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Easton Selectmen Endorse Initial Plans for a Local Initiative Project on Washington Street

The proposed "Friendly 40B" would add 38 units and 2400 square feet of commercial space Jim's Auto Body.

Easton Selectmen unanimously approved preliminary plans this week for a Local Initiative Project, or "Friendly 40B" on 244 Washington Street that would add 38 units and 2400 square feet of commercial space near Jim's Auto Body.

Of the 38 units, plans call for 10 of the units to be affordable and one to be a 3-bedroom.

A Selectmen endorsement moved the project forward as a Local Initiative Project (LIP), which would seek to "stimulate the production of affordable housing opportunities by fostering cooperation between municipalities and housing developers," according to the Department of Housing and Economic Development.

After signing a building permit for the Shovel Shop project last year,, where the zoning board has the ability to reject or accept proposals that would bring the number of affordable housing units to the state-required 10 percent.

If Selectmen approve final plans, Developer Amos Eisenberg also agreed to provide $50,000 towards the design of intersection improvements at Route 138 and Elm Street, which could expediate progress from the state.

Intersection improvement designs are a project Town Administrator David Colton said hasn't been able to fit into Easton's budget.

"We all understand the difficulty with intersection of Elm and Washington Street," he said. "We had to revise that down because of economic conditions. We couldn’t afford to squeeze out that money."

Eisenberg said of the 2400 square feet of retail space, he hopes to use half of it for his own office space and an exercise facility that tenants and outsiders could use.

With Selectmen approval of initial plans, the project will move on to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and the Easton Zoning Board for future review and approval before final plans are brought back to Selectmen.

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