WOBURN - Without much debate, the City Council at its most recent meeting voted unanimously to grant a special permit that will allow the Burlington-based Herb Chambers auto dealership to park as many as 139 cars at 400 Unicorn Park in East Woburn, near the Stoneham line.
The council added two conditions, one suggested by the Planning Board capping the number of vehicles to the aforementioned limit, and making the permit non-transferable, meaning any entity that comes in after Herb Chambers seeking a similar use must obtain a new special permit.
Representing Herb Chambers, local attorney Joseph Tarby said the auto dealer intends to use the upper deck of a parking facility to park vehicles, which will be shuttled individually to the dealership on Cambridge Street in Burlington. Cars will be brought from the factory to Unicorn Park on a carrier.
Herb Chambers formerly used an area of New England Executive Park in Burlington for overflow parking, and is seeking the move to Unicorn Park. The city of Woburn requires a special permit for accessory parking.
There are 475 parking spaces in the parking facility at 400 Unicorn Park. There are 279 spaces required to comply with the city's zoning ordinance. Since the building is 97 percent occupied, the parking lot will never reach capacity, Tarby said.
The upper level of the parking deck was built at the request of a tenant, which later moved to New Hampshire, creating an excess of parking spaces.
"We don't have to worry these parking spaces are going to be occupied if (the building is) already 97 percent full," said Ward 5 Alderman Darlene Mercer-Bruen, whose district includes East Woburn.
The only person from the audience to speak during the public hearing was Michael Meaney, Executive Director of the Woburn Business Association. He said Herb Chambers would be a "good tenant" for the parking garage, and noted the dealership will almost always use the highways instead of local roads to transport the vehicles from Unicorn Park, which is adjacent to I-93, to the dealership in Burlington, which is just south of Route 128.
"There will be no residential impact," said Meaney. "There are almost no neighbors."