GROTON -- After a relatively smooth review process, the Planning Board voted to close a public hearing on a new medical office building proposed for 120 Boston Road.

The decision was made Dec. 5 following a final public hearing at which representatives of landowner Peter Myette had little to add to site plans previously submitted for review.

Doing business as PCM Realty Trust, Myette has proposed to develop the 3-acre lot at his Boston Road property and to construct a two-story building intended for medical office space.

The hearing began with Myette's application for a permit to place a sign outside the proposed building. He asked that the board wave the requirements of the town's bylaws to allow for a larger sign than allowed.

According to Myette attorney Robert Anctil, the proposed sign would be twice the size authorized in the bylaw. The size was preferred by the building's prospective tenants who thought it was needed to allow patients to find their offices.

But board members balked at the size despite some precedents in town for larger signs.

"That's a wall," declared board member Timothy Svarczkopf of the 8-foot-high sign. "It's not clear what you're proposing."

"If you could scale it down, I'd be happy," added fellow board member George Barringer.

Board members asked that the applicant return with more information, including drawings showing the relation between the sign and the building.

But noting the board's opposition, Myette representatives agreed to remain for the time being within the requirements of the sign bylaw.

Though Myette had little to add to his plans outside of the sign application, longtime opponent of the project, abutter and Avalon Home Design owner Dottie Mack had objections to the sign as she did for many other aspects of the proposal.

Throughout the site plan review process, Mack had voiced her concerns about the project, including those involving the sign, which she felt would obstruct the view to her own property as well as access to Boston Road and a septic system she shares with Myette.

Her opposition continued Dec. 5, when Mack representative Douglas Hartnett rose to present his client's issues. They involved access and easement rights, a planned retaining wall at the rear of the property that he said would come too close to the lot line, and the need for a dual-party agreement before the project could move forward.

In addition, Hartnett said plans for draining Myette's property after rainstorms would direct runoff past the front door of Mack's own building.

Board members let Hartnett's comments stand without comment when he was replaced by Shane Grant. Grant argued that records outlining the past history of the two properties indicate that both must be taken into account if any change in use or construction is planned for either one.

That argument was dismissed after board chairman John Giger pointed out that that condition ended when the two properties were purchased by separate owners.

Following Grant, Mack herself took the floor for a final appeal, arguing that she had been held to different standards than Myette when she installed lights on her property. But Svarczkopf noted that the document Mack presented as proof covered only change in use of existing structures and not construction of a new building.

With that, a vote was called and board members chose to close the public hearing portion of the site plan review process.

The board is expected to reconvene on Dec. 9, when members will consider conditions of approval before taking a final vote on the project.

Also Dec. 5, board members voted to approve a special permit request by Robert Kiley, under contract with the estate of Rita O'Connell, to build new homes on a 25-acre parcel located off Lowell and Schoolhouse roads.

In his application, Kiley proposed a flexible development plan calling for a subdivision of nine lots, one of which includes an existing home. 

To be constructed on the eight remaining one- to two-acre lots will be five-bedroom homes with the remaining 11 acres to be deeded to the town's Water Department to help in protecting a well site on adjacent property.

To be called Chamberlain Mills, the proposed subdivision consists of a single access to the road leading to a rotary off of which separate driveways will radiate, including one that will be shared by a number of the new homes.

With the board's approval in hand, Kiley is next expected to submit a more detailed definitive plan for review early next year.