SALISBURY — Salisbury Beach may be changed forever after the Planning Board unanimously approved the 235-unit One Oceanfront housing complex Wednesday night.

Big Block Development Group has been planning to build the $130 million housing development at the corner of Broadway and Oceanfront South ever since company representatives first appeared before the board in late 2017.

But the project ended up in state Land Court after the developer disagreed with the board's 44 conditions it handed down with its approval in 2018.

Big Block Development Group came out with a slightly smaller project — down from 240 units — late last year.

The project includes about 7,187 square feet of leasable commercial space and a flood zone-acceptable stadium staircase/commercial deck connecting to public property.

The board met remotely Wednesday night with the public able to watch and comment through the Salisbury Community TV and Media Center.

Chairman Don Egan said Big Block still needs to provide the board with the stadium staircase design and a complete lighting and landscaping plan, which is before the Conservation Commission.

One Oceanfront residents will not be allowed to leave their dogs alone on their balconies; a 500-square-foot dog park will be created on the premises.

Wayne Capolupo of Salisbury, a Big Block managing partner, said in a text message Thursday that the Planning Board's approval is "very exciting."

"We look forward to working with the Planning Department to finalize the settlement," Capolupo wrote, and working with the Conservation Commission as well.

"Of course, the current economic downturn and public health crisis looms large over the ultimate fate of the project," he added.

Big Block will also need to provide Salisbury with a one-time, $3,000-per-unit contribution to the beach infrastructure fund, according to town bylaws. 

"That infrastructure fund is designed to pay for improvements in the beach center," Egan said.

Construction is expected to take two to three years.

In a written statement to The Daily News, Egan said one of the Planning Board's primary roles is implementation of the town's master plan, which calls for the reinvigoration of the beach center.

"The Big Block development will go a long way toward achieving the vision laid out by the town in the master plan," Egan wrote. "The revised proposal includes features like the connection to the town's boardwalk, the construction of stadium seating and additional commercial venues that will enhance the public's enjoyment of the beach center.

"Feedback from the public and town officials was crucial to the Planning Board’s deliberation during the entire approval process and is greatly appreciated," he added.

Egan said the Planning Board has addressed the public's concerns about privatization and the impact on the neighborhood to the best of its ability.

"The site plan approval was a delicate balance between modern-day urban development and the famous Salisbury Beach resort community with over 150 years of history," Egan wrote. "The town said they wanted revitalization; it is our hope that this helps bring that about."

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

"Feedback from the public and town officials was crucial to the Planning Board’s deliberation during the entire approval process and is greatly appreciated."

Chairman Don Egan

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