BURLINGTON – The historical property just north of the LaCascia’s Bakery & Deli strip plaza will receive restoration after the Planning Board firmly approved a special permit application for 336 Cambridge St.
At the most recent Planning Board meeting, local attorney Thomas F. Murphy, of Shea, Murphy & Gulde, wrapped up the dialogue pertaining to Lin. Y. Xu’s (applicant) proposal to restore and add on to the property located at 336 Cambridge St., which is the first property to the left of 328-330 Cambridge St. – a property also in front of the planners for restoration purposes. The applicant for 336 Cambridge St. is seeking approval for a special permit.
The property in question, 336 Cambridge St., was built in 1820 and has historically housed three residential units along with a commercial use. On May 1, 2018, the inspector of buildings issued a Letter of Determination indicating the existing use (three residential units and one commercial unit) is a non-conforming, pre-existing use to the current zoning for the district, meaning the use of the property may be continued.
“Therefore, my client wishes to do some work to the house, including a small addition to update the building,” Murphy informed. “A Planning Board approval is required because it is an expansion of a non-conforming structure. For the record, my client is not changing the use, as it will continue to be three residential units and one commercial unit, but the footprint of the building is increasing a bit.”
The small increase in the footprint is to allow for some updates in the residential dwellings, which Murphy declared are “not substantially more detrimental” than the existing structure.
The upgrades have also been deemed integral in keeping the almost 200-year-old structure in existence.
“Most importantly, I would point out that granting this special permit will allow my clients to upgrade and rehab the existing structure which will keep the house in good condition and keep it financially viable so that my clients are able to continue to use the building,” said Murphy. “This is one of the older structures in Burlington and I would submit that it is in the town’s best interest to work with the owner in order to preserve the house.”
Murphy went onto mention that if the applicant isn’t able to move forward with this special permit, then she would have to explore the option of razing the historical structure.
“The house currently sits in an Industrial Zone, so if my client was going to replace it, she would have to replace it with a building and use that fits into an Industrial Zone,” explained Murphy. “I think everyone would agree that it is in the town’s best interest to preserve this house as opposed to having it demolished and replaced with an industrial use.”
A final site plan was discussed during the hearing. Included in the final plan is a new parking lot that would be put in over existing pavement on the property, as well as new plantings, trees, a brick walkway, and a sidewalk that will connect to Wilmington Road. Additionally, a 8.5’-x-8.5’ deck will be added to the second-floor dwelling.
The planners generally expressed a favorable opinion of the proposal, especially knowing that a historical structure in Burlington will remain in existence, if approved.
“I am very pleased [336 Cambridge St.] is going to remain in similar condition,” professed Chair Barbara L’Heureux. “It looks good to me.”
A member of the Burlington Historical Commission was in attendance during the hearing to voice his support for the special permit.
“Knowing that the historical integrity is going to be maintained at this home means everything to the Historical Commission,” said the man.
The Fire Department declared “no objection” to the proposal.
The applicant met all the conditions from the Board of Health, successfully earning their approval.
With no further voices of support needed besides the planners, the board approved the special permit by a 6-0 vote. Member Michael Espejo did not vote because he was not on the board when this special permit hearing was initially presented before last April’s Town Election, where Espejo won a seat on the board.