Reading Animal Clinic Proposes Expansion

Reading, MA — The Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) reviewed potential plans for an expansion of the Reading Animal Clinic, located at 1312 Main Street on September 14. Attorney Brad Latham, speaking for the clinic, shared that the intention is to build a new 10,959 square foot two-story wood-frame building on the lot next to the current building. Latham described the current location as “cramped” and that the new building would “better serve clients and patients.”

The plan also calls for forty-seven parking spaces to be shared by the two buildings. As the lots are separate, CPDC chair John Weston suggested that a documented shared parking agreement would need to be submitted prior to the approval of the project. The lot will contain walkways throughout the property and be “pedestrian-friendly.” Landscape Designer Demetra Tseckares shared that the design is for the lot to be “well-planted surrounding the parking area.”  A retaining wall on the north side of the property will also be required.

There are currently three curb cuts onto Main Street, which would be reduced to one and a right of way for an adjacent single-family home would need to be retained until that property is further developed. By a vote of 5-0, CPDC continued the public hearing to 7:30 pm on November 2.

CPDC approved the Preliminary Subdivision Plans for a two-lot expansion of Small Lane by a vote of 5-0. The plan is to extend the dead-end of the privately-held Small Lane by 624 feet across wetland and end in a cul-de-sac on enough upland to build two houses. The planned dwellings will meet all zoning requirements, though the plan still needs Conservation Commission approval. The extended road will be twenty-four feet wide, matching Small Lane, and will be “low impact” according to project engineer Jack Sullivan with no sidewalks or curbing except at the end of the cul-de-sac.

Attorney Maureen Herald, speaking for the developer Del Rey Realty Trust, emphasized that her client is allowed access to their property “by right.” She also shared that a drainage pipe, which is currently filled with silt would be replaced with an open-bottom culvert to improve water flow.

Several abutters expressed concern that the plans will create more water problems in the area, especially given the amount of water that currently impedes their yards from the thirteen-acre property. One resident also spoke of the variety of wildlife that resides in the wetlands area of the property. If the Conservation Commission approves the project, a definitive subdivision plan would still require approval by CPDC before work could commence on the project.

CPDC ended with a continued look at the proposed four-story mixed-use building at 531 Main Street, the current site of the Reading Chronicle building. Attorney Chris Latham, for the developer, described changes to the project, including four fewer apartments, improved interior parking, and added charging stations for electric vehicles. After viewing newly-produced renderings of the proposal, CPDC member Heather Clish stated, “It still . . . overwhelms this site.” Member Rachel Hitch concurred, “Its such a narrow site, it takes up a lot of air space.” Despite design guidelines to the contrary, Hitch also asked about some retention of the setback on the Main Street frontage, sharing the belief that the current outdoor space in the location “hides” the true size of the building. Abutter Art Triglione expressed concern over the building casting a shadow over the windows of his property as well. He also asked about parking issues for the retail portion of the development. 

When asked about the possibility of eliminating the fourth floor of the building, developer Saverio Fulciniti shared that he would “work the numbers” but he doubted the economic feasibility of the project with fewer than the proposed twelve units. “We started with nineteen, then sixteen, now we are down to twelve.” He lamented. CPDC member Nick Safina shared that he understood the economic issues, but encouraged a further review of the setbacks on all sides of the proposed building to further reduce the visual impact of the building height. CPDC continued the public hearing to October 5 at 8:00 pm.

CPDC also voted 5-0 to accept the “withdrawal without prejudice” for a proposed project at 258-262 Main Street. CPDC adjourned at 11:40 pm.

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