Supporters of a plan to renovate the former Colonial Rehabilitation and Nursing Center on Broad Street into an 80-studio one-bedroom apartment complex say the renovation would improve the appearance of the neighborhood.
SRH Broad LLC is seeking a special permit and parking override provision in a renovation plan for the 75,000 square foot site owned by Sawyer Realty Inc.
Project attorney Jeffrey A Tocchio said the property is approximately 2.5 acres in size and “offers a lot of opportunity.”
âThey (SRH Broad LLC) see opportunities to update it to today’s standards,â he said in a public Zoning Appeal Board hearing on Aug. 10.
Tocchio said the renovation would include removing overgrown shrubs “which are all weeds,” replacing the building’s windows with insulated fiberglass, and installing a “clean flat roof” .
“This is an opportunity for us to clean it up and turn it into a high quality building,” he added.
The upgrades would include adding 19 additional parking spaces to the 103 existing stands.
Tocchio said the current parking spaces do not meet Weymouth’s zoning requirements and additional stalls will comply with local regulations.
âThe parking lanes are 6 feet long in some areas,â he said. “This is really a mess. We have the possibility of creating compliant parking spaces and (passage) aisles. There is a huge generator which occupies several spaces, and which we propose to remove.”
Tocchio said the renovation would flatten a slope at the top of a driveway entrance to accommodate five lanes of disabled parking near the main entrance to the structure.
âYou have existing disabled parking spaces that don’t meet the requirements of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA),â he said.
Tocchio said the improvements will include a retaining wall near the main entrance to increase the width of the parking lot walkway.
âWe are proposing to increase the aisle to comply with daily traffic and for emergency vehicles,â he said. “It meets the passage requirements of fire trucks.”
Tocchio said the proposed apartments will generate 50% less traffic than the nursing home, especially during the morning and afternoon rush hours.
The site plan includes the use of two curb lane entrances on Broad Street and one curbside driveway on Vine Street.
SRH Broad LLC is proposing to create a curb entrance on Vine Street near the south facade of the complex.
Makeover plan raises concerns
Zoning board member Jonathan Moriarty said the design should include a sidewalk along the driveway entrance to Broad Street to improve pedestrian safety, but Tocchio said the property “does not lend itself to not in a footpath configuration “.
âThe sidewalks cannot fit into the programming there,â he said. âIf we could fit in, it wouldn’t be large. We don’t have the room.
District 2 Councilor Maureen Kiely said she was concerned that people could safely walk towards the building from the Broad Street sidewalk cut.
âIf we can get a narrow sidewalk over the driver for the safety of residents, cyclists and people walking to the suburban station, I like to do it,â she said.
Broad Street resident Susan Vanessa said she was concerned about the impact of an additional entrance to the complex on Vine Street on traffic in her neighborhood.
âVine Street is used as a cutoff by drivers who want to avoid traffic lights on Washington and Broad streets,â she said. âWe have a lot of traffic when people come home. It’s not a problem for me, but I have neighbors who have young children.
Vanessa said Vine Street is used regularly by customers of The Bicycle Link.
âSomeone will get hurt in that corner because people don’t slow down,â she said. “Is there a way to make Vine Street a one-way street?” “
Weymouth Planning Director Robert Luongo said senior town planner Eric Schneider visited the site and observed many children on bicycles who lived in the apartment complex next to the old nursing home.
âI would love to see a vinyl fence installed so that the driveway is closed to children,â he said.
Luongo said the planning department would look into the neighborhood’s concerns and discuss them with officials at SRH Broad LLC.
âWe have to take these comments into account and come back with a better plan than the one proposed,â he said.
The zoning council agreed to continue the public hearing until 7 p.m. on August 25.