ROCHESTER – Housing may come as part of The Ridge mall’s second phase of development, but not until further studies are completed.
A change to the city zoning plan is required to allow Waterstone Properties to build housing on the Farmington Road site. The developers and an official responsible for the city’s economic development had hoped the change could be approved by the town planning committee on Monday evening and sent to the city council, which will have to approve it.
That didn’t happen.
Instead, Portsmouth-based Weston & Sampson Engineers Inc. is being asked to look into phase 2 plans for The Ridge as part of an urban development study.
“Another set of eyes”
Rochester’s Director of Economic Development Michael Scala said it means it will be at least September before the development change is presented to the city council for a first reading.
“It’s a third-party look,” Scala said of the engineering firm’s study. “Another perspective can ensure that we have exceeded all T and I points. The planning committee had a few questions and wanted to make sure we didn’t miss anything. This is in the best interests of the city. “
Scala said Weston & Sampson has worked for the city in the past, mostly for the public works department. He said officials have always been happy with the company’s work.
One problem raised Monday night related to setbacks for residential property at The Ridge, that is, removal of surrounding streets and commercial properties. This includes the existing buildings on top of the large shopping center that houses the Market Basket and a variety of shops and restaurants, as well as the future development of the property.
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“A lot of ideas arose from the discussion,” said Scala. “Personally, I liked the idea from Board Member Tim Fontneau that we have the ability to look at each case on a case-by-case basis. There’s a lot of variety that can happen there; it’s not one size fits all.” all.”
Scala said they are basing some of their proposals for the project on a similar project in Dover. He said Pointe Place has many similarities and could serve as a template.
Pointe place:114 residential units pitched for the development of Dover
Zone change requested
The multi-million dollar Phase 2 of The Ridge Project was originally intended to continue the commercial development of Phase 1. However, a look at the economy showed that residential space was more in demand than commercial / office space, so the developers asked about the switch.
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The proposed zoning change that will allow residential development is specific to The Ridge. Scala said the area could take on several aspects: mixed use with residential and commercial properties, apartment buildings with separate commercial development, or any combination.
Waterstone Properties directors have said the expansion of The Ridge project at 92 Farmington Road (Route 11) is expected to include three restaurants with the possible addition of market price apartments and a theater.
The planners also discussed the height, density, free space, traffic and parking space requirements for residential developments.
Board member Mark Sullivan offered to give the board a presentation on how the housing development could affect the tax hike funding agreement applicable to the project. The board asked him to bring it to their workshop meeting in August.