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Quincy-Braintree condo plan back on track after disputes

Less than a month after the proposal for a much-disputed condominium development on the Quincy/Braintree town line was withdrawn, proponents say they’re ready to move forward again.

“The project is back on the table, and it’s good for [Braintree],” said Scott Palmer, owner of 7-11 Independence Ave.

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On July 23, the application for a 36-unit complex on the blighted property was abruptly pulled from the Braintree Zoning Board of Appeals when Palmer and developer Thomas Fitzgerald had reached an impasse over the schedule.

At that time, many thought that this would end the story, but Palmer said the pair have come to a resolution.

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“Nothing has changed. It was sitting down, figuring out where he was at, figuring out his outlook,” Palmer said. “It was a meeting of the minds.”

Palmer declined to elaborate on the resolution, and Fitzgerald didn’t return calls for comment.

Fitzgerald’s attorney, John Garland, didn’t have the details but said the two men “are getting back together and they are resolving their differences.”

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Garland noted, however, that no additional filings had been submitted to the town of Braintree.

“The project is going to get back on track. In what form, time will tell — hopefully sooner rather than later,” he said.

If the project is changed significantly, it will have to go through the planning process anew. If not, the project would pick up where it had left off.

The dilapidated property, teeming with environmental concerns and drowning in more than a half-million dollars in back taxes to the two communities, has been the source of controversy for years.

Plans for a residential development at the site languished until October 2012, when Braintree town councilors agreed to a commercial rezoning of the property. Since then, plans have been under way for a 36-unit structure to be built in Braintree.

Project proponents were seeking several variances from local boards to build a project taller and denser than zoning laws allow. Braintree officials like the idea of cleaning up the site and generating tax revenue, but neighbors have complained about added traffic.

Quincy officials, meanwhile, say they’ve been left out of the process, even though half of the land is in Quincy. The latest change of heart angered one of those officials.

‘The project is going to get back on track. In what form, time will tell — hopefully sooner rather than later.’

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“I think it speaks volumes about the nature of this project and its proponents — that they have been jerking the neighborhood around for a year or two at this point with meetings, cancellations, meetings, proposal on, proposal off. Quite frankly, it’s extremely frustrating,” said Quincy City Councilor Brian Palmucci.

Palmucci said the back-and-forth was most likely a stalling tactic.

Palmucci added that if the project was back on, he hopes “it’s a better project than has previously been presented to the neighborhood and in the future more care will be taken to work with folks.”

For Braintree officials, the project’s revival is good news, and delays were just part of the process.

“I think the overall goal is to have the best possible development go there and clean up the site,” said Town Council president Chuck Kokoros. “I’m glad that they are back on track and moving forward with redeveloping the parcel and hopefully bringing the appearance of the site and the area to a higher level.”

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@-gmail.com.
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