Townhouse complex eyed for former J&D Marina site in Otis

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OTIS — With a plan that will sound familiar to longtime residents, a 45-unit, luxury townhouse complex is being proposed for construction along the Otis Reservoir where J&D Marina once existed.

D&J Development of Scottsdale, Ariz., has filed applications for permits with the Otis Conservation Commission, Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals to win necessary approvals for Waters Edge at the Berkshires. In addition to nine buildings containing five townhouses each, plans for the community include an in-ground pool, private clubhouse, tennis court and docks, as well as a private water and sewer system. The townhouses will be marketed to second-home owners and retirees, according to an application filed with the town.

A similar development was proposed by another developer of the property in 2007, but it never came to fruition.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will open its public hearing on the request for a project variance at 7 p.m. Monday at the Town Hall, 1 North Main St. A variance is needed to complete demolition and to alleviate requirements that specify how close a building can be to property lines and roadways. The meeting is open to the public.

The Planning Board will open its public hearing on a request for a special permit at 7 p.m. March 11 at Town Hall. A special permit is required by Otis bylaws for any construction project over 20 acres. Waters Edge would be constructed on 35 acres.

The Conservation Commission opened its public hearing on the project Feb. 19. Due to the presence of wetlands and an intermittent stream, developers were required to file a notice of intent with the commission, which will review plans to ensure compliance with environmental protection laws.

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D&J Development manager Dave Donahue declined to comment but said he is looking forward to presenting his plans to the town Monday.

Today, the Waters Edge property is mostly forest with gravel roads and a few dilapidated structures from its previous life as a marina. D&J is proposing to demolish the existing structures.

Past proposal

The Waters Edge property, set along the banks of Otis Reservoir on a quiet road dotted with a summer camp and cabins, might be best remembered by residents as the site of J&D Marina and The Gathering Place restaurant — two popular destinations that brothers James and Richard Fink ran for 36 years.

The brothers retired in 2006 and sold the property to Otis Lake Partners LLC for $1.65 million the next year. Otis Lake Partners invested thousands of dollars in legal fees, design and obtaining building permits to construct a 55-unit townhouse complex along the reservoir's coast, but never began construction. In 2016, Frederick Lary, Otis Lake Partners' manager, told the Eagle that developers were spread too thin between other projects in New York City and New Jersey and could not find the time to act on the Otis project.

The corporation sold the property at auction in 2016 for $3.1 million to D&J Development. When D&J bought the property, the company also purchased the permits attached to it: a dock license and a formal approval to build a subdivision was granted in 2008.

Kristin Palpini can be reached at kpalpini@berkshireeagle.com, @kristinpalpini, 413-629-4621.


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