WOBURN - The Planning Board recently agreed to extend the completion deadline for a small but controversial two-lot subdivision by Plympton and Winn Streets.

During their latest gathering in City Hall, the Planning Board voted unanimously in favor of granting a request by local developer George Gately to push out the finish date for the Flagg Street subdivision until Dec. of 2020.

The appointed officials also consented to a request from the petitioner to set a $44,400 surerty amount to guarantee the subdivision is built to the city's specifications. During a previous discussion about the matter, Gately explained he has finalized new homeowner association documents, which will eventually hold the owners of the new residences responsible for maintenance of roadway, stormwater and drainage, and other key subdivision infrastructure.

First approved in Nov. of 2017 after months of deliberations, the subdivision entails the construction of two new single-family homes at the end of the small side street that is sandwiched between Main and Winn Streets.

Gately made room for the new homes by demolishing an existing two-family house that dated back to 1800 and combining it with an adjacent parcel. Each new lot now contains roughly 12,000 square feet and is accessed by a new 26-foot wide extension off of Flagg Street that culminates in a cul-de-sac.

When the local builder first introduced the project, a number of neighborhood residents expressed a litany concerns about the subdivision. Amongst other issues, those abutters questioned whether the new construction would create new flooding and drainage problems. The planners, describing the new cul-de-sac design as substandard, also worried about emergency access to the new homes.

Ultimately, Gately agreed to install a new drainage system and to remove a number of obstructions — such as a retaining wall — from the new access road.

During the latest Planning Board meeting, member James Callahan inquired about the status of an old utility pole that was encroaching in the new right-of-way. Gately confirmed Eversource had removed that equipment as required per the Planning Board's approval of the project back in 2017.

"Ideally, we'd like to see it moved," remarked Callahan, reminding Gately of that pledge.

The developer confirmed the utility pole had in fact been taken down as promised. He also explained DPW Director Jay Duran has been shown where its replacement would be erected — though the city manager had not necessarily okayed that proposed location.

Hoping to give Eversource the green-light to install the replacement pole as soon-as-possible, the developer hopes Duran or another City Hall official can okay the new location quickly.

"He did do a site visit with me and saw the stake in the ground where I wanted it," said Gately of Duran's recent visit to Flagg Street. "I am a little bit in limbo [regarding whether that spot meets his approval], so I'd like an answer."

According to the petitioner, he believes he will finish construction of the new homes and all related infrastructure before Dec. of 2020. His previous completion deadline expired in late November.

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