BURLINGTON – A site plan proposal was recently approved by the Planning Board, allowing an existing hardware business in town to relocate from Middlesex Turnpike to Bedford Street.

Mack Designer Hardware, the applicant, is a family owned and operated business founded in 2016 with a focus on high-end decorative hardware, such as bath and kitchen fixtures, flooring, furniture, and window treatments.

The business has been located at 164 Middlesex Turnpike in Northwest Park since 2016, but they are sought relocation to 175 Bedford Street, in between Mobil and Burlington Motors. The objective of the site plan is to repurpose the existing Bedford Street building for retail and storage on the first floor and office space on the second floor.

Kristopher Jong, co-owner of Mack Designer Hardware, explained to the planners that the Bedford Street site would be “purely a showroom” and not entail much room for inventory.

“We can work with a client’s architect or contractor to ensure that the hardware will function correctly and fit specific design choices,” Jong said of the business model.

Planning Director Kristin Kassner remarked favorably on the proposed use for the building, acknowledging the “unique” Bedford Street building hasn’t had much success finding a suitable tenant in recent year. Nonetheless, she and the board recommended vegetation be added to the site which is vastly made up of impervious surface. Kassner also wants confirmation as to what tenant will occupy the second-floor office space being proposed.

Planning Boar Chair Barbara L’Heureux echoed Kassner’s sentiments, adding, “Beautifying your site would be to your benefit. Something like ornamental grasses and flowers would work.”

The applicant adhered to the board’s recommendations and agreed to move forward with fresh landscaping around the property.

Other changes were made to the site plan, including reconfiguring the driving and pedestrians access points on the site. Instead of moving forward with a bottlenecked 2-lane car access point along the frontage, the planners advised an entrance-only access point where the 2-lane area was supposed to be and channeling the vehicles to exit in the rear of the property. The applicant supported the configuration, acknowledging the 2-lane access point in the front can certainly be deemed as hazardous with only one car being able to pass through at a time.

“The back-parking lot will be clearly marked for drivers to know to exit in the rear portion of the property,” said Chair L’Heureux.

Other conditions, as part of the approval, call for landscaping in the front, left and right portions of the site, and a back entrance to the building that is clearly for customer service. The sidewalk and pedestrian walkway are a key part of the plan, with pedestrian safety being the top priority for the board and applicant.

No confirmation was given as to if a tenant is going to occupy the second floor of the building, or if Mack Designer Hardware is going to utilize the space, but Kassner restated the provision that if it ends up being used by anything besides an office use, the applicant will have to come back to the Planning Board for another ratification. The parking lot is classified as if the second floor is set to be used for office purposes.

With the conditions meeting the board’s demands, the planners voiced their support for the revitalization project for 175 Bedford Street.

“It sounds like a perfect use for the building,” commented Planning Board member Michael Espejo.

The board approved the site plan by a 6-0 vote.

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