Fusilli’s Cucina to Expand Parking

Reading, MA — By a vote of 5-0, the Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) gave site plan approval for Fusilli’s Cucina at 107 Main Street to make a small expansion of its parking lot. The new parking area, located in a rear corner of the site, will be set aside for employee parking and will hopefully alleviate parking issues on nearby Hopkins Street. CPDC required owner Michael Palmer to mark the spots for employees only as some of the spots, referred to by CPDC member Nick Safina as “substandard,” will be challenging for customers to use. CPDC chair John Weston also stressed that the new spaces cannot be used to justify any future increase in the restaurant’s seating capacity.

After a long discussion, Palmer agreed to add a fence along one section of the property line to help shield the abutting property from the new parking area. The abutter listed a series of complaints against Palmer, most of which are not under the jurisdiction of the CPDC. She had already filed an appeal of the Conservation Commission decision regarding the new parking area. The Department of Environmental Protection upheld the Conservation Commission decision. Palmer gave no indication when the project will commence.

CPDC also spent two and a half hours reviewing the application of Ted Moore, developer of Johnson Woods, for three minor changes to the special permit for the development. Johnson Woods engineer Bill Bergeron requested that the CPDC allow the unbuilt Building 47 to be built as a single-family unit instead of a duplex. He asked that the unbuilt Building 33 be built as a three plex instead of a duplex. He requested that the unbuilt Building 9 be built as two single-family units as opposed to a duplex. He also requested that the unbuilt Building 34 be allowed to be rotated slightly.

These requests developed onto an extended conversation when Weston asked about the promised updated plans for the whole site that the board requested from Moore in January of 2019. Over the fifteen years of development, the 293 unit complex has had several minor adjustments to the special permit that have been approved by the CPDC. Weston expressed concern that CPDC no longer has an accurate idea of how Moore intends to complete the project. Weston spoke of the “domino effect” that each change could have on future plans. The certificate of occupancy for a new building on White Oaks Lane has been tied to the plans being submitted to the CPDC. 

At issue with this request, was the lack of fully developed ideas for the change to Building 33. The submitted plans did not include driveway locations for the unit, as well as unclear differentiation between the approved duplex and the newly proposed three plex. Also at issue was the proximity of the newly proposed Building 9B to the already built and occupied Building 10. Weston also expressed concern that the old growth tree causing the desire for the change to Building 9 was not indicated on the plans either.

Nearing midnight, the CPDC voted 5-0 to approve the change to Building 47, the location and configuration of the new Building 9A, the slight adjustments to Buildings 34, 35, and 36, and the split of Building 9 into two buildings. Weston suggested that Moore try to reach a compromise regarding Building 9B with residents of Building 10. Johnson Woods is expected to return to the CPDC on July 13 with improved plans for Building 33 and the possible solution for Building 9B. Weston also requested that the draft decision on Building 33 include the language from the January 2019 decision regarding complete plans for the site.

CPDC adjourned at 11:55 pm.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email