Dedham Planning Board
July 17th, 2018
Town Hall, Lower Conf. Room
26 Bryant Street, Dedham, MA 02026
Board/Committee members in attendance
Robert Aldous, John Bethoney, Chair, James O’Brien, Michael Podolski, Jessica Porter, Ralph Steeves, Town Planner Jarret Katz
7:10 p.m. Pledge of Allegiance
*This item is included to acknowledge that there may be matters not reasonably anticipated by the Chair that could be raised during the Public Comment period by other members of the Committee/Board, by staff or others.
Meeting was called to order at 7:10 p.m.
Pledge of Allegiance
Welcome Jennifer Doherty as new Administrative Assistant
Public Hearing continuation: Anjom, LLC, 235-243 Bussey Street. Special Permit: Redevelopment of property as a Mixed Use development and Major Nonresidential Project
Attorney Kevin Hampe spoke on behalf of the developer. The architect has said he would not be available for this date. He said design is consistent with the East Dedham Guidelines. Scott Henderson, Project Engineer, addressed issues from last meeting. A bike rack and storage were added. American flag was added. Parking on Bussey was removed from the plan and will be addressed elsewhere. They will provide a planting schedule for planters in front. Plan is for 12-2 bedroom and 8-1 bedroom apartments. Materials include hardy siding, some real brick facing front. Hampe said they will request a waiver of 4 parking spots for residential. The only way to control parking in lot across the street is through the terms of the lease. Tenant may be warned and evicted. Liquor store has never had parking. Customers park on street and onsite when tenants are gone. The problem is on weekends.
If they do not get a parking waiver, they may revise the plan to 16 units. They would amend the mix to 8-1 bedroom and 8-2 bedroom with no affordable units, rather than 20 units with 5 affordable. They are willing to work with the board if there is no parking waiver. They would request a continuance to change the plan. They would put up signage in the liquor store about no parking across the street in lot.
Podolski asked how many employees work in the liquor store. Answer was two full-time and they park on the street. Customers pull up front. Hampe said they could potentially have 3-4 parking spots in front and 6 across the street. Podolski said they already have a waiver for commercial parking. Hampe said tenant parking could be used during the day. Bethoney asked how long they have operated. Answer was 20 years. Currently there are 11 apartments and 2 parking spaces. Bethoney said their job is to make development better and to apply the books to what the developer is doing. O’Brien said they don’t have the right amount of parking now, but business is good. Porter asked how fewer apartments would impact the affordable units. Answer is they would have zero affordable units because of the impact on finances. Porter said in principle mixed use development requires less parking because of different hours of operation, but in this case that was challenging because the busiest hours for the liquor store are 4-8 and weekends. They would have zero interior landscaping.
Podolski commended the team on a beautiful building. He wants to see the development off on the right foot with as few waivers as possible. Twenty units is too many, 16 is ok. He was not concerned about commercial parking or affordable units. Aldous said he would like to see affordable units but was more concerned with parking. O’Brien agreed. Neighborhood willingness to accept parking should be considered. Steeves said concern was cost. Bethoney said the rate for an affordable 1 bedroom in Dedham is $1427. The regular average rate is $1550-1750. Steeves said he would love to see it go through and get rid of 1 bedrooms. He was ok with no affordable because developer needs to make money. Porter said she hated to lose the affordable units but was concerned with 20 units. This is the first East Dedham development with design guidelines stressing walkability. She suggested they could make clear that some tenants would not have parking. The number of cars going in and out will impact the neighborhood. They need more thoughtful parking policy with 20 units and also with landscape waiver. She suggested they should stick more to the guidelines. Bethoney said some tenants in Dedham Square have two cars but only one space. Porter noted that East Dedham also has no public transportation.
Bethoney said they wanted developer to have a clear understanding of board’s position. O’Brien said the whole neighborhood is affordable. Steeves said the project could bring the neighborhood up. Hampe requested a continuance. He anticipated the project would be reduced to 16 units. Aldous questioned why the board would back down from requirements and give waivers just so developer could make more money. They should build as book requires.
Public comment. First person agreed that 16 units, 16 parking spots, 0 affordable units was ok. She said the owner is a great tenant and wonderful neighbor. One person commented that parking is important and they should not give away too much at the start of East Dedham revitalization or set a precedent. Bethoney interjected that they look at each project. Precinct 3 Chair Charlie Krueger said if this fails no one will want to try to build in East Dedham. He said East Dedham already carries the brunt of affordable housing and they don’t need more. He suggested the town look at a municipal lot behind the firehouse where there could be 50-60 spots. He supports the development. Owner of business next door said he would like to see the project go forward. People manage the parking. He asked about all 2 bedrooms. Bethoney said that was not discussed. Rita Mae Cushman agreed that development would improve square. A precinct 5 resident supported 20 units and waiving parking. He asked where the parking was for the town-owned units. Developer would lose a lot of money with 4 fewer units. A resident said the street could accommodate parking for 20 units. A resident said there are plenty of affordable units in neighborhood and developer should be able to charge top dollar.
