New use in downtown

One of Dave MacCready’s companies has purchased the downtown building across from the former Lord’s that was the former site of Wills Hardware and Master’s Touch, for $765,000 per today’s Globe.

Dave and his son Rob were at the recent Board of Selectmen meeting to share their intentions for the building.  Their concept plans call for the creation of four retail stores on the first floor, five offices on the second floor, and three apartments on the third floor.  Three of the retail stores will have doors onto Jane’s Avenue, one onto Main Street, and all second entrances from the common hallway on the east side of the building.  They will add an elevator and lavatories on the first two floors.

The major problem would appear to be the lack of requisite parking at the site.  It was represented that some parking would be under the building.  The Zoning Board of Appeals has the authority to waive strict enforcement of the parking requirements for uses located in the downtown. The notes on the plans indicate that the zoning bylaws would require 51 parking spaces for the proposed uses:

  • 30 spaces for the retail
  • 15 spaces for the offices
  • 6 spaces for the residential

Parking is becoming tighter all the time in the downtown, and will only get worse when the Brothers Market opens.

I scanned the hand drawn concept plans they shared – click here to see the floor plans

2 responses to “New use in downtown

  1. Why does the parking zoning prefer strip malls to traditional downtown development?

    Based on the desired parking zoning, it would seem required to drive between every business and never walk downtown at all.

    It’s a shame that the zoning desires all of downtown to look like the plaza on rt 27 instead of a classic downtown center.


    • Selectman Osler "Pete" Peterson

      The regular zoning bylaws have parking requirements by the type of use, on the General theory that public safety requires the business to provide parking for its customers. However, additionally there is a separate zoning bylaws that gives the ZBA the power to waive strict compliance with those strict parking space requirements for uses that are in the downtown. That latter zoning bylaw is specifically to allow the downtown to look like a regular commercial downtown district instead of a strip mall. Hence the ZBA will probably be asked to waive strict compliance with the parking for Dave’s building. When I was on the ZBA we regularly permitted businesses to locate in the downtown without the required parking because of the availability of lots of parking on the streets and in the municipal lots. My concern now is that those spaces may be getting filled up, and that people may start to have difficulty finding a space in the downtown. We are not there yet, but Dave’s new building will bring lots of new demand for parking spaces, and that fact will need to be addressed. I have heard that parking is already tight at the Bullard complex on weekends. It is actually nice to have a problem related to too many customers.


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