Howard Street Subdivision Receives CPDC Approval

Reading, MA — The Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) voted 5-0 to approve the definitive subdivision plan proposed by Infrastructure Holdings, LLC for property located at 135, 139, and 149R Howard Street. The plan, which has been under consideration for several months, is for a six-lot subdivision with a cul-de-sac. Four lots will be added to the existing two houses already on the property with all lots in compliance with zoning regulations for the neighborhood. Concern has been raised by many residents regarding drainage, as the property abuts wetlands and the area already has flooding and drainage issues. After consultation with the town engineer, several minor tweaks to the proposal were presented to the CPDC including a revised drainage plan, the addition of a concrete drainage pipe, and the potential for no on-street parking to be allowed on the new cul-de-sac.

CPDC member Rachel Hitch continued to express concern over the proposed 24-foot wide roadway, wondering if a wider road would allow for better on-street parking. Chair John Weston suggested that a narrower roadway, with less impervious surface, would help with site drainage. CPDC voted 5-0 granting eight waivers to the developer, including allowing the 24-foot road with no parking allowed on one side, no required island in the cul-de-sac as this is challenging for snow removal, no sidewalks as there are none on the adjoining street, and no need for a limited traffic study as the addition of four homes in unlikely to make enough of a difference to warrant a study.

The developer is still working with the Conservation Commission and is meeting with that board on February 12.

Stonegate Construction, which is proposing a 24-unit apartment building at 259-267 Main Street, updated the CPDC with revised plans as well. Joe Peznolla, engineer for Hancock Associates, highlighted changes such as locations for snow storage and stormwater collection and the relocation of a transformer. Peznolla also shared updates to the street-side facade and landscaping that mimic the building’s entrance on the other side of the structure. Stonegate is also waiting for the Conservation Commission to approve a plan to make improvements to the adjoining wetlands. Peznolla mentioned that the developer is requesting a waiver from the CPDC to eliminate a second loading area, as zoning requires one for every 20 apartments. The public hearing was continued to March 9 at 7:30 pm.

CPDC also voted 5-0 to approve a certificate of appropriateness for a new sign at 21-31 Harden Street. It also voted 5-0 to accept two “approval not required” plans, one to make a shift in property lines at 26-27 Rocky Road to allow for a porch to be built, and the other to divide 13 Bunker Avenue into two properties. This was once two properties that were combined and the new owner is seeking to divide them again.

CPDC voted 5-0 to withdraw without prejudice an application for a special home occupation special permit at 21-23 Village Street. It voted 5-0 to continue a public hearing for a 258 Main Street development which has been continued for several months. CPDC concluded with a discussion regarding plans for a March 30 Zoning Workshop to be held at the Reading Public Library.

CPDC adjourned at 10:30 pm.

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