Planning Board votes to recommend ‘Hospitality District’

Feb 23, 2021

Members of the Planning Board voted 3-1 to recommend that Town Meeting voters approve the proposed “Hospitality, Recreation, and Entertainment District” which will be up for votes at a Saturday, April 10 Special Town Meeting.

Richard Swenson, Mike King, and George Barrett were in favor of the proposal, while Mike Baptiste was against it.

In a brief presentation, Jeffery Tocchio of the Notos Group, the developer responsible for crafting the zoning overlay district in cooperation with local officials, said that the developers had been responsive to suggested changes to the district.

The Notos Group proposed building a horse racing track and casino on a parcel of land on Glen Charlie Road back in 2019 — a proposal that seems to have been dropped, although the company has undisclosed plans in-the-works for the new district, if it is approved.

A previous version of the proposal was set to encompass about one quarter of the town’s landmass, including the roughly 275-acre property on which the Notos Group had hoped to build its “racino.” The district has been cut down to about 963 acres.

The district would allow a variety of uses including hotels, conference centers, multiple family dwellings, hospitals and riding stables. All projects would have to include an “indoor and/or outdoor commercial recreation facility or place of amusement and residential uses.”

The district still requires projects on at least 100-acre parcels and would require all proposals to go through a special permit process with the Planning Board, which gives the town a fair amount of say about what is built.

Currently, the land is zoned only for single-family homes on several acre lots.