Published in the March 24, 2016 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The developer of a proposed four-story apartment building at 404 Lowell St. came in with a significantly reduced proposal last night in an effort to address the Zoning Board of Appeals previously expressed concerns about the size of the project.
Atty. Michael McCarthy said that his client Rocco Scippa had reduced the number of proposed units from 10 to eight and had cut the total number of parking spaces from 15 to 13 in an effort to address the board’s concerns about turning radii within the ground level parking garage.
Architect Peter Quinn described for the Board changes to the structure that were intended to address concerns over the building’s size. He said that the fourth floor had been pulled back on all sides to reduce the appearance of mass. Quinn said that the developer was also willing to put a new sidewalk in front of the building.
Quinn also reviewed changes in materials and colors proposed for the exterior of the building. ZBA member Jim McBain liked the new color scheme, but worried that the new, darker colors would make the building look more massive.
McCarthy reminded the Board that the proposed building was in the business district and a 50 to 60-foot building could go in there by right. The proposed structure will be 42-feet tall.
“This is a far less imposing structure than could go in there as a matter of right,” McCarthy said.
Board members continued to have concerns over the number of parking spaces, which they felt was inadequate. McCarthy pointed out that the proposed 13 spaces were only two short of the 15 required under the bylaw for the number of units. Board members suggested that McCarthy look into the possibility of a lease agreement with the next door office condominium complex for additional parking spaces.
McBain also wanted some visual representation of what the proposed building height would look like in the context of the neighborhood.
The Board continued the hearing to April 13, at which time the parties will continue to try to nail down the outstanding building issues.
The ZBA received an update on a proposed mixed-use development at 27-37 Water St. Owner Frank Pasciuto is proposing to convert the existing buildings into a complex with retail on the ground floors and residential units on the upper floors.
A major concern has been traffic flow in and out of the property and McCarthy said that the project’s traffic engineer was still collecting data and working with the Traffic Advisory Committee regarding those issues. He said that he hoped to go before the TAC on April 25 to address their concerns.
Site Engineer Steve Fleming talked about improvements to the drainage systems in the rear to alleviate concerns in that area. But McBain felt that despite replacing catch basins and a drain line, internal drains would still be needed to handle roof run-off.
Main Street resident Kristin McRae asked if a 21E environmental study had been done on the site. McCarthy said that he believed that one was done in the past and would provide that information. Chip Tarbell pointed out that 21Es usually go with the sale of a property, which is not happening in this case, nor is any digging proposed.
The hearing was continued to May 11.
The Board granted a Special Permit and site plan approval that will allow the owner of a warehouse at 400 Audubon Rd. to convert the building into a self-storage facility.
The ZBA granted various types of relief that will allow The Farmland to replace, repair and upgrade the signage on the building.