The big difference with this proposal as compared to last year? No proposed Target store.
As reported on Burlington Patch, last year the Gutierrez Company proposed to build a Target store and a restaurant on the 15.3 acre piece of state-owned land that located adjacent to Wheeler Road and near the Middlesex Turnpike. In 2010 the company entered an agreement to potentially purchase the parcel from the state.
The State Department of Transportation has labeled the property as "surplus," meaning the state plans to sell the property, Attorney William Buckley of Riemer & Braunstein told the board.
Town Meeting rejected the change in zoning that would have allowed the Target and restaurant, mostly citing concerns over increased traffic. The Gutierrez Company had proposed a $3.2 million traffic mitigation plan that included a $1.2 from the Massachusetts DoT but the majority of Town Meeting members felt it would not make up for the increase in traffic a Target will bring.
This time around the Gutierrez Company is proposing a zoning change to General Industry to allow the construction of a Class A office building. This building, Scott Weiss of The Gutierrez Company said, would be 70 percent smaller than the new Keurig headquarters building currently under construction on South Avenue.
Weiss said the Gutierrez Company is also proposing to continue with the same traffic mitigation plan it proposed last year.
"The town wants to see the traffic improvements that were heavily vetted last year but they don’t want the extra traffic," he said. "So how can we help the town achieve its goals and make a project that benefits everyone?"
Weiss later said he thought this new proposal was a "win-win" for everyone.
Members of the Board of Selectmen seemed to be in favor of the new project. One member asked whether the plan was still supported by local businesses as it was last year.
Weiss said they will reach out but haven't gotten feedback yet. However he did say that since business owners were supportive of the project when it came with the competition of a Target store he believes they will be on board now that it will be an office building.
The next Town Meeting is scheduled for September 23.
Traffic Improvement Plan from 2012:
At the Middlesex Turnpike, Wheeler Road and 128 Intersection, where Best Buy is located, the plan calls for a number of changes:
- The exit ramp for Route 128 will be moved slightly so it lines up with Wheeler Road.
- Middlesex Turnpike coming from Lexington will be widened and a left-turn lane from the turnpike into Wheeler Road will be added.
- Middlesex Turnpike from the Burlington Mall will be widened.
There are also changes in the plans for the intersection of Middlesex Turnpike and Adams Street, where Market Basket and H-Mart are located:
- Lanes at Middlesex Turnpike at the intersection will be restriped.
- The turn from Adams Street to Middlesex Turnpike will be cut further to allow easier exit.