Woburn Street Developer Presents Changes to CPDC

Reading, MA — Attorney Josh Latham presented changes to the proposed development of 18 Woburn Street to the Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) on August 9. The developer, G.C. Fodera, after meeting with the Select Board, changed the location of the entrance to the proposed garage under the new building from the municipal parking lot side of the structure to the right of wayside of the proposed building. The previous plan called for removing one or two spaces from the municipal parking lot to allow for access to the building, a plan the Select Board seemed unwilling to endorse.

Latham explained that the new plan decreases the number of parking spaces in the garage from nine to eight. The number of apartments has been reduced as well from seven to six. Project architect John Seger explained that there will now be three two-bedroom apartments on the second and third floors. To accommodate the change to the garage entrance, the building height has increased to forty-two feet on average. There is still a planned retail space on the first floor which will now have a lower and upper level. The rear deck is still a part of the plans.

CPDC member John Weston expressed concern over the turn radius for vehicles entering the garage. Project Engineer Giovanni Fodera explained his process for determining the needed turn radius while explaining that newer technologies were creating vehicles that turn with an even smaller radius. Weston pressed the issue and asked for calculations based on larger vehicles.

CPDC member Nick Safina shared concerns regarding the report on the proposal from the fire department, which expressed doubts about the ability of the department to access upper-level apartments in an emergency. Safina quoted the final line from the department’s letter, “[The current plans] appear to show that [the building] will not work.” 

Safina urged the applicant to determine a solution to the fire department’s concerns, reminding the applicant that no building permits would be issued without fire department approval. Safina also stated that he could not agree to a plan that the fire department did not approve. Other CPDC members concurred.

The public hearing for the development at 18 Woburn Street was continued to September 13 at 8:30 pm.

Attorney William Crowley presented a proposal for a three unit subdivision at 103 Sanborn Lane. The developer, Chimney Hill Real Estate, proposes demolishing the house and shed at the current address and building an access road with a cul-de-sac to three separate lots, each in excess of 20,000 square feet. Crowley explained several waivers that the developer is asking for, including a smaller right of way for the road, better fit the neighborhood, and waiving the size of the cul-de-sac. If the waiver is not granted, an additional 2,000 square feet from an adjacent property will have to be acquired.

Safina and Weston both explained to the developer that the additional 2,000 square feet agreement needs to be in the proof plan for the subdivision. Weston summed it up by stating that the developer needs to prove that they can comply with the rules set forth by the town on the property before asking for waivers. The public hearing on the subdivision is continued until September 13 at 7:30 pm to allow for the legal issues to be completed.

CPDC also endorsed a covenant agreement for a one-lot subdivision at 40 Grove Street and adjourned at 11:25 pm.

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