August 15 2017

Selectmen Approved Freestanding Sign on Town Property for Shoppes at Simonds Park Project

By: Rich Hosford

A development project that has garnered a lot of interest was given permission to construct a sign on town property.

The Board of Selectmen on Monday voted to approve a freestanding sign on a strip of town property off of Center Street and Cambridge Street to list shops for the incoming Shoppes at Simonds Park project being built on the former Building 19 1/2 site.

Attorney Mark Vaughan of Riemer & Braunstein and Stephen Duffy of Duffy Properties, the Waltham-based development company that owns the property, were at the meeting to argue for the sign.

Vaughan said that part of the project includes two retail buildings, one along Cambridge Street and another at the back-end of the property. Because the stores in the back will be difficult to see from the road the property owners were seeking permission for a standalone sign that would list the businesses. He said that after a lot of analysis designers concluded the best location would be right over the property line near Cambridge Street and Center Street.

“That would be the optimal location,” he said.

He said that under the town’s General Bylaws the Board of Selectmen does have the ability to approve signage in a public way or on public property.

In the lead-up to the meeting Vaughan and Duffy had worked closely with board Vice-Chair Joseph Morandi and Selectman Michael Runyan on the details of the proposal. Both said those talks had been fruitful.

“We had some good conversation with a lot of give and take,” Runyan said. “I focused on the dimensions of sign and Joe focused on building materials and the lighting. Between us we have come to what I believe is a meeting of the minds. I’d suggest the board to support the request.”

The result of those talks was the proposed sign in front of the board on Monday. It would be a roughly 14-foot high structure done in a style similar to the buildings so it blends with the project. It will be lit by lights at the base and there are ongoing discussions concerning small lights at the top though Morandi and Runyan said they want to discuss those further with Duffy Properties.

Members of the board were receptive to the proposal. Selectman Jim Tigges, who is also a member of the Burlington Police Department, said he thought having a sign would help with traffic safety.

“If there is no sign it is hard to know what is in there without turning your head, which is not safe while driving,” he said.

Runyan added that the property in question would not be a loss for the town.

“It’s kind of an orphaned piece of town-owned property that we have no use for whatsoever,” he said.

In the end the board voted unanimously to allow the sign to be put on the town’s property on the condition that the details about the lighting be worked out with Runyan and Morandi.

Photo: Digital rendering of the proposed sign (courtesy Duffy Properties).


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