Planning Board: Salt Box concept would require zoning change

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).

Click to enlarge.

—Roland

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3 Responses to Planning Board: Salt Box concept would require zoning change

  1. erik says:

    This sounds like a good plan to me. It would be great to have an Idylwilde Farms there, they have a great store in Acton. And possibly another non-chain restaurant would be nice. Also, DD on the way to work would be good. Count me in. I understand hesitations about the broken down garage at the wataquadoc intersection because of traffic, but this would work in my mind.

  2. Pingback: Calendar: Board of Selectmen, July 21 | Bolton Center Historic Neighborhood Blog

  3. ciao amiga says:

    Although i think this plan is a little too dense, i think it is a much better location for the highly desired coffee shop that everyone seems to want. The primary plus is that it is on the right side of the street. I laugh when people keep saying they want a coffee shop at the smith garage location. HUH? Morning (eastbound) commuters trying to turn left to get into SMith’s –and then re-entering traffic would require waiting for a nice person to let you in. I live on Main street, and my rough observations are that about 1 in 8 will let you in if you are on same side of street; 1 in 25 will let you in on opposite side–IF they even notice you wanting to get out. Lucky for me i am a tea drinker and always bring my own.

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