The Tewksbury Planning Board met on Monday for their first virtual meeting of 2021.
The board reviewed a concept plan for a new mixed-use development at 30 East St. The proposed design, explained proponent’s engineer Dennis Griecci of Andover Consultants, will have four residential units with a professional office space. Each townhouse unit will have an underground parking space in addition to a shared parking lot.
As the parcel is in the town center overlay district, the buildings will be designed in a colonial style. Griecci noted that the existing house on the lot and adjacent yard are in “relatively rough shape,” and said that overgrowth would be cleaned up and landscaped.
Board members raised concerns about the size of the project, traffic, and the impact of the development on the town’s upcoming intersection improvement plan.
Griecci presented two different concepts: in one, the four connected residential units are at the front of the property and the freestanding commercial building is at the back across the property, and in the other, the one-story commercial unit sits at the front of the property attached to the units with the parking lot in the back.
Members were concerned about cars passing the residential units to drive to the commercial unit at the back of the property in the first model, as well as the walk from the parking lot to the commercial unit at the front of the property in the second model. They also raised worries about the type of business hosted in the professional office and its hours.
Griecci said that he would work with the proponent on revising the layout, as well as addressing stormwater, utilities, and grading; he intended to come before the board again soon and notify abutters presently.
The board held a material storage discussion for 2131 Main St. to talk about a pile of dirt and debris on the site.
Proponent John Faneros explained that he had started work on the project, but had to stall due to concerns over the status of an abandoned right of way. It was determined in land court that the right of way was in fact abandoned, but the process caused “a four or five month snag.”
Board member Vinny Fratalia called the dirt pile an “eyesore,” and Faneros said he would ask the site manager about the status of the material. He added that he planned to restart work within the next 60 days.
Board members asked about another Faneros project on the corner of North and Andover Streets. Member Eric Ryder said he had received complaints of debris on the site and asked about the status of the project.
Faneros explained that the people living in the existing homes on the site have been served.
The board reviewed a bond release and as-built acceptance for Robbie Terris Way. Attorney Dick Cuoco reviewed a letter covering comments and updates to meet the engineering department’s requirements. Cuoco said that the proponent hoped to gain the final approval at the board’s next meeting.
A bond release and as-built acceptance discussion on 24 Sunnyslope Ave. was continued to the board’s next meeting.
The board reviewed a concept plan for 1009 Livingston St., with the proposed name “Grammy’s Way.”
The proponent’s representative Jim Hanley explained that he had been working to review public safety requirements and reviewed a shift in the roadway in accordance with DPW review. He requested consideration for a waiver for the reverse curve radius.
Cuoco said he felt it was a “safe radius... not detrimental.” The board expressed their satisfaction with the plan and agreed to discuss it further at a future date.
A discussion on a site plan special permit for 913 East St. was continued to the board’s Jan. 25 meeting.
A discussion about a definitive subdivision/open space residential design for 181 Pine St. was continued to the board’s Jan. 25 meeting. Board members raised concerns over a lack of communication between the proponent and the board.
Member Steve Johnson asked about the possibility of reaching out to the proponent ahead of time rather than learning of a continuation request the day of the meeting.
“I don’t mind giving a bit of leeway,” he said, “but I do like knowing far in advance.”
Chairman Bob Fowler requested to have the proponent come before the board whether or not the plan was completed in order to give the board an update, and members voted to agree with his decision.
The board returned to a discussion about a sign special permit for Ira Toyota at 464-468 Main St. The new design removes one of the directional signs and adds a red stripe to the remaining directional sign to help identify it as Toyota.
The board felt a “sales and service” directional sign was redundant and raised concerns over the brightness of lit signs. The board voted to grant several waivers and approved the sign special permit with changes.
The board approved several alterations to their 2021 meeting schedule. Members also requested an appearance by Tewksbury Habitat Build to discuss updates to the veterans housing project on Main Street.
The next meeting of the planning board is scheduled for Monday, Jan. 25, 2021. Residents wishing to comment may use the call-in number during the meeting, found on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33 and on the town’s YouTube channel at www.YouTube.com/TewksburyTV.