BURLINGTON - With parking typically at a premium on Ray Avenue in relation to Cafe Escadrille, supplementary measures have been approved by Town Meeting.
Escadrille Realty, LLC, recently went in front of Town Meeting seeking approval for three different zoning bylaw warrant articles, including one rezoning application for 1-3 Ray Avenue. The rezoning will change the property from a General Industrial (IG) District to a General Business (BG) District.
The highlight of the plan proposes a 1-floor parking deck on a vacant lot behind Cafe Escadrille (restaurant is located at 26 Cambridge Street) at 1-3 Ray Avenue to increase on-site parking for the restaurant.
An integral step in getting to the parking increase is to amend three existing zoning bylaws in town. Amending Article 7 “Parking Structures” to modify the requirements for parking garages will further restrict where such structures would be allowed in a General Business (BG) District, which is what the Ray Avenue property would be rezoned to. The extensive restrictions for such a parking use call for a restriction buffer of 200-ft. to the lot line of a residential district, the lot area must be a minimum of 150,000 square-feet, and parking structures must be an accessory use to a restaurant with a functional facility having a minimum occupancy of 400.
Local attorney Thomas Murphy, of Shea, Murphy & Gulde, P.C., representing the applicants, confirmed these tightened restrictions will limit the possibility of another business in town trying to move forward with a similar proposal.
“Under these restrictions, only seven lots currently in Burlington would have a chance to be eligible,” disclosed Murphy.
The seven lots include Wayside Commons, Wall Street, Burlington Mall, Yard House/Barnes & Noble, Bed Bath & Beyond, The Real School of Music, and Men’s Warehouse. However, these lots are all missing the necessary requirements to be eligible, whether it’s lacking a restaurant, function facility, or another specific use.
The current parking on the Cafe Escadrille site consists of 239 spaces (199 on-site and 40 at 1-3 Ray Avenue). The current bylaws allow one parking space for every three people. Cafe Escadrille has a capacity of 850 people, so the existing bylaw comes out to a requirement of 283 parking spaces.
“That is insufficient parking for the restaurant,” Murphy said to Town Meeting. “The proposed parking deck on 1-3 Ray Avenue is already under the ownership of Cafe Escadrille and the only way it can be accessed is through the existing restaurant’s lot.”
In terms of a comparison, the parking deck will look similar to the first level of the parking garage at Wegmans on 3rd Ave. in Northwest Park.
Town Meeting raised no issues with the three warrant articles, especially because the zoning bylaws changes can only be utilized by a select amount of properties in Burlington.
Town Meeting passed the three warrant articles by a clear majority.