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Planning officials may vote next week on proposed 14-unit condo at 192 Pleasant St. in Watertown

Posted by Jaclyn Reiss  March 6, 2013 01:56 PM

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Watertown planning officials say they might be ready next week to vote on the approval of a proposed 14-unit condominium building at 192 Pleasant St., a now-vacant lot which is the former location of Bacon Industries.

Steve Magoon, the town's planning director, said the developers from Acton-based Burkhard Corporation will present tweaks they have made to the proposed condominiums at Wednesday night's Planning Board meeting, such as lowering the building's roof and changing the back facade to a more symmetrical design.

Developers have also faced some challenges fitting the building onto the property due to conservation easements.

The building would house mainly one and two bedroom units, and the developers plan to sell the condos once they’re built. Developers also plan on providing about two dozen parking spaces underneath the building, Magoon said.

However, many abutters and neighbors have said they oppose the proposed condominiums, citing traffic, parking and the building’s large size as main concerns at previous town hearings.

Colleen Sexton, who lives at 193 Pleasant St., said she was not against the property being developed, but was appalled at the introduction of 14 units when the town has already approved multiple other condo and apartment complex construction.

"I think it's too large a structure for that plot of land - they're trying to pack too much into a very small space," Sexton said over the phone last month. "And parking is not adequate in the neighborhood to begin with."

Cindy Nelson, another neighbor of the lot, agreed.

"Part of my reaction to this particular building is part of an emotional reaction to all the incredibly large buildings being built on Pleasant Street," she said. "In a neighborhood with two- and single-family homes, it just doesn’t fit into the neighborhood feel. What about a townhouse with four units and four new neighbors instead of 14 new units? It's about finding a balance."

Nelson said she also worried about traffic with the influx of new residents.

"Pleasant Street is a busy street," she said. "I can only imagine as they fill up the building what traffic will be like."

However, Magoon said the 14 new units would have minimal impact on the streets.

"There is significant traffic on Pleasant Street, but a 14-unit building isn’t the kind of thing to add a significant amount of traffic to Pleasant Street or change intersections in that area," he said.

Magoon also noted that the developers have been working with the town to scale down the project, and pointed out that the town allows for potentially even bigger developments on the property.

"I don’t think the building is out of scale in terms of height and in terms of the buildings it joins," he said.

The Watertown Planning Board will discuss the project during its meeting at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 13 at Town Hall, located at 149 Main St.

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