CPDC Seeks Additional Information from Main Street Developer

459 Main Street – 128 Tire

Reading, MA — The Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) reopened the public hearing on a proposed development at 459 Main Street, currently the site of 128 Tire, on Monday. The 21,864 square foot proposed building would house 1,471 square feet of retail space on the first floor with four one-bedroom units, seven two-bedroom units, and one three-bedroom unit on the upper three floors. The plans also include a nineteen-space parking garage on the first level.

Attorney Jesse Schomer, speaking for applicant G.C. Fodera Contracting, opened the presentation seeking assurance that the development would be considered using the bylaws in place when the project application was submitted and not those recently passed by Town Meeting in April. CPDC member John Weston indicated that legally this had to be the case. Schomer continued, adding that no additional changes had been made to the project since the April 11 hearing and that “we believe the project meets the guidelines for a transitional area.”

CPDC member Heather Clish asked Schomer about the requested shadow studies regarding the project’s impact on the abutting residential property on Washington Street. She also indicated that the wall on the east property line at eighty-four feet was too long not to be broken up by some form of an architectural feature. Project Architect Jeffrey Olinger suggested a range of options to make the wall a “pleasant thing to look at.”

Weston, who recently served on the Parking Advisory and Recommendation Committee, stated that he is “not interested in approving compact spaces at seven and a half feet wide.” He indicated that the number of spaces resulted from density and suggested that a reduced density could impact the number and size of spaces needed. He continued to express concern over the project’s location, given that there is no on or off-street parking for the planned retail space. “The math might work, but I’m not convinced that the parking, functionally, will work with the density of the site,” Weston indicated.

CPDC member Nick Safina echoed Weston’s concern over parking and the traffic congestion in the adjacent intersection. “It’s always been about the minimal amount of retail we get for the traffic issues,” Safina lamented. Police Lieutenant Christopher Jones added concerns about loading, parking, and deliveries in the building.

The neighboring abutter continued to express concerns over traffic issues, the lack of a setback on their lot line, and the size of the building. The issue with the setback is that the zoning line between business B and residential runs through the abutting property and not at the property line, meaning that the business B zoning applies to the situation and not residential zoning.

CPDC shared a list of concerns to be addressed by the developer for the next meeting, including a construction management plan, design ideas for breaking up the long east-facing wall, the shadow study, and possible parking adjustments. Schomer indicated the desire for the approval process to be wrapped up as quickly as possible, stating that he hoped only one more meeting to complete it would be needed.

CPDC continued the public hearing to June 13 at 8:30 pm.

By votes of 4-0, CPDC also approved certificates of appropriateness for sign permit applications at 607 Main Street and 484 Main Street. CPDC voted 4-0 to approve a Scenic Road Review for the milling and repaving of Walnut Street from Hopkins Street to South Street. CPDC voted 4-0 to endorse a Form H covenant agreement for a subdivision at 103 Sanborn Lane and voted 4-0 to support Reading’s Open Space Plan Update.

William Bergeron, from the Johnson Woods development, proposed three minor amendments to the planned unit development. The first is a shift in building one to turn it slightly to make room for the sanitary sewer. The proposed change honors all setback requirements for the zone. The second is a slight rotation of buildings twelve A and twelve B to provide further distance from the emergency access road; the third is to move building twenty-nine away from Johnson Woods Drive. CPDC approved all three by a vote of 4-0.

CPDC adjourned at 11:30 pm.

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