Plans to turn the Sullivan Tire store into a Volkswagen used car facility took a step forward Wednesday night when the Planning Board approved the special permit for the project.
Boston Volkswagen appeared for the second time in front of the Planning Board and made a few changes to the proposal. More landscaping will be planted in front of the building at 21 North Beacon Street.
“Shrubs, ground cover and grading will help mask the service door,” said Greg Sampson, the attorney for Boston Volkswagen. “We are working with the Tree Warden to replant a couple trees in front of the service door.”
The first time the project was presented members of the Planning Board and the public said they did not think the project fit in with the vision for making Watertown Square more attractive and inviting to shoppers and pedestrians.
The vision has been set out in the Watertown Comprehensive Plan, which has been written up has not been approved by the Town Council or Planning Board.
Resident Gary Shaw said he does not think this is the right project for the spot just off Watertown Square.
“This is where the rubber meets the road, for the town and its vision for the future,” Shaw said. “It is a small thing but it is a critical location.”
Planning Board Chairman John Hawes said that he does not think of the spot as being part of the main square.
“I would say the site is not right in the middle of Watertown Square. I think we should be focusing on Main Street and Mount Auburn Street and connections to Arsenal Street.”
Planning Board member Neal Corbett opposed the proposal, and voted against it.
“It is a right to extend a non-conforming use, but I think it is a missed opportunity,” Corbett said. “We are right on the verge of approving (the Comprehensive Plan) and this is right on the edge of Watertown Square. This is not the right use for the site.”
The Planning Board voted 3-1 to approve the special permit. The proposal will go to the Zoning Board of Appeals on Aug. 27. The ZBA must vote for the proposal for the project to get final approval.