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NEWS: 100-Seat Restaurant for 134 Main St. Meets Final Hurdle; Some Abutters Frustrated With Impact on Nearby Residents and Businesses

The proposed 100-seat restaurant for 134 Main Street appears to have met the final hurdle, that of identifying adequate parking for the commercial location. Bob France of Mount Laurel Development LLC told the Planning Board that the restaurant would occupy 2430 sq. ft. in the lower level of the project's historic front building.

The area was established in accordance with the Design Review Committee's desire to increase the amount of commercial space in Boynton Meadow's development.

"Our request requires that we add 26 additional parking spaces," France said. He outlined the proposal which includes working closely with his immediate abutter Dr. Michael O'Neil of Nashoba Vision Associates to partner in sharing parking which will start with 10 spaces and increase to 20 spaces when construction begins on the last home at Boynton Meadows. France said that Boynton Meadow's Condo Association will take responsibility for plowing the parking area.

France advised that he is also working with Lawrence Academy who will allow use of their parking lot next to the tennis courts for overflow, and additionally parking at the Shumway Field parking for valet parking. There is a tenant for the restaurant and the lease is signed. Hours of operation will be 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, Friday and Saturday 11 to 11 and Sunday from 11 to 7. The restaurant will be closed on Mondays. France stressed that hours of operation were worked out as a result of dialog with tenants. He anticipates that the restaurant will be open by September.

"I believe that these are viable alternatives and in accordance with the Overlay District goal to reduce asphalt and to encourage shared spaces. We already have approval from the Historic District Commission." France said.

Abutter Karen Corey commented that there is not a lot of parking available on Main Street, and that "the project is too big for the property." Planning Board Chairman John Giger noted that there has always been a provision for a restaurant on the Boynton Meadows plan.

Attorney Darren Lanza with Attorney Tom Gibbons Law firm representing another abutter, Pergantis Realty Trust, told the Planning Board that he wanted to issue a formal objection and express his client's concerns and the burden this (project) will put on surrounding businesses, specifically his. Pergantis doesn't believe that this meets the bylaws."

Chairman Giger pointed out that properties in an overlay district are different in that there are allowances for shared parking, especially sharing the spaces at different times of the day. He also advised Attorney Lanza that Pergantis Realty Trust was recently granted parking waivers by the Planning Board and allowed to 'green bank' spaces on the grassy area of their property.

Representatives of Groton Affordable Housing Trust were present to strongly support the proposal, noting that there will be affordable units in the new development. Member Alan King said he believes that this was in the best interest of the Trust and the town and pointed out that there are 14 parking spaces in the front area of First Parish Church.

Following further discussion, the Planning Board continued the public hearing for the special permit modification for Mount Laurel Development to May 23, at 7:30 p.m. when France will return with signed agreements and plans with Dr. O'Neil and Lawrence Academy for additional and overflow parking.

Groton Herald

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