May 28, 2022

Essex Land Trust Seeks Role in Approval of Foxboro Point Development

Essex Planning Commissioners at Foxboro development site

The Chairman of the Essex Land Trust, Bob Nussbaum and the Chairman of the Land Trust Acquisition Committee, Paul Greenberg, have met with the Foxboro Point developer’s counsel, Terrance Lomme, to work out a mutually satisfactory development plan for the Foxboro Point site.

So far, according to Nussbaum, a single meeting has been held with Attorney Lomme, and a second meeting has been requested.

Frank Sciame, New York City developer

The reason for the Land Trust’s attempt to become involved in the site’s approval process is that the Essex Planning Commission and its President Dr. Thomas Danyliw have declined to suggest any alternative plans for the development.

The developer’s plan would include the construction of six new, luxury residences on the 11 acre water front site plus an upgrade of the existing Croft estate at the site.   The developer, Frank Sciame of New York City, has a conditional contract to buy the property from its current owners, if he finds conditions acceptable for the purchase.

Pocket Park Proposal Offered at May Hearing

At the last Planning Commission meeting on May 10 the developer’s attorney, Terrance Lomme, proposed a so-called “pocket park” on Foxboro Road, which would give visitors along the road, “visual” public access to the North Cover waters below. This plan would preclude a “public access,” pedestrian walkway running across the development property from Foxboro Road to the shore.

This kind of shoreline public access was suggested by Essex resident Reichenbach.  However, Foxboro Road neighbors of the development were adamant in their opposition to such a proposal at the May public hearing.

Developer’s Attorney Questions Land Trust Involvement

In a related development, the developer’s attorney, Terrance Lomme, in a separate interview said that although his client “certainly appreciates” the Land Trust’s interest in the Foxboro Point development, he made it clear that in his view the Land Trust “does not have any jurisdiction” in the approval process of the Foxboro site’s development.

Therefore, it remains to be seen if Lomme will have any further discussions with the Essex Land Trust regarding the project.

On the eve of the June 14 meeting of Planning Commission, Attorney Lomme said that this would be the fourth and last public hearing on the project by the Planning Commission. Previous hearings have been held in March, April and May. Lomme also noted his two site walks of the property with Commission members.

Attorney Terrence Loome on site walk

Ultimately, Lomme anticipates approval of the application at either the July or August meetings of the Commission.  The Commission’s approval could also include suggested amendments to the application.

However, Attorney Lomme believes that the pocket park, with visual public access to the shoreline and the site’s windmill, will be approved by the Planning Commission.

Lomme also said that he agreed with Attorney John Bennet’s argument that he made at the May meeting of the Commission, asserting that the Commission lacks the power, its present regulations notwithstanding, to mandate “public access” at a development site.

Of course, if the Commission suggested a modification in the developer’s plan, which the developer did not find objectionable, then any judicial testing of the validity of the Commission’s regulations would be unnecessary.

The proposed "pocket park" is shown at the top of a blue vertical strip. The horizontal green strip indicates the shoreline easement.