Gould Street Development Hearing Continued

Dave Traggorth, the potential developer of the property at 20-24 Gould Street, presented revised plans to the CPDC at a continued public hearing on October 16. A portion of the building currently on the site, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1924 and once housed the Ace Art Company, developer and manufacturer of photographic storage supplies. Original plans for the proposed four-story building were presented to the CPDC on September 11 as a mixed use 40R development.

Changes presented include an increase of the setback from three feet to seven feet on half of the Green Street side of the building. The remainder of that side of the building will continue to have a three foot setback. The developer has increased the number of spaces in the garage to sixty-nine, which conforms to the 1.25 spaces per apartment required by the guidelines. The setback on the Green Street side for floors two and three has been increased to fifteen feet from the property line. The number of apartments has been reduced from fifty-eight to fifty-five and the size of the windows on the Green Street side have also been reduced.

A comprehensive traffic study was also presented, suggesting that during peak periods, residents could expect an additional seventeen automobile trips per hour as a result of the development, with fewer trips during the other periods. This traffic disperses through the area in such a way that it will produce little to no impact on the efficiency of the affected intersections. Some concern was expressed that Green Street was not included in the study, but the developer stressed that if every automobile trip from the building during peak periods went down Green Street, the number of trips in peak periods would be seventeen, though it is highly unlikely that every automobile in the area will travel Green Street. The study took into consideration the other new developments in the area, including Postmark Square and the Prescott Street 40B.

CPDC Chair Nicholas Safina expressed concern over the ratio of compact parking spaces to “normal” parking spaces in the new parking configuration. The compact spaces make up fifty-three percent of the total number of spaces where the recommendation is for only thirty percent of the spaces be for compact vehicles. Also, the compact spaces as planned are six inches narrower than is typical for compact spaces. Safina wondered whether or not conforming the spaces to these standards would require the developer to reduce the number of apartments to fifty-two and if that were the case, could that amount of apartments fit in a three-story configuration.

Residents and abutters at the meeting continued to express concern over the density of the building, the height of the building and traffic created by the building’s residents and shoppers. CPDC voted 5-0 to continue the hearing on November 6 at 9:00pm

The CPDC also discussed potential zoning bylaw amendments for next April’s Town Meeting. Most concerns centered around the fact that setback and height restrictions for accessory buildings currently is the same for residentially zoned and industrially zoned properties in Reading. The suggestion is to create different standards for the different zones. The matter will be under further discussion at a later date.

The meeting adjourned at 11:35pm

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