Water Tower Project Gets CPDC Approval

Auburn Street Water Tank Replacement

Reading, MA — By a vote of 4-0-1, the Community Planning and Development Commission (CPDC) approved the site plan review for a new Auburn Street water tower on April 13. The new tower will be in the same location and be approximately the same height as the one it is replacing. 

A request for proposal (RFP) will be issued to place a temporary, 140 foot tall, ballasted monopole on the site to hold equipment for two cell companies as well as municipal communications equipment. Once the water tower is completed, the monopole will be removed and the equipment will be placed on the new water tower. It is expected that one of the two cell companies currently with equipment on the site will win the bid and pay for the temporary monopole. Its exact location is still not certain, though members of the CPDC suggested that an area to the northwest corner of the site might be best suited for monopole placement.

Town Engineer Ryan Percival explained that, thanks to expedited testing for lead on the site, it is now known that the entire site will need to have lead remediation and that most of the trees therein will have to be removed. It had already been reported that many trees on the site are diseased and hazards to the area.

Percival also shared that, once completed, the fenced-in area needed for water tower security will be smaller than is currently used, providing the possibility for the development of a park or other passive recreational space on the eastern end of the site. He assured the CPDC that the area would be left seeded for turf with some new tree plantings. “The intent is to replant the area [with trees],” Percival commented.

18 Woburn Street 40R Plan Review

G.C. Fodera Contracting presented updated plans to the CPDC for a 40R mixed-use building on the site of 18 Woburn Street. The previous structure on the lot, located on the southerly side of Woburn Street, burned down in 2006, and the 4,172 square foot lot has remained empty since that time. 

View of 18 Woburn Street from Municipal Lot

The original plans called for a three-story, mixed-use building with retail on the first floor facing Woburn Street with one apartment on the first floor and three two-bedroom apartments on each of the second and third floors. A nine-car parking garage, located underneath, would be accessed from the adjacent municipal parking lot. 

Attorney Josh Latham, speaking for the developer, reported that in the revised plans, the first floor now is entirely 2,350 square feet of commercial space, ideal for a restaurant and that an additional unit has been added to the second floor. This allows for four one-bedroom apartments on the second floor and three two-bedroom apartments on the third floor. There is now an elevator in the building that runs from the basement through the third floor.

John Seger, project architect, said that no change has been made to the entrance of the garage, which at 22-feet wide, would require the removal of three parking spaces in the adjacent municipal parking lot. Project engineer Giovanni Fedora suggested that if the spaces on the northern edge of the parking lot were re-striped, then one of the lost spaces could be preserved.

As the parking lot is under Select Board jurisdiction, the CPDC asked that the developer request to have that board weigh in on the parking issue before the CPDC issues a decision on the site plan review. The public hearing was continued to May 24 at 7:30 pm.

Johnson Woods Amendment to PUD

The CPDC also voted 5-0 to approve a minor amendment to the planned unit development at Johnson Woods. Building nine, which once was approved as a duplex, had previously been amended to be allowed as a single-family unit. The new vote enables the building to be once more built as a duplex. Attorney Brad Latham, speaking for the developer, also requested three other amendments, one approving driveway locations for building 33, installing two detached garages on Trevor Court, and the third to approve the slight relocation of unit 47 to the left by ten feet. 

Unit 47 was once approved as a duplex and was previously amended to be a single-family dwelling. Developer Ted Moore stated that the location change would help save six 25-inch to 30-inch diameter oak trees. He also pointed out that the new single-family building’s amended placement would return it to the same setback from building 46, as it had had as a duplex. Before approving the final three amendments, CPDC requested ownership documentation regarding building 46, which is owned by Moore and the homes already placed on Trevor Court. “We need to understand the whole context of what we are approving.” Chair John Weston explained.

The public hearing on the matter was continued to May 10 at 7:30 pm. The CPDC adjourned at 12:05 am.

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