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Plans For Former Murray Sandler Site Advance

Zoning Board of Appeals grants relief, now on to Planning Board for further consideration

Belmont’s Robert Orfaly is one step closer to receiving the zoning relief he needs for developing a retail village at property at 58-60 and 70 Concord Ave.

On Monday, July 11, the unanimously voted to grant Orfaly special permits that will allow his development team to vary the town’s current bylaw for rear and east-side setbacks and a waiver for 11 parking spaces.

Moreover, the ZBA stipulated the applicant must provide landscaping that satisfies the Belmont ’s approval of using the town’s right-of-way and execute a maintenance agreement with Selectmen.

Members of the ZBA also decided that any employees at the retail village will not be able to park on the streets in the immediate neighborhood. Currently, the applicant is working on an agreement with Beth El Temple Center where employees will be allowed to park.

The next stop for the applicant will occur at the Planning Board meeting today, Tuesday, July 12 in Town Hall, when that board will consider its request at a joint public hearing with the ZBA on June 28, that the applicant have an enclosed dumpster, treatment of the rear façade of the building, curbing adjustments and working with neighbors on a suitable height for a fence in the rear of the property.

Both the Planning Board and the ZBA in a public hearing on June 6 – and again on June 28 to which it was continued – scrutinized the process for Orfaly’s proposed development.

Orfaly is proposing to transform the Concord Avenue property that most neighbors describe as an “eyesore” into a one-story "retail village" for between three and five commercial tenants.

In order to move forward, however, he must seek special permits from setback and number of parking space requirements as dictated by the town’s zoning bylaws.

On June 6, the two boards expressed concerns with the landscaping plans for the site as well as safety when cars enter, exit and maneuver around parking spaces within the proposed development.

The revised plan the team presented to the boards on June 28 was better received than the original but members of the ZBA and Planning Board had additional requests for improved parking and landscaping and asked for another revised plan to be sent to members of both in early July.

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