CPDC Approves Post Office Square

Neighbors Concerned About Proposed Gould Street 40R Development

The Community Planning and Development Commission had an initial site plan review at its September 11 meeting for a 40R redevelopment of 20-24 Gould Street. The presentation was made by Traggorth Companies and Civico Developers who are interested in purchasing the property. The site, currently occupied by EMARC, will soon be vacated as EMARC will be consolidating its operations in Beverly. A portion of the building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1924 and once housed the Ace Art Company, developer and manufacturer of photographic storage supplies.

The proposal calls for a four-story building with 3,800 square feet of retail space on the ground level and sixty units of apartment housing on the upper three levels. The ground floor will also include a community room that will be open to the public during business hours and will have displays and information paying homage to the historic nature of the site. The upper stories will step back on the Green Street side of the property with the goal of reducing impact on abutters. A parking garage is included on the ground level, providing 63 parking spaces for residents.

A grassroots group of 21 residents of the neighborhood has formed, many of whom were present at the meeting. The group presented to the CPDC a written list of over 30 concerns that the neighbors have regarding the project. Pamela Adrian of Ash Street spoke for the group, highlighting the primary issues the group has with the proposal. Chief concerns are an insufficient amount of parking even under the 40R Smart Growth bylaw, traffic issues, safety for neighbors during construction and the building size, density and height. Several people spoke expressing the belief that the building was not in character with the neighborhood. Dave Traggorth, one of the developers of the project responded, “We understand that this is in your backyard. We will work with you.” The public hearing was continued to October 2 at 8:30pm.

During the meeting, CPDC approved the 40R development plan for Postmark Square, the site of the former post office by a vote of 4-0. A special home occupation was also granted for 23 Edgemont Avenue to allow an electrolysis and laser hair removal business to operate in the home.

The meeting adjourned at 10:10pm.

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