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Planning Board Hears Proposal for Mixed Use Development at 1695 Shawsheen St.

Lowder says a number of businesses set to open doors in the coming weeks

The Planning Board met last night without member Jonathan Ciampa, and without any committee updates.

In her report, Town Planner Alex Lowder said that the 2023-2027 Housing Production Plan is in its final draft. It is currently under review by NMCOG. 

“I intend to have that either at the June 12 or June 26 meeting, depending on how this review by their staff goes,” said Lowder. 

Late night coming up for the board. There are currently six new and several continued public hearings scheduled for the June 12 meeting. Two of those six new filings are related to proposed retail marijuana establishments. Lowder is working with applicants to ensure “an expeditious overview of the projects” to keep the meeting moving forward. 

Speaking of retail marijuana, licensing hearings will be held by the Select Board over three dedicated meetings, on June 12, June 13 and June 20. For more information, she directs residents to a Retail Marijuana Licenses informational page that the Town Manager’s office will update regularly.  

Finally, there are a few businesses wrapping up renovations and looking to open over the next few weeks. While she didn’t name names, the expanded Market Al Fresca is aiming for a June soft opening.

Peter Ellison appeared for the Burtt Rd. project, which includes two single-story warehouses totalling 224,900 square feet at the Andover-Tewksbury line along Interstate 93. During the permit review process, the building inspectors in both Andover and Tewksbury flagged that a number of parcels were never legally combined into one lot. That meant no building permits could be issued.

“Through the design process, we had always thought about this as one contiguous parcel,” said Ellison. “And that’s how we’ve always proceeded.”

The board unanimously approved combining the lots in question.

Smyth Cannabis hedges its bets. The site plan review for a Tewksbury branch of Lowell-based Smyth Cannabis in the former E Market and Thai Bistro locations, at 1699 Shawsheen St., was continued to June 12.

However, the proponents, represented by Vanasse Hangen Brustlin civil engineer Jeff Koetteritz, expanded on plans for a second proposed Tewksbury location for Smyth, at 1695 Shawsheen St. If that address sounds familiar, it’s because Keri Plaza owner David DeCenso also proposed to use the 4.22 acre wooded lot for employee parking, should the 1699 Shawsheen proposal be accepted by the Select Board. 

The new site plan proposes a mixed use development combining a retail location and an office suite in a single-story, 6,600 square foot building. About 4,500 sf of that would be the Smyth dispensary. There would be 75 parking spaces and five bike racks. Smyth owner Jim Statires expects to fill those spots, between about 15 employees and customers.

“To start, we would expect 300 or 400 customers a day leading up to hopefully a lot more than that as we get established,” said Statires. “Ideally, you’d like to see 800 customers a day.”

At the April 10 hearing for 1699 Shawsheen, a number of residents called out the amount of traffic already present at the intersection of East St., which can be exacerbated by the train tracks traversing Shawsheen.

“How is the slow train factored in?” asked Chair Stephen Johnson, referring to the freight trains that periodically halt traffic and can result in significant backups.

Traffic engineer Ken Cram of Bayside Engineering said that factor has not been considered. Vice-chair Vinny Fratalia said he’s counted 100 cars on one freight train and suggested it should be.

The hearing was continued to June 12.

One off the board. The 913 East St. Carnation Cannabis retail proposal was withdrawn without prejudice because that location is outside the zones where dispensaries are allowed.

The Radcliff Rd. battery storage system site plan review was continued to June 12 at the request of the applicant.

The next Planning Board meeting is June 12.

Lorna is a U.S. Army veteran and 25-year resident of Tewksbury who has written for organizations ranging from the DIA to InformationWeek to a free weekly in New London that sent her to interview the pastry chef at Foxwoods.

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