traffic study cited by the developers, and there will be questions for town counsel regarding the long-term responsibility of road and property maintenance if the project were to fail. The developers intend to set up a homeowners association to pay for all property maintenance.

Town planner Christopher Rem bold said the wastewater superintendent also had asked for an independent review of the group's sewage plan.

The developers agreed to the review, but not without some apprehension.

"We'll agree to that, but we want to be part of the process," said Joe Wilkerson of Stone Path. "We want to know how much we're going to spend."

Wilkerson and Ed Mc Cormick, the principals of Stone Path, spent $6 million to purchase the property in 2004. The previously approved plan called for 15 large plots to be sold to buyers intent on building $1 million homes. To date, only three of the plots have been sold and only two homes have been built.

McCormick and Wilkerson said they spent $50,000 going through the review process with the Planning Board during that process.

David Ward, who has taken over the development plan for the site, also raised questions about how far back this would push their schedule.

"Interest rates are low; we'd like to get some activity going," said Ward. "Most of my market goes home after Labor Day."

Rembold said he understood the concern, and the town will "act as quickly as we can."

The property would be targeted to second-home owners and would sell in the mid-$400,000 range, according to Ward.

The hearing was continued until Aug. 9 at 7 p.m. at Town Hall.