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To: Winchester Planning Board
Winchester Design Review Committee

From:  Betsy Ware, Town Planner

Re:  Petition #3654 – Permit for a 12,000+ sq. ft. CVS pharmacy with 62 parking spaces at Swanton at Washington Streets

Date:  March 12, 2013


In response to revised plans submitted yesterday and today on the above noted
project, I offer the following comments and issues:

Site Plan:

Site Plan Approval shall be granted only upon determination by
the Board that the plan meets the following standards. The Board may impose
reasonable conditions at the expense of the applicant to implement these
standards. 

New building construction and other site alterations shall be designed, after
considering the qualities of the specific location, the proposed land use, the
design of the buildings, grading, egress points, and other aspects of the
development, so as to:

1.   Minimize the volume of cut and fill, the number of removed trees six inches in caliper or
larger, the length of removed stone walls, the area of wetland vegetation
displaced, soil erosion, and threat of air and water pollution;

      Soil is being removed for the construction of foundations.  Contaminated soils are to be removed, which is an improvement to the site;

2.   Provide adequate storm water management and other utilities consistent with the
functional requirements of the Planning Board Subdivision Rules and Regulations;

      The Engineering Department is in the process of reviewing these revised plans. The Board should condition its approval on the review and approval of the storm water infiltration system as proposed;

3.   Maximize pedestrian and vehicular safety both on the site and egressing from it;

      The Board should recommend that the ZBA hire peer reviewers to address the traffic
report.  Issues on location of loading zone and possible backup of automobiles at the light at Washington and Swanton Streets may need to be addressed. (See additional comments below as the traffic study is not complete and needs to be supplemented.)


4.   Provide adequate access to each structure for fire and emergency service equipment;

      There is a requirement that fire lanes be located around the building.  At present there are two rows of parking located close to the structure.  The issue of zoning requirement for fire lanes and Fire Department approval needs to be addressed;

5.   Minimize obstruction of scenic views from publicly accessible locations;

6.   Minimize visual intrusion by controlling the visibility of parking, storage, or other
outdoor service areas viewed from public ways or premises residentially used or
zoned;

      Lighting and hours need to be addressed.  Most of the present businesses in the neighborhood stop operation by 8pm. at the latest;

7.   Minimize glare from headlights and lighting intrusion;

      Based on the likely removal/dying of plantings due to the overhanging of car bumpers, it is likely that the screening from planting will not be as effective as if full sized parking
spaces with substantial planting and bumper stops were to be provided.  Headlight glare may result;


8.   Minimize unreasonable departure from the character, materials, and scale of buildings in
the vicinity, as viewed from public ways and places;

      The proposed 12,000 s.f. CVS is not in keeping with the character of the
neighborhood, which presently contains about a dozen or so businesses within
the area.  The proposed CVS would eliminate all these businesses and one facility, the CVS, would replace them all. 

      Additionally, most of the existing businesses, with the exception of Bossi’s automotive repair, are neighborhood and pedestrian-oriented.  The proposed CVS is automobile oriented and at a scale which is more appropriate for malls (Roche Brothers complex in Wellesley, Redstone Mall in Stoneham) or the new medical development, located at 25 Washington Street in Wellesley, which is a medical complex and assisted living facility, which contains a 12,000 CVS store. 

      The scale of the proposed CVS should be more similar to that of the CVS
facilities in the centers of Wellesley, Ma. and Arlington, Ma. where 6,800 square foot and
approximately 5,000 square foot facilities, respectively, are located.  While it is acknowledged that CVS has changed its business model to larger stores, those stores are not in keeping with the character, size and scale of the existing community at the intersection of Washington and Swanton Streets.

      Based on the schematic nature of the plans and the fact that the prior plans called
for unnatural materials (cement siding, aluminum or plastic siding, etc), it is
anticipated that the proposed building materials will not be in keeping with
the surrounding neighborhood, which is predominantly wood frame buildings with
wood clapboard and shingle siding.


9.   Minimize contamination of groundwater from on-site waste-water disposal systems or
operations on the premises involving the use, storage, handling, or containment
of hazardous substances; and

      (See #1 above)

10. Ensure compliance with the provisions of this Zoning Bylaw, including parking, signs,
landscaping, and environmental standards.

      There are a number of inconsistencies between the zoning requirements and the plans,
including parking space sizes, setbacks, locations of parking, etc. Unless
resolved, the project does not appear to be in compliance with the Zoning Bylaw.

