A Peek at South Pleasant Street's Future
Planning Board likes the approach, so far, on what the street could become.
A presentation of how South Pleasant Street could look in the future was upended by a technological SNAFU that severely limited architect Luis Cetrangolo’s demonstration to the Belmont Planning Board on Tuesday, Oct. 11.
Cetrangolo was hired by the board to create a virtual view of commercial buildings along the byway using variables such as land coverage and building density to provide the board and residents – especially Town Meeting members who will need to approve zoning changes – a picture of how the area should be zoned for development.
But Cetrangolo's presentation was limited to his personal laptop computer as he could not use the town’s projector. Belmont’s IT department has instituted a policy that no outside equipment – such as computers or memory sticks – can be used without first having been registered with the department for security purposes and to prevent viruses from migrating into the town's system.
Belmont Patch obtained the images from Cetrangolo and can be viewed in a pdf file on this web page.
Despite the failure, the Planning Board reiterated several times that they like Cetrangolo’s approach and assured him the technological details will be worked out for the next meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 25 in Town Hall.
At that time, Centrangolo’s work will be projected on a big screen where he will have an interactive presentation in which building size and massing will change as different variables are introduced.
Showing images on his laptop – which members of the public and the board said they found insufficient for useful evaluation – Cetrangolo was still able to explain how using lot coverage, floor-area-ratio (the amount of rentable space within a certain lot) and height were used to create the images.
Initial images show the current building configuration of low, one-story buildings and another with eight proposed buildings, two of them four-and-a-half stories high with three-and-a-half story wings, viewed from serveral locations around town.
In his calculations, the development would have nearly 400,000 square feet of rentable space as opposed to the 290,000 square feet now avaliable.
The visuals Belmont Patch obtained today will be changing after the Board asked Cetrangolo to create projections of the corridor with building heights limited to three-and-a-half stories to see if that criterion would allow for an adequate space to spark developers interest.
“As long as you get an adequate amount of square footage, I think four stories is the maximum that will be tolerated by this community,” said the Planning Board's Andy Rojas.
“If we look at this the right way, we’re trying to find what we can live with (insofar as height and lot size) and what that does to the floor area ratio,” said Rojas.
In addition to changing the number of stories, the board said members need to address if there will be underground or above-ground parking.
“We’re in the infantile stages of this,” Planning Board member Joe DeStefano said in reference to looking into zoning changes for the South Pleasant Street corridor.
“We need to look at everything,” he said.