Retail marijuana dispensary proposed for former Sal's Pizza

The proponents for a proposed retail marijuana dispensary at 2504 Main St., the former Sal's Pizza on Route 38, appeared before the Planning Board on Monday evening to start the site plan review process. (Paige Impink photo)

TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Planning Board met on Jan. 23, 2023 at Tewksbury Town Hall. All members were present.

Town Planner Alex Lowder reported that the Hanover Company terminated its agreement with Marc Gins­berg to purchase 300 Ames Pond and will not be moving forward with an apartment complex; units would have counted towards the town’s 10 percent affordability re­quirement.

“It’s of even more im­portance that we be diligent as a town in finding affordable housing op­portunities because we’re not going to have this one big project,” said Low­der.

Lowder also discussed a subdivision plan ap­proved in 2021 at 920-978 Livingston St., incorporating two existing homes. She reported that the owner is getting building permits for the open space residential design project and was seeking for the board to remove a previous roadway bond, as the project is a private subdivision.

Lowder suggested three conditions to releasing the bond, to which the board agreed: that the homeowners association be required to take re­sponsibility for finishing the road in lieu of the bond, that a driveway at an existing property at 950 Livingston St. be relocated, and that the road be maintained as a private road in perpetuity.

Bonds are used by the town to ensure funds for a road to be finished if the developer fails to complete it.

The board tentatively approved an as-built ac­ceptance at 255 Salem St./Border Road pending DPW approval after the proponent addressed outstanding engineering issues. The board continued an as-built ac­ceptance discussion at 1009 Livingston St. amid pending DPW comments.

The board continued a discussion on a site plan review and land disturbance permit at 770 Main St. to the next meeting.

The board continued a discussion on a site plan review, special permit, and land disturbance permit at 118 Lumber Lane to the next meeting.

The board conducted a site plan review for Steve Doherty at 2504 Main St., formerly Sal’s Pizza. The 1,500 square foot property was built in 1989, and Doherty is proposing a change in use from restaurant to retail; the site may be potentially used to sell recreational marijuana but is currently only in the site plan review stage.

Doherty sought to in­crease the number of parking spaces (zoning requires 12 spaces, but Doherty requested 18 spa­ces), increase open space, and bring the site up to ADA compliance. Lowder said that be­cause the site is a preexisting non-conforming structure, some changes will require a waiver, while other is­sues will be redirected to the Zoning Board of Ap­peals.

The board discussed parking requirements.

“We just passed the new bylaw, we created a set of numbers to tell people how many parking spaces they need,” said chair Steve John­son. “To then hold you to a different standard, I'm uncomfortable with that.”

The board continued the issue to the next meet­ing.

The board approved a revised land disturbance permit application for O’Brien Homes at Fos­ter Lane.

Board members discussed light pollution from Tree House Brew­ing Company’s drive-by pickup location affecting residents at Eagles Landing; Lowder said she would look into re­questing the company to install light-blocking plantings to mitigate ef­fects.

Members also brought up the issue of the unauthorized removal of a sycamore tree at Syca­more Hall at 24 Pleasant St. on the corner of Main Street. Johnson said that the owner was go­ing to have to make significant reparations tow­ards replacing the tree.

“They need to put something back darn close to what came out,” he said.

Member Jim Duffy re­ported that the latest edition of the Massachu­setts building code was released this month. The town’s adoption of a stretch energy code, which emphasizes cost-effective construction with greater energy efficiency than minimally compliant construction. Duffy explained that this adoption allowed the town to be designated as a Green Com­mu­nity by the Department of Energy Resources, allowing the town to take advantage of over $1 million in grant funding, as well as a 20 percent savings over the past 11 years in municipal buildings and schools.

The next meeting is sche­­­­­duled for Feb. 13, 2023. Re­sidents may find previously recorded meet­­­ings at­bury­TV. The meet­ing may be view­ed on Com­cast channel 99 and Veri­zon channel 33 or at­tend in person at town hall.

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