March 26 2019

New Plan Proposed for Historic Site that Would Preserve Building

By: Thaddeus Stephanak

The Planning Board heard a plan to preserve a historic building that a previous proposal had called to be torn down to make room for a new office building.

Attorney Thomas Murphy was before the Planning Board for a special permit proposal at 336 Cambridge Street, the white house just past LaCascia’s heading toward Billerica. The parcel was purchased and is now subdivided with an ID industrial zoning. The property was once part of the larger parcel behind the house which includes 128 Electric.  

 Built in 1820 the structure falls into a non-conforming, grandfathered use and is currently being used as a three-unit residence and a dentist office. The applicant is looking to restore the building with additions to the front and side of the building for egress to the living units. The plan also calls for refurbishing the interior, creating a professional office space and adding nine parking spots.

Prior to Thursday night’s meeting, Murphy appeared before the Burlington Historical Commission and presented the proposal. He reported to the Planning Board that Historical Commissioners were happy the plan calls for saving the house.

Planning Director Kristen Kassner said this was the first plan to come forward that would keep the building intact.

“Other proposals for the property were interested in demolition,” she said. “This proposal is favorable in that is will preserve the building.”

Historical Commissioner Michael Trudeau addressed the board on behalf of the Historical Commission.  

“[They] are pleased to see the historical character in being maintained,” he said.

Trudeau went on to inform the board that the commission has a public hearing scheduled for a demolition delay of the 128 Electric location, which has a barn also dating back to 1820. The property, he said, was part of the original Reed Ham Works farm.

He said overall the project looks promising but there might not be much hope for the barn.

“The Commission is not hopeful, the barn is in rough shape,” he said, before turning to the larger project. “The proposed changes are minor from a historical perspective and the site is an important part of Burlington history. [The commissioners] would like to see the building stay.”

Murphy informed the board that staff would receive a more accurate site plan on the project for review. The matter was continued to the Planning Board meeting April 4.


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