Next meeting August 9th.
Scoping Session: 355-359 Washington Street, Dedham, MA Scoping Session requested by HUB Development for Mixed Use development project.
Kevin Hampe presented developer, Anthony Ferrara. Steve Souza is the architect. Development is in central business district. The plan is to demolish current building and build 4 story mixed use building. Plan is for 21 one bedroom units. They anticipate office use. There will be 23 parking spots. They will request a waiver of some commercial spots. They will have 2 level parking. The plan is 9 units on second and third floors and 3 on top. Top floor would be set back. Traditional materials will be used in a contemporary way – zinc panel, brick, casement windows, plans to break up façade. Hampe said they met with Gamble Associates, who made recommendations on design such as softening the edge on the base, based on the forthcoming Dedham Square Design Guidelines.
Aldous said the plans are terrible, they have no numbers; plan is the 2nd worst he has seen in 15 years. He thought the building takes up too much room and is too high. Porter appreciated the different design and integration with the square. She asked about height of the first floor. She asked if they had considered any 2 bedroom units. Developer said they want to maximize the number of units. Porter said based on public comments that people want to downsize but want more space. They also want community spaces, such as perhaps benches, a lobby, or an open space on the penthouse level. She mentioned a covered bike space. Bethoney asked about height. The architect discussed the height. The perception on the outside may not be the same as inside.
Bethoney questioned how a fire truck could get through the parking entry and said it was not high enough. The architect said the plan would have to be adjusted. Bethoney said it was as high as the highest building in Dedham. O’Brien liked the design and materials and said it tied in with town. Podolski asked about set back. Architect said the design is two feet from property line and they would put landscaping in front. The back abuts residential area. The side setbacks are 5 feet. Hampe said zoning cuts across parking lot so they are ok for residential parking. They would seek a waiver for commercial parking and height or they may need to change height. Porter asked about affordable units. Podolski said he would expect a good effort on affordable units in this area. Town Planner Katz spoke about addressing Dedham Square design guidelines with height, set back and talking to Gamble Associates.
Bethoney asked about trash. Architect said they would have a trash room with containers and the management company would roll out trash to be picked up. Bethoney asked about snow removal. Architect said building covers parking area
Bethoney asked about commercial area. He said the majority of the space is the parking ramp. Hampe said it is not defined in by-law. Bethoney asked why they did not design one lane at grade with parking in rear. Ferullo said they had met informally previously with Bethoney and Steeves to discuss concepts and they had presented side entrance/exit at grade. Comments by the two Planning Board members at that time were to go underground with parking. Developer would prefer grade for cost reasons.
Bethoney discussed a different design and said it looked too high. He asked about 21E since this was an automotive shop. Hampe said that is in the plan. Members questioned how they would do staging after first floor went in. Aldous said it was too big, too high and too many apartments. Bethoney said they need more commercial space. Bethoney said parking is a premium so they should be prepared to address that.
Public Comment. Resident spoke as member of Knights of Columbus in building next door. He said he has cars towed all the time.
Amy Haelsen spoke as Executive Director of Dedham Square Circle. She said this is what they had hoped for with Dedham Square renovation, that public funding would spur private development. She agreed with maximizing commercial space. She had no problem with the building height with the top floor setback. She said the town should be thoughtful on allowing feasible building. Bethoney interrupted several times to question if other projects had not been feasible and on height issue. She thought other buildings were same height. She said former Greenleaf Bagel was 4 floors. Appeared to be same height as Blue Ribbon building. Concern about building height only started with 350-360 building. Dedham Square Circle is excited about development.
George Panagopoulos of Dedham House of Pizza asked about parking if a restaurant went into development. Response was that would change parking requirements and they would have to come back to board. Panagopoulos said building is beautiful but too big. Businesses are hurt by traffic and there should be no parking waivers.
Town Planner said they are studying traffic issues in Dedham Square. Bethoney commented that town paid 100,000s for redesign. Katz said this is not about design, but about looking at traffic issues, like enforcement and shared parking.
Porter and Katz informed gathering of a public parking meeting on Wednesday, July 25th. Notice had gone out by e-notification on the town website. Bethoney and other members did not get that or know about the meeting.
Resident commented that building design looked good, especially compared to design of many other recent developments. Supported underground parking. Commented that perhaps staging could be from street for relatively short time of building in order to get a long term better design.
Adjourn 9:45 p.m.
Notes taken by Jean Zeiler
Reviewed by Heather Springer
Keywords: East Dedham Redevelopment, Bussey Street, Mixed Use, Dedham Square development
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