TEWKSBURY — The Tewksbury Planning Board met for a virtual meeting via WebEx on Jan. 25, 2020.
In committee reports, member Vinny Fratalia noted that the Local Housing Partnership is exploring the possibility of hiring a consultant to work with the committee. Member Steve Johnson also suggested setting a new board policy that the board won’t continue any item more than three times without the petitioner coming before the board or sending a detailed update explaining the delay.
“We’re not going to sit on something forever,” he said. “Whoever the applicant is, if they’re holding up a spot on the agenda, it’s just not fair to the other applicants,” said Fratalia.
The board opted to discuss the issue further down the agenda.
The board voted to adopt a land disturbance permit application fee schedule revision as submitted.
The board continued a bond release and as-built acceptance for 24 Sunnyslope Ave. to Feb. 1.
The board reviewed a concept plan for Stadium Plaza at 10 Main St., a Demoulas property.
Project manager Eric Gerade gave an overview of the redevelopment project to get feedback from the board before coming back with a permit application in a few months. The 34.1 acre lot sits in both Tewksbury and Lowell and has many vacancies.
The plan calls for the reconstruction of all buildings except for the Santander Bank building, as well as the construction of four outparcel buildings, including restaurant space. While there is potential for an expansion of the Market Basket space, the overall area of the building footprint and parking lot will be decreased.
The design calls for more greenspace and stormwater management areas in the lot. The site will have improved site access; the entrance will be shifted farther down Clark Road, and the driveway will be realigned along Route 38.
Gerade said that he anticipates construction will take about two years. The owner has been working with tenants to design the spaces and is working on compliance, and is launching a joint kickoff with both Tewksbury and Lowell to get conceptual feedback and public safety access input.
Architects from Prellwitz Chilinski Associates noted that the new project is similar to other local Market Basket renovations, including the new stores at Pawtucket Boulevard and Rockingham Park in Salem.
The new design will have interior sidewalks throughout the parking lot, as well as around the lot perimeter. The sidewalk in front of the store will allow for outdoor seating and greenery.
Board members expressed satisfaction with the design. Fratalia asked if the tenants had been retained; Gerade said the proponent felt confident that they have tenants lined up but had yet to sign agreements.
He added that the project is a “complete teardown,” and the whole building, except for a small portion of the Kmart, will be demolished (Market Basket is planned to remain open throughout the construction).
Traffic engineer Kathleen Keen explained there are nine intersections that will be incorporated into the traffic study, and exact numbers will be available upon completion of the study. Project manager James Lamp also added that the Mobil gas station is a tenant at will, and the property will need to be vacated.
“I wish they were digging tomorrow!” said member Jay Delaney.
Board members asked about EV charging stations for electric vehicles; the representatives explained that an electrical conduit must be brought to a specific part of the site, and as technology is changing rapidly, they don’t want to rush into a contract, but have two potential locations identified.
The board continued a bond release and as-built acceptance discussion to Feb. 1.
The board continued a site plan special permit discussion for 913 East St. to Feb. 1.
The board received an update on a definitive subdivision/open space residential design for 181 Pine St.
“I understand the desire to be updated,” said proponent’s attorney David Plunkett, citing coronavirus and the holidays as the reasons for his delay in coming before the board.
He said that significant work has taken place in the meantime; the proponent is reworking the entryway to the parcel, and an abutter has submitted a claim questioning the title.
Plunkett said that the design proposal will be submitted to Town Engineer Kevin Hardiman for his comments before the board’s next meeting.
The board expressed their frustration with the drawn-out discussion.
“We need something so we can take action expeditiously, so that we can move on and you can move on,” said chairman Bob Fowler.
Plunkett agreed to come back before the board on Feb. 22.
Johnson made a formal motion to set a policy that the board will not continue a hearing more than three times without the petitioner coming before the board or sending written information explaining their delay. The board approved the new policy.
The next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 1, 2021. Residents wishing to comment may find the call-in number on their screen and on the meeting agenda on the town website. The meeting may be viewed on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33.