‘How does this benefit community? … Why so family unfriendly?’ they ask
Hull residents gathered virtually for a June 23 public hearing by the town’s Planning Board on the proposed Nantasket Dunes project and greeted the proposal with a storm of questions and concerns.
The Dunes is a proposed five-story multi-use building on the site at 97 Nantasket Ave, the land that currently accommodates the Paragon arcade and mini-golf course. The Dunes would contain a total of 116 one- and two-bedroom units and studios, with a few small retail spaces on the first floor.
The review process has been a months-long one; the proposal was originally submitted at the end of February but had to be redesigned because of zoning issues.
Planning Board members expressed annoyance and concern about how little of a complete plan was presented at the meeting.
“We’re sort of talking about concepts,” said member Steve White. “We have not received, that I know of, an actual project yet.”
Nathan Peyton, another member, agreed, saying that, although “this was a really interesting and probably helpful exercise for the developer to get input from the public,” it was “probably inappropriate for us to keep going about a concept.”
The presentation on the plan, which was provided by Monty French and Alex Yoon, consisted of mostly exterior design graphics, with some dimensions and a hypothetical layout plan.
Adam Brodsky, the attorney representing The Dunes, explained that the developers wanted the hearing before presenting more concrete plans because “we did not want to invest in revising these plans … without ensuring we’re on the right track.”
“We think there’s a lot of good going with Paragon Boardwalk,” said Yoon. “We’re looking to continue building off that energy.”
Yoon said that “we recognize that projects of this scale demand attention to detail.”
Susan Vermilya, a Hull resident, said the project appears “more massive than I had anticipated.”
Vermilya said that only 1 percent of the building would be commercial space and asked the plan’s proponents to “help me understand how this benefits the residents of Hull.”
Maureen Capplis, another resident, noted that “Hull needs more family housing” and that the proposed development would offer only studios and one- and two-bedroom apartments.
“Why is it so family unfriendly?” she asked.
Greg Koelsch added that he “didn’t see anything there that would attract any non-residents to the area.”
“How does this benefit the community?” asked Rob Stephens.
Stephens also wanted to know if there had been a study done “in regards to sewer” and asked that they “look into the impacts.”
The availability of parking and the flow of traffic around the proposed building were also concerns voiced by attendees.
“These are all valid questions that we will answer in due course,” said Brodsky.
He did not address the questions during the meeting, instead saying that his clients would take the information into consideration and “develop plans that address all of these concerns.”
At the end of the discussion, members of the board decided to continue the public hearing, but even that sparked debate. Brodsky requested 60 days until the next hearing, placing it at the end of August, but several members argued that there would be poor attendance and bad scheduling.
Eventually the meeting was scheduled for Sept. 22 due to a surplus of holidays in the beginning of September.