WILMINGTON, MA — At its meeting last week, the Wilmington Planning Board approved a 36-unit townhouse development at 168 Lowell Street. 5 of the 36 units will be affordable and have a local preference.
Where Is This Project Exactly?
The project is located at 168 Lowell Street, the old Walpole Woodworkers location, as shown on Town Map 58, Parcel 1. The land borders vegetative wetland to the east, Lowell Street/Route 129 to the south, AJ’s Kitchen and American Legion on Bay Street to the west, and a paper street (Fir St.) and two homes to the north.
The land is zoned neighborhood mixed use. The property is 156,026 square feet and 3.58 acres. While 39 units are allowed under the zoning, only 36 units will be built.
This project has been long in the making, but details are just beginning to emerge. Sewer was extended to the property back in November 2017 to specifically service this development.
A 57-apartment complex and a 3-story commercial development with 7 retail stores and office space, plus a standalone bank, have been proposed for 203 Lowell Street, at the corner of Woburn Street and Lowell Street, less than 0.1 miles from this new development.
Within the next 2-3 years, the town and MassDOT are slated to be making significant upgrades to the Lowell Street and Woburn Street intersection, including creating left-turn only lanes on all FOUR approaches, a right-turn only lane eastbound on Lowell Street, new OVERHEAD traffic signals, new sidewalks, new crosswalks, new ADA ramps, and new bike lanes.
Applicant Joseph Langone submitted the project plans to the Planning Board on January 8, 2020. A public hearing began at the board’s February meeting and was subsequently continued to the board’s March, April and May meetings. No members of the public spoke at the public hearing at the May 5, 2020 meeting, which was held remotely via Zoom.
Langone and his project engineer Doug Lees were able to address all of the concerns of the Planning Board, Planning Department, Community Development Technical Review Team, and other town officials.
Per the request of the town, an independent traffic assessment was conducted which found the 36 town-hosues will generate a total increase of 115 vehicle trips per day. During the “peak PM hour,” vehicle trips will increase by 11, or an additional vehicle trip every 6 minutes.
The project has also added more parking spaces, lighting and signage at the town’s request. The applicant also agreed to alter their phasing plan to conform with the Planning Board’s recommendation.
“There is nothing outstanding,” confirmed Wilmington Planning Director Valerie Gingrch. “[The applicants] have addressed everything we were looking for.”
The Planning Board ultimately voted 4-0-1 to approve site plan review, a stormwater management permit, a multi-family special permit, and an inclusionary housing special permit. (Planning Board member Sean Hennigan recused himself from the discussion and vote as he is an abutter to the property.) The Board spent more than 30 minutes going through the conditions in the draft decision prior to their vote.
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