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Custom built homes at Groton Woods

(Printed in part from an Article by M.E. Jones,
Nashoba Valley Marketplace Feature Writer, August 15, 2001)

A lot can happen in 10 years. At Groton Woods, for example, an upscale development-in-progress off Route 119 (at the Four Corners) near Lost Lake. The timeframe mentioned marks Dennis Lacombe's debut as a builder, his first solo foray into the field he'd entered as an apprentice framer while he was still in high school and worked for local builder Jack Walintis...

Basic to Lacombe's designs are value-added items such as bluestone walkways, Kohler fixtures, central air and vac and security systems. Sprinklers are optional. Not everybody here has them, but the grounds are all green. Every lawn I saw looked lush and lovely, with strategically set flowers and shrubs--landscaper's heaven. Unless, of course, homeowners do it themselves, which seems just as likely, given the pride of the place evident everywhere in this rolling rural enclave.

Nice Neighborhood
But large and luxurious as these homes are, it takes more than mortar and millwork to create a community. In today's fast-paced commuter world, beautiful neighborhoods can be ghost towns where nobody knows each other. Not here, apparently...

Most folks coming to Groton Woods are from the area, seeking rural environs and shorter commuting distances, with quick and easy access to Rte. 495. A community here, with parties, play-groups and friendly get-togethers...

About 45 families now live along the wide streets and cozy cul-de-sacs of Groton Woods. At full buildout, plans call for 116 homes on as many lots. The size and scope of the project seems less formidable, however, when one looks at the schedule. Lacombe builds only four or five homes here in any given year.

This builder may not be a veteran yet, but according to one satisfied customer, he has the right stuff...

The subdivision is a lovely spot. Geese glide on the placid surface of the water. Heather and goldenrod rim the pond's periphery. Beyond that...woods. Tall trees border the entire area. Dennis Lacombe says he tries to disturb as little as possible when preparing a house lot.

"We don't clearcut," he said.

Speaking of surroundings, over 200 acres of conservation land surrounds Groton Woods, including Skinner Forest and 150 acres donated to the town by Lacombe's father in the early stages of the development. Robert Lacombe owned this entire parcel, his son explained, having bought the land years ago and added to it, several parcels at a time.

Said parcels, now that they are house lots, range in the "builder's acre" size and the houses have from 2,800 to 6,500 square feet of living space. Prices range from the mid $600,000s to over a million dollars. Lacombe said over 90 percent of the houses he builds fall into the "custom" category. In a sense, they're all custom. With a building schedule of no more than five houses per year here, each one is done right.

And Lacombe puts a high priority on the big picture. Attractive placement is important, he says. Styles complement but don't copy one another. Garages face to the side, offset from the front of the houses. Ample space separates each property. There are no restrictive covenants, he said. So far so good--the houses look marvelous, as does the landscaping. The topography helps, too, gently rolling hills. Roads are wide, paved, with sidewalks on one side...

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