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DDA discusses future of Palmer lot following purchase

A view of the Palmer lot.
A view of the Palmer lot.

Following the Chelsea Downtown Development Authority‘s (DDA) unanimous decision to purchase the Palmer lot for $750,000 in May, the next step is to decide what will go there and what kind of buffer strip improvement will be placed between the property and the adjacent residences.

At the Thursday, June 20 DDA meeting, Fred Hoffman spoke to the DDA about his concerns for future plans for the property and what effects these changes might have on the nearby residential neighborhood.

The parcels are currently a parking lot and Hoffman asked what type of buffer strip would be placed between the commercial property and the nearby homes. He also asked for details of planned locations for potential public restrooms, additional lighting and expressed his concerns about possible late-night noise issues.

“Please put a lot of thought into (this) so this doesn’t affect us,” Hoffman said about plans for the property.

Flintoft said the city has zoning standards that require certain types of buffer elements be added. They are planned for the back southerns portion of the property, and after meeting with city officials to discuss the zoning ordinances that apply to the property, the DDA hopes to bring a preliminary site plan to the city’s Planning Commission as early as its July 16 meeting.

In May, the DDA negotiated a $750,000 sales agreement with Donna A. Palmer, owner of the lot, to purchase the property. The agreement includes seven annual installments, and there is a “right of first refusal for a property adjoining the lot and connecting to Garfield Street,” according to the resolution approved by the DDA Board of Directors in May.

The parcels are located west of Main Street, south of the Palmer Auto Services building and north of Summit Street, with addresses of 304 and 312 South Main St.

The property will be paid for through the DDA’s operating budget.

The closing for the property is scheduled for July 12, Chelsea City Manager John Hanifan told the DDA, adding that Master Plan concepts for what might be placed on the property have been in discussion and preliminary drawings have been available for two years. They include the addition of a pavilion for the city’s farmers’ markets, public rest rooms, some open space and additional parking, but nothing definitive has been decided.

“The puzzle pieces are there and there will be discussions over the fall months,” Hanifan said. “We haven’t bid it out yet.”

And, the DDA plans to firm up the plans by seeking additional public input soon.

“There will be something great there,” said DDA Treasurer Mark Heydlauff.

Members of the DDA plan to meet with Christine Linfield, city engineer, to discuss what type of buffer can be placed on the lot and what types of materials can be used so drawings can be done to show variations of what it might look like.



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