WILMINGTON — During their meeting on Tuesday night, the Planning Board considered feedback on several potential articles for Town Meeting. They started with the plan to rezone a cluster of undersized lots on Bailey Road, Marrietta Avenue, Mozart Avenue, and Aldrich Road from R20 to R10.
Wilmington Director of Planning and Conservation Valerie Gingrich explained that the proposed article started from a denied request for a resident to put in a pool. She said that rezoning these properties changes the required setbacks from 20 feet with R20 to 15 feet with R10.
Gingrich mentioned a concern that residents had identified over the phone, whether rezoning the town-owned lots in the neighborhood makes it easier for them to be developed in the future. She said the residents like having the woods there. She added that the process for the town getting rid of parcels is lengthy and involves several approvals including the property review board, the town manager, and a Town Meeting vote. Several residents joined the zoom call to agree with the concern she reported.
One solution Gingrich proposed to the board was to have these parcels excluded from the zoning change. Chairman Michael Sorrentino said that the town is trying to move away from piecemeal zoning and would prefer to keep these in the rezoned area. The board did mention that rezoning the parcels doesn’t change whether they’re buildable, suggesting that the process for building on those properties remains difficult either way. Gingrich invited anyone to reach out with comments.
They later considered three other proposed articles for Town Meeting, covering uses for brew pubs in town, as of right restaurant uses, and groundwater protection district special permit for nonresidential uses. They voted in favor of all four articles for town counsel to review as written, although they discussed whether the by-law for brewpubs allowed the sale of alcohol to individuals or just to other establishments for resale.
The board returned to the public hearing for the conservation subdivision design special permit at 79 Nichols St. Here, Attorney Jill Elmstrom explained that the comments they received tonight referred to a packet that was missing their previous response to the town engineer’s comments. She specified that the safety concerns were met and agreed upon by the Wilmington Fire Department in advance of the meeting.
Other updates she mentioned were confirming the right to install the sewer system and connect to Wilmington’s system; honoring the 30-foot setback required everywhere; and opening the walking trail along the Middlesex Canal to the general public.
There was one public comment received by Sierra Pelletier that described the property as trying to do too much in too small of a space. The board agreed to continue the public hearing until Feb. 2 and reiterated they should submit revisions within two weeks. Gingrich also said that they would circle back with the WFD on their comments.
Next, they ended the public hearings for a sign special permit for 205-207 Lowell St. and a parking relief special permit for 100 Eames St. The sign was allowed for 205-207 Lowell St. with the condition that they take down another older sign that technically no longer fell on their property.
For 100 Eames St., the representing attorney explained that the interior rearrangement required more parking spaces but would not change anything on the exterior or the number of employees or people at the site.
They moved onto Form A, which Sierra Pelletier shared regards 20 Hopkins St. being divided into two lots. One would be given to Kenneth Chisholm, and the other would be a frontage exception lot. They voted to accept the form as submitted.
The board voted to allow the site plan review, multi-family special permit, and definitive subdivision on 635 Main St. They considered a request for an extension on Murray Hill’s completion deadline for an extra year, but instead voted to extend only until Aug. 31, 2021 given that the only work left is on part of the sidewalk and the final pavement.
Their last request was to waive the site plan review for a new HVAC system and other maintenance changes at 201 Lowell St., which they accepted.
Gingrich then brought forward the draft of their comments on the remote participation policy being sent to the Board of Selectmen. Some of their concerns were about the quality of audio in terms of hearing discussion and comments; being able to use and see visual components; what exactly is defined as unreasonable difficulty; and what to do when there are multiple remote requests for a single meeting.
A few board members brought up unrelated issues at the end of the meeting, including reminding companies about their snow removal requirements and accessing the drop box of documents for their meetings. Both were solved quickly with Gingrich’s help.
The Planning Board will next meet on Feb. 2 at 7:30 pm.