Town, Target and Sharon Commons representatives are drafting a modified proposal to the Sharon Zoning Board of Appeals designed to address the ZBA's traffic concerns and the retailer's needs, Selectmen Chairman William Heitin said today.
A traffic study of the effects of a four-lane road (two lanes per direction) to "assure that it is pedestrian friendly" is envisioned as part of this, Heitin told Sharon Patch.
The proposal will be presented to the ZBA at the board's next meeting, he said. He believed that that meeting is July 25.
Heitin said the decision to do the proposal came out of a 90-minute phone conversation that he initiated and had with Target senior executives and Sharon Commons representatives on June 15.
Heitin said he wanted to convince Target to "re-think their position of pulling out of the Sharon Commons project."
"I'm very hopeful that the modifications, based on some of the feedback I've gotten since the ZBA meeting, will be able to meet everyone's standards to get a positive outcome at the ZBA meeting," Heitin said.
On June 13, the ZBA voted 3-0 to accept developer Sharon CF II LP's request to withdraw its application without prejudice. The application included changing the two-lane road to four lanes (two in each direction), rotating the Target building's orientation, and moving other buildings on the site, Chairman John Lee said.
Lee and the two other board members voting indicated they felt the originally proposed two-lane road (one in each direction) was more consistent with the lifestyle center that Sharon voters supported when they amended the zoning.
At that meeting, Target Real Estate Senior Development Manager Katie Rivard said the area Targets with the four-lane roads include Abington, Plainville, Framingham and Watertown.
The Easton Target was the lone exception, "and quite frankly, it does not work that well for our guests," she said.
The Sharon Planning Board was scheduled to meet with town consultant Tom Houston this past Wednesday night to discuss a potential zoning amendment for Sharon Commons. However, that meeting was canceled, with no public explanation given.
Heitin said he believes an amendment hadn't been drafted. Rather, a discussion of the topic was planned.
The modified proposal in the works is "the reason that the planning board decided not to move forward," Heitin said.
The Sharon Commons project is "far from over," he said.
Target officials "absolutely want to be in Sharon," he said.
"They have the funding. The problem is, the funding was appropriated to them a while ago. They're hoping that there is not a re-allocation of funding," Heitin said.
"They are dedicated to doing Sharon. They think it's a great location."
The store would remain eyed for a fall 2013 opening, he said.
Sharon Commons is a nearly 400,000-square-foot development eyed for about 59 acres bordered by Old Post Road and Interstate 95.