The new owners of the Salt Box complex came before the Planning Board on Wednesday evening with a conceptual sketch of ideas for the redevelopment of the property. The sketch, shown below, is the same as the one shown briefly to the board in May. The owners were seeking reactions and guidance.
“The idea is worth pursuing, probably,” said Doug Storey, chair of the Planning Board, “but it would require significant support by the town. Pretty much nothing you’ve shown here is allowed. In order to get to a point where it would be allowed it would require a town meeting to vote a zoning change.”
The concept sketch shows four buildings replacing the current single structure on the 2.63-acre business-zoned lot. Parking is shown as overflowing onto adjacent residential lots (also part of the overall 11-acre property). A public water supply well servicing the commercial buildings is also positioned outside of the business-zoned lot.
Compared to the existing building, the sketch shows: an increase of about 25% in square footage under roof; an increase of nearly 100% in overall footprint of buildings; and about triple the amount of parking currently available on the site. The sketch shows four buildings which the owners identified as possibly a bank, a restaurant, a coffee shop, a market, and other small retail shops. The owners said they were in exploratory talks with numerous potential tenants, including Dunkin’ Donuts and Idylwilde Farms.
The plan as shown would require major variances in setback, number of buildings per lot, the location of parking and infrastructure elements on adjacent residential lots, and limits on lot coverage.
The board suggested that a lot of work is needed on the plan. “You’ve got to flush it out more and you will have to build support,” said Storey. “You will have to get consensus from a lot of people, a lot of people saying this is a good idea, that the boards think this is a benefit to the town, that the abutters love it, that people think this will be an improvement to the town and not take away from it.”
Click to listen to the discussion (about 50 minutes).