ZBA Votes “Safe Harbor” in Eaton/Lakeview 40B

At its March 7 meeting the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted 4-0 to ask that a letter be sent to the developer of the Eaton Street/Lakeview Avenue 40B development stating that the board believes that the town has a “safe harbor” from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and that the safe harbor applies to this development. This decision will allow the ZBA to have more input into project details or to deny the project based upon community needs. Attorney Theodore Regnante, representing the developer, had already submitted a letter recognizing the safe harbor, and proposing to extend the time the ZBA has to work with the developer beyond the legally required 180 days.

The ZBA decision came after a presentation regarding the project by Regnante and other members of the development team. The proposed development is for three residential buildings on four point three acres at the junction of Eaton Street and Lakeview Avenue. Each building would be four stories on the front side and five stories in the back and will consist of 40 units for a total of 120 units on the site, 25 percent of which would be considered affordable. The current plan calls for 54 one-bedroom apartments, 54 two-bedroom apartments and 12 three-bedroom apartments. Rental preference would be given to Reading residents for 70 percent of the units.

The site would also include a 2,000 square foot community building, a playground, and a small park. Each of the three proposed buildings would have a ground-level parking garage and enough outdoor parking to provide a site total of 181 parking spaces, or one and a half spaces per unit. The developer also intends to rebuild Lakeview Avenue and bring it up to town standards, with the understanding that the town would then accept it as a public way. Due to weather concerns, the hearing was continued to March 21 at 7:00 PM when the first public comment regarding the proposed project will be heard.

The ZBA adjourned at 9:15pm.

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