CPDC Approves South Main Street Development

Reading, MA — The site plan for proposed condominium development at 259-267 Main Street was approved by the Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) on August 10 by a vote of 4-0. The new development, proposed by Stonegate Construction and located on the former site of the Smith Oil Company, will be a single twenty-four unit, four-story building. 

The proposal first appeared before the CPDC in March as a three-story structure but negotiations with the Conservation Commission and the Department of Environmental Protection necessitated a building with a smaller footprint and an additional story. The building still is within the maximum height requirement for the A40 zone in which it will sit. The Zoning Board of Appeals granted a special permit on July 15 for a slightly larger parking area on the site to accommodate the lost garage space.

As part of the project, Stonegate will perform restoration of the adjacent wetlands, removing invasive species and shoring up the banks of a stream on the property. Stonegate will also construct a gravel walking path and boardwalk which will connect Main Street with a sewer easement and eventually to Cross Street.

The Conservation Commission is expected to approve the project at its August 12 meeting.

CPDC also was presented with revised plans for a proposed development at 531 Main Street, the site of the building that once housed the Reading Chronicle. The building has been reduced from nineteen units to sixteen units and the commercial space has been reduced from 1,078 square feet to 628 square feet. There are now separate entrances off Main Street for the commercial and residential spaces as well as setbacks on the third and fourth floors of the proposed building. The windows for the commercial space are now at street level and wrap around onto Chapin Avenue. 

CPDC member Nick Safina shared concerns with the massing of the project and stated that not having a 3D massing model made it challenging to visualize how the building would actually appear. The proposed building will utilize a “City Lift” system in its garage to allow for the twenty-one proposed parking spaces, though this caused abutter Jill Mayberry to question how the vehicles will be retrieved if there is a power outage. While unsure of an answer, Attorney Chris Latham, speaking for the applicant, stated that he anticipated that most people residing in the building would likely use public transportation. Chair John Weston also questioned the lack of parking proposed for the commercial business as well. 

Several members continued to express concern over the proposed height of the building which exceeds the allowable height by as much as twelve feet. CPDC continued the public hearing to September 14 at 9:30 pm.

CPDC also continued a public hearing for 258-262 Main Street to September 14. It voted 4-0 to approve a certificate of appropriateness for a new sign awning for Professor’s Market at 505 Main Street and, by a vote of 4-0, endorsed an “approval not required” plan to convey two non-building lots from 103 and 105 Sanborn Street to 107 Sanborn Street.

CPDC adjourned at 10:55 pm.

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