Published in the March 10, 2016 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD —The look of the five-story, 60-unit, mixed use residential/retail condominium project proposed at 175 North Ave. took on more definition last night as the Zoning Board of Appeals and the developer worked through more architectural, lighting and landscaping issues.
Developer Matthew Maggiore of the Maggiore Companies was on hand represented by Attorney Brian McGrail.
The proposed building would be located between Armory and West Water streets and would have retail space on the ground floor of the North Avenue facing side.
The ZBA had asked for a scale model of the neighborhood so that they and the public could see a more three-dimensional representation of what the proposed building would look like in context of its immediate surroundings. Architect Christopher Mulhern brought such a scale model to last night’s meeting.
Mulhern also responded to the board’s request for more trees to be added around the perimeter of the building and showed renderings of where the additional trees would be located. He also showed on the plans that he had added a median strip in the center of an auxiliary parking lot across Armory Street where trees will also be planted.
Mulhern reviewed the architectural plans which had been detailed at the previous hearing. He noted that the fifth floor is recessed on the West Water Street and North Avenue sides, making the building look smaller. But ZBA member Jim McBain asked Mulhern to look at flipping the recessed element from the West Water Street side to the Armory Street side where he felt that nearby homes would be dwarfed by the five-story height.
Board member Frank Hayes suggested that another way to step the fifth floor back on Armory Street would be to eliminate one unit from the top of the building.
The architect showed samples of the types of materials proposed for the building exterior, including brick masonry, cast stone and aluminum panels
McBain said that while a brick tower will accentuate the main building entrance on the West Water Street corner, he wanted to see more visual definition given to the Armory Street corner as well.
Lighting engineer Chris Ripman reviewed the lighting plan for the building and the site. He said that all exterior lighting would be LED and would not spill onto any neighboring properties. He noted that the rear parking lot would be lighted with fixtures mounted on four 14-foot poles. The auxiliary parking lot on Armory Street would have one 25-foot light pole in the center.
Ripman also described the lights that would be mounted on the building exterior.
ZBA member Chip Tarbell asked about the possibility of lighting the trees on the North Avenue side with upward-facing lights on the ground.
Board members also wanted to see a rendering of what the building would look like at night.
There was a brief discussion of how the lower level garage would be ventilated and the board wanted to see a roof plan showing the elevator shaft, air handlers and vents.
The hearing was continued to March 23 at which time the architects will respond to the comments by ZBA members and the discussion will move on the operations and maintenance plan for the building and site.
The ZBA approved a Special Permit that will provide relief from certain signage requirements for “Heavenly Licks,” the ice cream shop that Kara Conley plans to open at 253 North Ave. The Special permit will allow the overall signage to exceed what is permitted in the bylaw and also allow a projecting sign.
The board and Brian McGrail, representing Conley, agreed that she could come back to the board when she is ready to deal with any exterior lighting. The ZBA had granted the necessary relief for the proposed use of the property at a previous hearing.