In 1980, F. William Smith and Paul W. Boyd formed the team that developed Potter Pond. Bill Smith had already tastefully developed two other condominium communities in Lexington, Russell Square and East Village Square; he came with considerable experience in building appealing homes for Lexington residents. But Potter Pond was quite different from his other Lexington projects.
The forty-three acre site upon which Potter Pond is constructed is unique. Potter Pond is built on the site of the former Powder Horn Golf Course, a Par Three Golf Course that was successfully operated from the mid 1960's until it closed in 1979. In earlier years, Potter Pond was the site of a New England farm. Benjamin Wellington farmed the land when he returned a hero from the Revolutionary War. The land is hilly and contains four separate conservation areas totaling 15.28 acres.
It was no easy task for Paul Boyd and Bill Smith to secure the necessary permits to build Potter Pond. The Lexington Planning Board, the Zoning Board of Appeals, the Conservation Commission, and the homeowners on Walnut Street were all interested parties. Condominium developments were still new to Lexington, and the developers met roadblocks at every turn. The land was purchased for $1.2 million in 1980 from the Potter family. Lexington extracted a number of important concessions from the developers prior to granting the required building permits. The Board of Appeals scaled back the development to 100 homes on the forty three acres. They restricted the number of garage spaces and bedrooms. They insisted on reserving some of the housing units for purchase by the town for low-income housing. (Eventually, the Town of Lexington settled upon an arrangement whereby the profit from the sale of ten "B" units was provided to the Town by the developers as Potter Pond's contribution to low income housing. There was to be no incremental cost to the town for maintaining roadways and the utilities that serviced the development. The roads would be privately maintained by the condominium development under the permit approved by the Board of Appeals. The list of restrictions went on and on. Still, the developers pressed on with the site plan.
Royal Barry Wills Associates, colonial architects, designed the Potter Pond condominiums to blend into the neighborhood. Earth-toned plank exteriors, high-pitched roofs, center brick chimneys, and small vertical windows keep authentic colonial proportions. One-third of the 43 acre site is taken up by marshy ponds and a steep hillside, leaving gravel hillocks and ridges as the most suitable ground for building. The 100 town houses are clustered to flow with the natural contours of the hills and ridges.
Potter Pond was built in three phases. Phase One was constructed in 1980 and includes 40 town houses on the left side of the expanded main retention pond as one enters from the Walnut Street entrance. Phase Two, constructed in 1981 and 1982, contains 18 homes on the right side of the main retention pond as one enters from Walnut Street. The 42 homes in Phase Three were begun in the summer of 1983. The development was completed in 1985 and turned over to the Potter Pond Condominium Association.
The early 1980's were a very difficult period for the construction business. Lexington Savings Bank became a joint venture partner. The Bank took a 50 percent stake in the development. The profits were split 50-50 between the Bank and the Potter Pond Village Associates Partnership. When mortgage interest rates topped 16 percent in 1982, it became particularly difficult for prospective buyers to afford to purchase homes in Potter Pond. By 1983, however, interest rates started to drop back to more reasonable levels, and the units started to sell. By the time Phase Three was begun in the summer of 1983, the developers had advance reservations on over half of the units to be constructed. Potter Pond was a success!
After the completion of Potter Pond, Bill Smith and Paul Boyd went on to develop two more developments of executive homes in Lexington: Hampton Road off Concord Avenue and Dover Lane off Pleasant Street. All five developments in Lexington are unique in their own personal ways. Today, Bill Smith still resides in Lexington. Paul Boyd passed away in 2006 at his home in Camden, Maine. Both developers took immense pride in the development.
The residents and trustees of Potter Pond appreciate the natural beauty of the property and are committed to preserving it. The property contains many mature specimen trees which create an attractive environment for a wide variety of wildlife.
Yes, Potter Pond is a very special community. We are pleased to have you as a neighbor.
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