Public hearing rescheduled for Hope Mill

Public hearing rescheduled for Hope Mill

SCITUATE – Opponents of the Hope Mill redevelopment will continue to wait for their chance to speak to the Plan Commission after the meeting scheduled for Monday, Sept. 10, was postponed due to not being posted on the Secretary of State’s website.

According to open meetings law, a public meeting must be posted on the site a minimum of 48 hours before the scheduled meeting. According to Calista McDermott, zoning clerk, this did not happen despite the meeting being scheduled more than a month in advance at a previous Plan Commission meeting July 31.

During a five-minute gathering of the Plan Commission Monday, a new date was set for Thursday, Sept. 27, at the Scituate High School, starting at 7 p.m.

The commission also announced Oct. 31 as the extended deadline for a final decision on Paramount Development’s master plan for the Hope Mill.

Over the past few months, representatives for Paramount spent six hours over two hearings presenting the new master plan for a 193-unit development, with 40 percent of the units slated for affordable housing.

During both prior meetings, presenters went past the 10 p.m. meeting cutoff, denying members of the public from being able speak until the next hearing.

Richard DeRosas, owner of Paramount, said the Plan Commission’s mandatory 120-day deadline to decide on the development’s master plan had already been extended from Sept. 28 to Oct. 3. He said he agreed to extend the deadline to give the people a chance to be heard.

“We’re going to allow it and let them have their say,” he said.

DeRosas said his plan is the last chance at life for the historic building that has been unoccupied since 2006.

“This is definitely the last chance for the mill. They’ve had other people come in and look it over the past few years. No one has gotten as far as I have,” DeRosas said.

With state approvals in hand, DeRosas said he is only waiting on the commission.

“The longer we wait, the more damage is done, and the higher my costs,” he said.

In response to mill renovation proposals, Hope Mill Concerned Citizens formed last year arguing that the large-scale project would be a drain on local infrastructure, traffic and area parking.