The Watertown Planning Board heard a proposal to allow prefabricated homes to be stored on Pleasant Street, across from Russo’s market, for about four months.
The proposal, presented by Scott Oran of Austin Street Partners last week, would be for 527 Pleasant St., an unused lot that had been part of the parking area for Raytheon.
Up to 25 modular homes built in Canada would be stored on the site until they are installed. Each home is 12 feet x 63 feet x 11 feet. The proposed timeline for the storage would be from September to December 2018.
The modular homes would be delivered by trucks during non-peak hours, Oran said, usually 4-8 trips between 1 and 3 p.m. The trucks would arrive and leave by coming down the section Pleasant Street west of the site, to and from Waltham — turning off of Seyon Street — with a police escort. This section of Pleasant Street about 1/3 of a mile long.
The original proposal called for allowing trucks to leave and head east down and Pleasant Street and turn onto Bridge Street, said Watertown Senior Planner Gideon Schreiber. However, Planning Department staff did not believe the trucks could make the turn onto Bridge Street, said Schreiber, who also noted that Bridge Street is already an area of traffic delays.
A temporary fence would be put up around the site, and two trees on the site would be protected. Temporary lighting would also be installed.
Planning Board member Jason Cohen wanted to be assured that the trucks could make the deliveries without tying up traffic in that area of Pleasant Street.
“You are confident 25 boxes can be stored at one time without taking trees and without stopping and parking in front of Russo’s, which we know is very pop place,” Cohen said. “And not put a big burden on Watertown Police?”
Oran said the escorts would be provided by the Massachusetts State Police.
Some of the other conditions would be to install a removable bollard at the emergency vehicle entrance on the rear of the site from Stanley Avenue, leave the site as they found it, plus improve the fence along the front of the site, Schreiber said. Also, the company would have to fix any damage to the sidewalk caused by the trucks and modulars.
The Planning Board voted unanimously to send the case to the Zoning Board of Appeals with the recommendation that the proposal be approved with the conditions. The ZBA meets on Aug. 29 in Town Hall.