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Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Second Community Meeting Sees Major Changes to Proposal for 620 Broadway

Attorney Sean O'Donovan presents new 620 Broadway plans
Residents and abutters gathered at Pescatore Restaurant on Monday night to see an updated proposal for 620 Broadway currently being occupied by the Shield Gas Station. What attendees were given was a completely revamped plan that took every suggestion from the previous community meeting and implemented that change into the project. This resulted in fewer questions and a community meeting that lasted about 45 minutes. 

The previously presented renderings, at the June 2nd meeting, showed a 19-unit dwelling with 21 underground parking spaces and a need for three variances: allowing the rear setback, a parking variance to decrease the expected amount of parking spots from 32 to 21 and allowing 19 units with the promise that 2 of the three-bedroom units would be designated as affordable. 

The updated version has the unit amount reduced to 11 (1-three bedroom unit affordable), the parking amount remaining at 21 (moved up from underground to the first level) and the inclusion of a 400 square foot commercial space on the right side of the building. The building will remain at the previous height of 42 feet per current zoning code. The property will include over 20 spaces for bicycle parking, as well as, elevator apparatus for residents to hook their bicycle on (allowing more space for other passengers on the elevator) to bring to their unit for storage.

The breakdown of the units includes 9-two bedroom and 2-three bedroom dwellings. Although the team is known for their large stock of rental properties in Somerville, they are still going to allow the market to determine if the 620 Broadway units will remain rentals or be sold as condominiums. There were no details made available as to what type of commercial entity would occupy the 400 square foot space. 

The new setup also allows for the reversal of a large section of a curb cut. This removal would result in three extra on-street parking spaces that can be used by surrounding businesses or residents. 

On the site, there is also a 1,000 square foot parcel that is owned by the MBTA. It is the intention of the development team to buy the parcel, clean it and landscape it. The team was still working with the MBTA on that parcel at the time of the meeting. Also discussed was the installation of trees on the sidewalk in front of the building. The team agreed that they would work with the City and plant at the City's discretion. 

Now that the development will not be placing the parking underground, the current owner is responsible to fully clean the site and obtain an A2 approval from the DEP per the Purchase and Sale agreement between both parties. It was made very clear at last night's meeting that the site would not be purchased if contaminated.

Possible cross contamination to wells located on the DAV property were a major concern to their two representatives. According to the development team's attorney, Sean O'Donovan, that mitigation needs to happen between the DAV (and their attorney) and the current owner as it is his responsibility to clean the site. O'Donovan offered to facilitate the meeting and assist with the application.

From here, the team is aiming to complete the application this week before prepping to present to, both, the Design Review Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals. This process could take up to 30 days. The remediation of the site will begin immediately and should last from 2-3 months. Once complete, the team hopes to begin the foundation in the Fall with occupancy by the Spring or Summer of 2015.


Anonymous said...

It's hard to say how this will be received by the Design Review Committee and ZBA. I wouldn't be surprised if they said it needs to have a more active ground floor use with larger commercial frontage. Right now, it's mostly parking-related. I don't think this is a CCD parcel, but if it were, I would say it's exactly the kind of ground floor design that is actively being discouraged. (If there is ground contamination, then there may be other factors in play.) I'd suggest the developer go review the feedback the DRC has given on recent projects like 2-8 Broadway, 182 Broadway, 508/510 Somerville Ave, 593/595 Somerville Ave.

Did the developer say whether the building was intended to look white, like the pictures? It appears conceptual and lacking in details like building materials, dimension, etc.

Thanks for posting notes and pictures!

Anonymous said...

I am surprised that the neighborhood is OK with a variance of 10 cars. This part of Broadway was not rezoned for such few vehicles. Was this raised at all?

Anonymous said...

They did not like the 19 unit with 21 spaces, but did not complain about 11 units with 21 spaces and three on-street additions.

Anonymous said...

No one asked about the colors...etc

Anonymous said...

So few parking spaces? The new plan has almost 2 spots per unit. Two-thirds of households in Somerville own one car or less. The new plans seem more than sufficient.

Anonymous said...

The developers kept the same amount of parking because of the DAV complaining that their patrons wouldn't be able to find parking spots.

Anonymous said...

I like this plan better than the first.

Anonymous said...

"two-thirds of households in Somerville own one car or less."

I believe the one-third of others owning more than one car all live on my street.
One family of five adults have six cars registered; with a 2 car driveway.

"or less?"
What? Some own one-half a car?
Possibly: "Wheel of Fortune" losers?