BURLINGTON - The Granite Place Inc. recently received a firm approval from the Planning Board for a special permit and minor engineering change.

The Burlington business, which specializes in anything granite, quartz, marble, soap stone, and quartzite, among other countertop variations, is located at 376 Cambridge Street.

The special permit is for the outdoor storage of granite and the minor engineering change pertains to alterations to the site’s parking, fencing, and dumpster location.

The parking spaces will be re-striped to include 12 spaces, as required, consisting of 11 standard (9’x18’) spaces and one handicap accessible space (8’x18’) and aisle. A handicap accessible curb will be constructed and the sidewalk along the building will be extended to accommodate the dozen parking spaces.

A stockade fence will be located around the limits of the outdoor material storage area to provide security and screening from neighboring properties. The existing dumpster pad will be relocated on the Cambridge Street property and will have a wooden enclosure.

In order to get approved, The Granite Place had to modify its proposal to appease the concerns of the board and abutters, which they did and subsequently presented to the planners before a vote was taken.

The applicant revised the site plan to address the comments received from the residents and board at their June 18 meeting.

They were presented as follows:

- The signed lease with the landlord of The Granite Place’s new facility for fabrication and exterior storage of the large granite slabs has been finalized and is now in place. The tenant fit-up to relocate the fabrication area within the new facility, which is located in Wilmington, is underway. This work is anticipated to be completed to allow the relocation of the fabrication area from Burlington to their new Wilmington facility sometime in September. The lease does allow the relocation of the exterior stone slabs and other material to begin. The applicant has indicated that as early as this week, The Granite Place staff will begin moving the slabs from their Burlington location to Wilmington. As care needs to be taken during moving these slabs and to undertake these moves between the hours of 8 a.m. and 5 p.m. daily, the process to relocate all the stone slabs and other materials currently stored outside of their 376 Cambridge Street location will take some time. However, the applicant has committed to continue this process until all exterior stone slabs and materials have been removed from their Burlington site.

- The height of the proposed fence along Van Norden Drive has increased from 4’ to 6’. The Granite Place has agreed to undertake this change, which was a real sticking point of the planners and abutters. The red-lined minor engineering change plans now indicate the fence height will be 6’.

- The existing dumpster and future dumpster on the site will be relocated to behind the existing building to a point as far away as possible from the residential abutters on Van Norden Drive. The applicant has agreed to undertake this change. The dumpster enclosure is now shown to be relocated behind the existing building at the end of the existing pavement area at the north side of the site. The existing dumpster will be moved to this location as soon as the site in this location is cleared of stone slabs and other materials. It will then be placed within an enclosure as shown on the accompanying site plans as soon as practical after this initial move.

- The location of the stone remnants on the site will be stored outside of the existing building. The original request and intent of the special permit application was to allow for the outdoor storage of granite slabs on the site. The applicant requested to amend this application to allow for the limited onsite storage, up to a total of 500 square-feet, to be located only along and immediately adjacent to the back (i.e. the east side) of the existing building. Like the proposed relocated dumpster noted above, this area is located as far away from the Van Norden Drive residences as possible. No remnants will be located adjacent to the existing overhead doors located along the Van Norden Drive (i.e. southern) side of the building as has been shown on previous site plans submitted for this project.

- The coveted detailed landscape plans for the new landscaped areas in the front of the building are being finalized. The applicant is currently working with their landlord/site owner to develop a detailed landscape plan for the front exterior areas of the site facing Cambridge Street. Once this landscaping plan has been completed, it will be provided to the Planning Board for review by the planning staff. Should the board so desire, the applicant is willing to provide new landscaping along its Cambridge Street frontage consistent with that which exists on the properties immediately adjacent to either side of the site on Cambridge Street. The proposed landscape areas were displayed in the site plan and presented to the planners.

- An architectural rendering of the building was presented. As no changes are being made to the existing building, the applicant has prepared the attached site cross-section to depict the site line that will be visible from Van Norden Drive up the existing earthen slope, the proposed 6’ high solid white fence, the existing parking area, and up to the southern building face. They also showed this cross-section of the red-lined site plan accompanying the minor engineering change application. The point of this cross-section is to demonstrate that the existing grade change and fence will offer effective screening for the parking lot from Van Norden Drive.

- The Granite Place addressed the issues raised by an abutting resident who lives across the street at 387 Cambridge Street, including the hours for dumpster pick-up, vibrations and noise, and light. The light was inadvertently installed by a site contractor. The contractor has been directed to remove this light. The fabrication work currently ongoing at the site will not commence until after 8 a.m. Once the fabrication area is relocated off the site, which is anticipated in September, the noise will be eliminated. With the dumpster proposed to be relocated to behind the building, at a point further away from Cambridge Street, the noise associated with dumpster pick-ups will be screened by the existing building and significantly reduced.

The planners were all in favor of the proposal except member William Gaffney who reiterated his “consistent concerns” about exterior storage and the possibility of it over-accumulating in due time, resulting in an eye-sore situation.

The board approved the special permit and minor engineering change by a 5-1-0 vote. Members Gaffney opposed and Joseph Impemba was absent.

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