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Marrano Homes gets state OK to start Summerwind Patio Homes

Marrano Homes has received final approval from the state Attorney General's Office to begin marketing and selling its planned new patio home community in South Lancaster, after years of delays.

The new Summerwind Patio Homes project consists of 40 home sites, which are now available to home buyers. It's the sixth part of Marrano's larger Summerfield Farms development, which is an eight-phase project that will contain 335 home sites upon completion, and it's the first patio home development in that part of the town. Marrano already has a patio home community in North Lancaster, called Juniper Landing, with 29 lots.

The project is located off William Street, near Bowen Avenue, with ranch-style homes that offer loft options and range in price from $290,000 to $350,000. A condominium association will manage exterior maintenance, including snow removal, landscaping and grass-cutting.

The home builder, a subsidiary of Marrano Marc Equity, is finally moving forward with construction after struggling to get permits for 15 years, mostly because of nearby wetlands.

The project faced significant concern that a portion of the abandoned farm fields on the property was inhabited by an endangered bird. Only after "lengthy on-site bird surveys, reviews and assessments" did officials determine that "the bird was not present," Marrano officials said.

The home builder signed an agreement with regulators in 2009 that allowed the project to proceed, with 125 acres of land now permanently preserved as regulated wetlands. The agreement specified that bird inspections would have to be continued for a number of years and then Marrano still had to process wetlands permits and other approvals in subsequent years.

The project now includes a centrally located pond and a dry bio-retention pond.

“This is a long-awaited and anticipated project,” said Dave DePaolo, executive vice president of land development for Marrano. “We cooperated with environmental regulators each step of the way to ensure no aspect of the environment or wildlife was threatened by the project.”

Marrano plans to develop the last two phases of Summerfield Farms later this year and next year. The seventh phase will include 58 single-family homes, while the last stage has 55 more patio homes. In all, the entire community is valued at more than $100 million, Marrano said.

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