518 South Avenue Heading Back to Zoning Board of Appeals

This will fit right in here in Weston, no? 518 South Avenue

On Wednesday, April 7 at 7:30 pm, the Zoning Board of Appeals will begin hearings for a large development, the so-called Weston Whopper, at 518 South Avenue. The public hearing process had originally started in August 2019 but was paused after the town invoked Safe Harbor. This appeal was denied in March 2021and therefore the hearing process has been re-started. For more information on this project, please see the town website.

The development at 518 South Avenue will have 200 units on 4.5 acres within a 9.5-acre property area. Without editorializing too much, the Owl would have to say it does not fit in too well with the design of this semi-rural community.

A group of neighbors within Weston has created substantial grassroots opposition to the project through Preserve Weston. Citing a number of major issues with the project including conservation and stormwater problems, they are organizing to make this a considerable fight. You can find out more about their efforts here.

Not to be outdone, the developer has started its own website called Weston Whopper, which makes the Owl just a little giggly. It almost seems that the developer is fully aware of the monstrosity it is building (even showing a photo of the huge building behind a tiny house), and explaining how it’s a good thing.

There is no possible way to talk about affordable housing without a lot of emotions from all sides. The Owl is not blessed with a phalanx of liability lawyers and declines to editorialize too much because of the risk of Texan lawsuits arriving. It is unfortunate that a law enacted to try to get more affordable housing in the very expensive MetroWest area (and all of Massachusetts) could harm so deeply the natural environment. Wouldn’t it be great to have that land in preservation instead? It would be an awesome connector from north to south, in an area largely devoid of conservation land. An Owl can dream…

For more information about the state’s “40B” regulations, please see here. To watch the hearings on Weston Media Center’s page, please see here.



  • Wellesley resident here, so my opinion might not be welcome, but…

    Chapter 40B has been on the books for 53 years. Weston, the most well-resourced community in the state, had half a century to comply with 40B on their own terms, and they didn’t even try. Now they’re facing the consequences of that with the Whopper.

    And don’t get me wrong – I don’t think this is an appropriate sort of development for Weston either. But if you’re looking for a scapegoat for why this is happening to you, look in the mirror.

    And now you’re on the verge of making the same mistake with Section 3A, the MBTA community zoning law that passed last year.

    Start reading the tea leaves, Weston. Either you get serious about building affordable housing, or Beacon Hill partners with big developers to make your lives miserable.

    And as long as Massachusetts has a housing shortage, it’s not going to stop. Wellesley learned that the hard way with 40B, and now we’re well on our way to complying with Section 3A. And you can too.

  • We need housing. Building many single family homes is much, much worse for the environment than developments like the whopper.

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