NORTHBRIDGE, Mass. — Residents with environmental concerns about the proposed Osterman Commerce Park off Church Street Extension in Northbridge have until Tuesday, Aug. 14, to make their case to the state Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.
The current proposal includes a road into the property that requires a wetland crossing.
William Gage, an environmental analyst for OEEA, met with the project designer, town officials and residents about the proposal Thursday, and later toured the wetland area that will be affected.
Mark Anderson of Heritage Design Group gave a brief overview of the project, which would be completed over time, in four phases. Anderson stressed that each phase would require separate approvals from various town and state agencies.
Anderson said the development is “four to five years out. This is just a concept drawing.’’
The development would sit on a 90-acre site that was once a gravel pit that was abandoned in the 1960s after being over-dug and mismanaged, Anderson said. The property owner gave 26 acres of the 90-acre parcel to the Blackstone River and Canal Commission.
The donated acreage has the potential of being part of a planned bike path along the Blackstone River and its historic canal. In addition, the donation protects a wood turtle habitat that Anderson said will be improved by the developer with a nesting area fenced off from the commercial development.
The OEEA looks at projects and guides developers toward which agencies and permits must be involved in the process.
Though entrance to the development will be off Church Street Extension, Gage said he questions whether the developer will need to bring the state Department of Transportation into the permitting mix, as Church Street Extension intersects with Route 122, a state road.
A Plummer Park resident, whose home abuts the property, said her concern is storm water flooding. The project has a detailed storm water management plan, Anderson said, and, as her home is upstream, it will not be affected.
Comments on environmental concerns will be accepted by the OEEA until Aug. 14 and an environmental impact report detailing what permits Anderson will need will be issued Aug. 24.