CPDC Reviews Changes to South Main Street Project

Listen to this article

252, 259, 262 Main Street, and 10 Pinevale Avenue

READING, MA — Attorney Jesse Schomer, representing developer BLDP, Llc., presented changes to a proposed mixed-use development at 252, 259, 262 Main Street, and 10 Pinevale Avenue to the Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) on Monday. The changes, in response to CPDC and neighbor concerns, include a reduced number of units, a change in building position on the site, and two access points on Main Street as opposed to one on Main Street and one on Pinevale Avenue.

Presented initially in December, the proposed project combines four contiguous lots to create a 1.05-acre parcel on which a four-story building would be constructed. The ground floor would consist of retail space, adding residential units on the upper three floors. According to Schomer, it is now proposing that the number of units in the building would be reduced to 30, with ten being two-bedroom units, 17 being one-bedroom units, and three being studio units. Three of the units will be considered affordable.

Schomer continued to share that the 45-foot tall building will have a reduced footprint and will now be relocated to the center of the property, over 80 feet from the closest neighbor at 2 Pinevale Avenue. The building will also have an increased setback from Main Street. There will now be no vehicular access from the development onto Pinevale Avenue, and the property that was acquired for the project at 10 Pinevale Avenue will be preserved, enhanced, refurbished, and sold as a single-family home. The driveway at 10 Pinevale Avenue will also be moved to the other side of the property to help provide buffering for the adjoining property at 12 Pinevale Avenue.

“All signs pointed to this location being the best location of the building,” Schomer added.

As presented in January, the plan is to reduce the height of the site to aid with drainage and water runoff. The new plan calls for the same number of parking spaces as the previous one, though total impervious surface will be reduced to 34,522 square feet from 38,077 square feet from the prior proposal.

Nine existing trees on the site will be preserved, and 57 new trees will be added once construction is complete. The plan also calls for the use of berms and a retaining wall on the west edge of the site, helping buffer a program space to be available to the tenants.

Project architect Rob Paccione also shared that the Main Street-facing side of the building will have a setback on the fourth floor to reduce massing, as well as side setbacks on the northern and southern sides of the building. Roof decks have been eliminated from the plans, though a few of the third and fourth-floor apartments will now have balconies.

Schomer concluded his presentation by reminding CPDC that their concerns had been heard. “We are sensitive to your concerns; we are responsive to them,” Schomer added.

CPDC member Mark Wetzell stated that the developer, with the new plans, had “answered a lot of my questions about the project.” Chair John Weston agreed with Wetzell. “The plan you submitted this time around addressed some of the critical concerns I had from the previous iterations,” Weston affirmed.

CPDC member Hillary Mateev expressed questions regarding the height of the balconies as well as asking the developer for site section details regarding the berms and retaining wall at the rear of the site. Member Thomas Armstrong suggested some form of agreement for shared parking with the abutting property to the south.

Neighbors still expressed concern over trash storage and removal as well as flooding concerns from the adjacent wetlands, with one neighbor decrying the size of the project. “Find a bigger space or make it smaller,” neighbor Linda Mckenzie stated. While recognizing the concern, Weston reminded the neighbors that the proposed development is in a business district.

“Something is going to be developed here,” Weston noted. “It is a viable commercial property.”

Recognizing that the new plans are currently in a beginning stage, Weston encouraged the team to work on developing their ideas. “It would not be a waste of your time to continue with furthering the design,” Weston concluded.

CPDC continued the public hearing to March 11 at 7:00 pm.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email