Board supports conceptual plan for Stadium Plaza

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.

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