TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Planning Board met for an in-person meeting on Aug. 17, 2021 in Tewksbury Town Hall. All five members were present.
Board members congratulated Town Planner Anna McGinty on the recent birth of her son.
The board approved a family suite special permit request at 639 Chandler St.
“I love the idea of family suites,” said member Vinny Fratalia.
The board returned to a discussion with developer John Sullivan about a site plan special permit, special permit for the town center overlay district and groundwater protection district at 24 Pleasant St., the site of Sycamore Hall.
Attorney Dave Plunkett explained that the proponent is seeking to remove the carriage house behind the building to construct eight residential units in a new structure, and to update the existing main building with four units — three residential and one commercial. All residential units are planned to be one-bedroom.
“There’s been a certain degree of degradation of the building itself,” said Plunkett, “so it will be brought back to its glory.”
As part of the zoning of the town center overlay district, the commercial unit in the main building will be preserved for use by the nonprofit Tewksbury Historical Society for no charge under a long-term lease agreement “to carry out their mission statement,” said Plunkett.
Doug Sears, president of the Tewksbury Historical Society, reported that the executive committee had voted in favor of the agreement.
The buildings will be accessible for entry and exit off of Pleasant Street; a traffic analysis will be presented at the next presentation before the board. In addition, the parcel will seek to incorporate a small pocket park or “parklet” — an area for benches and green space to address the intent of the town center overlay district and to incorporate the “ambiance of a town center,” said Plunkett.
Plunkett and associates presented plans for trash collection and snow storage, noting that a formal response to comments received from the town engineer will be submitted by the next meeting for the final rendering of the plan.
Board members Eric Ryder and Steve Johnson asked about an increase in traffic. Ryder cited the new Pleasant Street elementary school as cause for concern, despite the removal of center fire station traffic on the road, while Johnson sought the difference between current cars on the site versus future traffic.
Fratalia asked whether the pocket park was designed for the public. Plunkett said that the park would be open to the public but would have a “no loitering” sign.
“I don’t think the intent is to restrict it only to the residents but certainly we are aware of the need to control it. Control is the key,” said Plunkett.
Member Bob Fowler praised the project for “screening” the gas station next door.
Resident Bruce Shick asked how the long-term lease agreement would work financially; Plunkett explained that the THS will pay for utilities and incidentals but not for other costs, including rent and taxes.
Abutter Justin Marino requested that the proponents complete a survey to replace a removed stone bound on the border of his property, and asked for an 8-foot fence instead of a 6-foot fence. Marino also raised concerns about flooding and stormwater drainage.
Plunkett said he would look into possibilities. The discussion was continued to the board’s next meeting.
At the request of the applicant, a discussion about a site plan special permit, special permit for town center overlay district and groundwater protection district for Carolina Properties, LLC at 30 East St. was continued to the board’s Sept. 13 meeting.
Additionally, a discussion regarding a sign special permit application for Dick Insurance Agency at 461 Main St. was continued to Sept. 13.
The board reviewed a non-substantial change determination for 1583 Andover St. regarding a walkway. The board approved the non-substantial change. The board also reviewed a non-substantial change determination for 1668 Main St. regarding a fire lane. The board approved the non-substantial change.
The next meeting is scheduled for Sept. 13, 2021. Residents may find previous recorded meetings at youtube.com/TewksburyTV. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33 or attend in person at town hall.