TEWKSBURY – The Tewksbury Planning Board met on 27 June 2022 in Tewksbury Town Hall. Member Eric Ryder was not present.
The board reviewed a special request for an extension of the 2122 Main St. permit with owners Joel, Jean and Derek Leider. The package is next to Donna’s Donuts.
The developers explained earlier in April that the original plan for the construction of a retail building on the site would be financially problematic and would have damaged Donnas by removing too many of their customer parking spaces.
Instead, Leiders wants to build a parking lot and townhouse to create a mixed-use development that serves the parking needs of Donna’s Donuts through a modification of the existing special permit; the package had originally been intended for a jewelry store, but the project fell through.
“We feel this project is a good project for Tewksbury and we would like to see it continue, but we need an expansion” to assess the revised plan, said Jean Leider.
The gravel site is currently leased by Donna’s for overflow parking, and the developer will include a real parking space in the plan to serve Donna’s in addition to the terraced house units. The developer received a 12-month extension before they needed to present a proposal.
Board member Eric Ryder previously expressed doubts that a parking space is considered an acceptable commercial use, but the city council confirmed that like much for the donut shop, it would qualify during zoning. Because member Bob Fowler was absent from the developers’ first appearance before the board in April, hoping to get feedback from the board on a draft plan, the developers sought a one-year extension to consider all options.
Member Jim Duffy said he felt a year was too long and proposed a six-month extension while board chairman Steve Johnson said six months was a little too fast to be realistic. Fowler said he was primarily concerned with the condition of the site since many developers have neglected properties while waiting to build.
The developers confirmed that the lease of the plot with Donna’s is forever as long as Donna’s is in business, and is currently in use by Donna’s customers as an overflow. The developers also met with the owners of Donna’s to discuss the sale of the parking part of the plot, but it did not make financial sense for Donna’s.
“It would be in your best interest to find out during the year what to do, for I would not guess that if you were to return in a year this [extension] would not happen again, Johnson said.
The board decided to grant a one-year extension.
The next meeting is scheduled for 18 July 2022. Residents can find previously recorded meetings at youtube.com/TewksburyTV. The meeting can be watched on Comcast channel 99 and Verizon channel 33 or attend in person at City Hall.