A public hearing to determine the fate of the fire station redevelopment project, which had been continued to Aug. 20, has been put off yet again, town officials said this week.
According to Town Planner Paige Duncan, issues related to obtaining a quorum on Aug. 20 prompted officials to reschedule the continued hearing to a special meeting of the board of selectmen on Thursday, Sept. 12 at 7 p.m.
No further testimony will be accepted, Duncan said, and a final ruling by selectmen is anticipated at that time.
At issue is a so-called municipal conversion permit, which would allow the town-owned property to be used by a private-sector purchaser — in this case Douglas King Builders Inc. of North Easton.
It represents the first of several regulatory hurdles needed for the project to move forward. In addition, the project requires a separate special permit from the planning board, as well as an array of permits from the town building and inspections department.
Last May, King was chosen by a 2-1 vote as best suited of three competing firms to redevelop the half-acre property in conformance with the town’s vision of a mixed-use project embracing both a restaurant and residential uses on the site.
At that time, selectmen David Feldman and Chris Mitchell supported King’s proposal with freshman member Edward O’Leary dissenting. Board members Mark Elfman and Leah Gibson recused themselves.
A fourth applicant had been disqualified for having failed to follow bid procedures outlined in the town’s request for proposals.
During the Aug. 6 hearing on the conversion permit, several neighbors living nearby the downtown site spoke in opposition to the current plans, which call for a brewpub operated by Shovel Town Brewery to be located in the old firehouse, along with 19 market-rate apartments and 26 on-site parking spaces.
Four of those one-bedroom apartments would be located on the second floor of the old fire station and 15 more in a separate building to be located on the former Keating Funeral Home footprint at the corner of Rockhill and Market streets.
The inability to reach a voting quorum on Aug. 20 stems from a decision by selectmen Mark Elfman and Leah Gibson to recuse themselves from sitting on the matter. This leaves just three members — David Feldman, Chris Mitchell and Edward O’Leary — to vote on the conversion permit request.