BURLINGTON – A proposal to raze and rebuild on 328-330 Cambridge Street was recently heard by the Planning Board for the first time.

Iconic Capital, LLC, the applicant, came before the board with two special permits and a site plan. The Cambridge Street property is currently comprised of two lots off Cambridge Street and Chestnut Avenue, which is to the left of the LaCascia’s Bakery & Deli strip plaza.

Under the proposal, the existing buildings on the 3.32-acre property, consisting of a two-story wood building partly occupied by a florist and single apartment, will be demolished and redeveloped into a one-story, 21,500-square-foot office building. The proposal calls for two new access driveways, one from Cambridge Street and one from Chestnut Avenue, as well as new interior drive aisles and surface parking, on-site stormwater management and treatment systems, landscaping, and additional site improvements.

Planning Director Kristin Kassner confirmed the applicant does have an office-type use tenant for the property, but no further information was provided as to the specific business. It was stated that 85 parking spaces are being proposed. Kassner also requested upgrades to the existing bus stop and sidewalk that runs along the frontage portion of the site. The property has historical significance as it was host to the Reed House many years ago, so Kassner is hoping something can be erected on or near the property to commemorate its history. She noted maybe a monument or sculpture.

Traffic and drainage

Plenty of abutting residents were on-hand to express their concerns, which primarily focused on the proposed use intensifying traffic and drainage in the Cambridge Street and Chestnut Avenue area.

“In the evening, traffic is already backed up from Billerica on Cambridge Street,” said an abutter. “This will have an impact on traffic, especially during rush hour.”

Another resident voiced worry about the current state of poor stormwater run-off in the abutting neighborhood.

“The wetlands consume part of our backyard, when it rains a lot, and the pipes are clogged on the wetlands,” professed the resident.

Kassner made mention there is no stormwater control in that area, but the applicant is fully proposing stormwater control for the site. The drainage aspect of the proposal will be flushed out at the Conservation Commission, and residents are encouraged to attend.

Planning Board member William Gaffney conveyed points of contention reflective of all the board members, with a focus on the feeling that taking a left-turn from the site onto Cambridge Street is basically impossible today.

“There is no way you are going to be able to take a left-turn out of there onto Cambridge Street. We need to look at traffic flow in that area,” acknowledged Gaffney. “With traffic, more impervious surface, and wetlands, I think we need to re-think what can go in at that site. I have a lot of concerns regarding how you can make it work with the building size and number of cars leaving the building.”

As a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. type of tenant expecting to the occupy the building, the only real expectation for taking a left onto Cambridge Street is to cut through Chestnut Avenue and take a right onto Wilmington Road, before ultimately taking a left at the traffic light onto Cambridge Street. This would mean over 80 cars would make that journey Monday through Friday on what is basically a side-road.

The applicant affirmed they will inform the tenant of what was heard during the meeting and come back to the planners with updates. A traffic study is expected to be presented to the planners in the coming weeks.

The planners voted 6-0 to continue this matter to its meeting on April 4.

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