       Building Elevations/Renderings: The building elevations and renderings are incomplete and are in schematic form.  As previous stated in earlier meetings, the Washington Street
façade, offers little in terms of connection to the street.  The windows offer little connection with the street and are, for the most part, proposed to be filled with advertising or
left blank. 


       Again, the proposed exterior of the building is more in keeping with a mall-like
setting, where a stand-alone CVS store would be located (similar to Redstone
Mall in Stoneham).

Traffic:The traffic study should be updated to include: 1) other intersections other than
just the one intersection of Washington and Swanton Streets; 2) estimates of
new/future traffic growth should include the Winchester Hospital project at 620
Washington Street and the Winchester Soccer Club project at 120 and 134 Cross
Street and 3) Washington Street corridor traffic growth projections from
MAPC/CTPS long term traffic growth rates.

Additionally, the study should look at turning movements from Swanton and Washington Streets and potential back-up on those streets at the traffic light.

The traffic study should be peer reviewed with the applicant paying for the review per MGL,
Chapter 44, Section 53G.


 Parking/Loading: Regarding the parking and loading, I do not believe that the
proposed project meets some or all of the following conditions/requirements :

o   Stall width shall be at least nine (9) feet in width. (5.1.6. #2);

o   Stall depth shall be at least 19 feet for all angle parking and 22 feet for parallel parking. 
Such dimension may include no more than two feet of any landscape setback area adjacent to the front and rear of a stall and used for bumper overhang. (5.1.6 #3);

o   In all districts, barriers shall be provided toprevent motor vehicles from being parked within required setback areas, or beyond the boundaries of the lot where no setback is required.  There is at least one parking space locate within a front yard setback;

o   Abutting properties shall be protected from headlight glare by either (1) A strip at least four feet wide, densely planted with shrubs or trees which are at least four feet high at the time of planting and which are of a type that may be expected to form a year-round dense screen at least six feet high within three years, or (2) A wall, barrier, or fence of
uniform appearance at least five feet high, but not more than six feet above
finished grade, or above the roof level, if on a roof  (5.1.7 Lighting and Screening of Parking
Facilities). 


o  No stall shall be located within 10 feet of that
part of a building having windows of habitable rooms at the basement or first
story level, except as permitted in paragraph 5 of Section 5.1.9;

o  There is a provision within the zoning that requires fire lanes to be located around the building.  This would preclude parking from being located right up against the building;

o  While the plans indicate a 5’ separation between the abutting residential property and the parking lot, that area scales out as less, contains planning that will be destroyed due to car bumpers, contains a guard rail and fencing.  The applicant should provide a detail as to how the retaining wall, guard rail and planting will all be installed in that area. Details on the guard rail should be provided;


o  At least two percent of the interior of the parking lot shall be planted and continuously maintained.  Planting along the perimeter of a parking area, whether for required screening or general beautification, shall not be considered as part of the two (2) percent interior planting.  The planting shall be distributed throughout the parking area and shall include trees as well as other plant material.  Existing trees shall be preserved where
possible.  No planting bed shall have a width of less than three (3) feet. Such facilities shall be designed and used in such a manner as at no time to constitute a nuisance, or a hazard or unreasonable impediment to traffic;

o  Parking spaces are required to have 200 s.f of space;

Lighting:

Pertaining to lighting, per 5.4.11 (Hours of Operation) Outdoor lighting shall not be illuminated between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. with the following exceptions:

         1.   If the use is being operated, such as a business open to customers, or where employees are working or where an institution or place of public assembly is conducting an activity, normal illumination shall be allowed during the activity and for not more than one
half hour after the activity ceases;

         2.   Low level lighting sufficient for the security of persons or property on the lot may be in operation between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m., provided the average illumination on the ground or on any vertical surface is not greater than 0.5-foot candles.

Storm water Drainage:

o  Parking lot drainage is clearly delineated in the zoning.  The Board should defer to
the Engineering Dept. for their recommendations;

Market demand.

CVS asserts that there is sufficient market demand in the neighborhood and within Winchester to support the new store.  They also assert that the addition of a second CVS store in the town will not detrimentally affect the economic viability of the downtown CVS store. They reported that the lease for the downtown store had been renewed for
at least five years.  However, no market information or documentation was provided to back up these assertions.  The WPB has a major initiative underway to rezone the town center and ensure that it remains a vibrant and commercially viable retail area.  More compelling and factual information on the market viability of the new CVS should be provided to justify the construction of this new store.

 



Neighbors For Rational Growth
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