Published in the March 15, 2017 edition
By MAUREEN DOHERTY
LYNNFIELD — The Ship Restaurant is one step closer to becoming a distant memory on an eclectic stretch of Route 1 that was once home to an orange dinosaur, a gigantic neon cactus and a herd of cows that didn’t moo.
Although the quaint tall ship-inspired restaurant will be replaced by the Ship Mall, actual relics of the old building will find a renewed decorative purpose on the new retail building. The Ship’s color scheme, dominated by a bright nautical red, as well as its window style, will also be a featured component in the new design.
These details and others are designed to complement the existing New England harbor village and pier theme facade of the Christmas Tree Shops, which is part of the same site being developed by Ship Mall LLC at 24-38 Broadway.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) completed the public hearing portion of the process March 7, Attorney Theodore Regnante told the Villager in a phone interview. “The ZBA has approved the special permit for the retail (use) and the drive-up restaurant coffee shop and the free-standing bank building, and also has approved the site plan that we showed of the parking, entrances and lighting. They’ve also approved the signage for the various tenants.”
For the next step in the ZBA process, Regnante will draft a final approval incorporating the agreements made between the developer and the board at the Feb. 7 and March 7 public hearings. These conditions will then be reviewed by the ZBA at its next meeting on Tuesday, April 4 and a final vote will be taken.
“They need three members to vote and it will have to be the three members who were at the original hearing, and it will have to be unanimous,” he said. Acting Chairman Patrick Rondeau and alternates Brian Shaffer and Andy Youngren sat for the original public hearing. Regnante said ZBA Chairman Tom Aylward and member John Fallon were also in attendance at last Tuesday’s meeting.
The Ship theme continues
“We also reviewed with them the changes that we proposed with the Historical Commission to do some things to the new building to capture the memory of The Ship. They were in an agreement with those changes as well,” Regnante said. These details have not yet been finalized with the Historical Commission (HC), but they will meet with the HC for the second time March 22.
“We’re mimicking the window detail on the new building to mimic what was on The Ship. The eagle and the six stars on the stern of The Ship, we’ll be moving to the left (wall) of the coffee shop building. And we’ll have a stylized version of The Ship’s mast on the front elevation of the tower at the coffee shop,” he said. The color scheme is also part of the proposal before the HC.
Additionally, the developers will create “an information plaque in front of the bank building that will pay homage to The Ship, with a message to be approved by the Historical Commission, and we’ve agreed to donate whatever artifacts that are in the restaurant now to the Historical Commission,” Regnante said. These agreements were previously discussed between the HC and the developer at their meeting last month and they hope to finalize the agreement next week.
“By doing these things in the new construction that will pay homage to The Ship, the structure will not be placed on the ‘significant structure list’ and therefore we would be able to demolish it,” Regnante explained.
Ship Mall details
Two buildings are planned. The largest is designed for four tenants, three of which will be retail tenants divided between 7,580 square feet plus a 2,200 square foot end unit restaurant/coffee shop with drive-up window. Adjacent to this building will be a 2,500 square foot free-standing bank with a drive-up window with East Boston Savings Bank as the tenant.
“The special permit is to authorize the retail use, the drive-up restaurant and the free-standing building. We need site plan approval for all of the improvements shown on the plan,” he said.
The variance requested and granted will allow each of the four tenants to have their own wall signage. “We need four signs to identify each of those four tenants, and the (zoning) bylaw only allows one sign (for) each building, so we had to get a variance to allow four signs on that building. And we need a variance to allow two signs on the bank building. And those were both granted (by the ZBA),” he said.
The existing free-standing sign for the Christmas Tree Shops will not be relocated, Regnante said, explaining no new free-standing signs are proposed for the site, but they are going to use an existing free-standing sign with a “readerboard.” One of the agreements between the ZBA and the developer is limiting message changes on this electronic message board to “no more than four times per day,” he said.
“We withdrew (the variance request for) the outdoor sales area for Christmas trees and plants to accommodate our neighbor, Combined Properties, who felt that the location that we had it on the side of the Christmas Tree building, near the entrance, would create some traffic problems,” he said, adding “We kept the entrance and exit from Daly Road where it presently is.”
Daly Road comes off Route 1, just before the Christmas Tree Shops and motorists then turn left to access the shops or continue straight into Combined Properties. Given these two conditions, Regnante said the attorney for Combined Properties was satisfied and supported the modified plan.
Regnante said the process has gone smoothly.
“We were able to accommodate the issues that were raised by the Zoning Board and hopefully will be able to resolve everything with the Historical Commission. We also have a meeting with the Conservation Commission on March 21. They’re approving the drainage and the wetlands. We’ve already met with their consultant and have made some changes to the plans in accordance with his recommendations,” he said.