News update: Developer Requests to Withdraw Central Street Mixed-Use Proposal — At Least for Now


September 1, 2019 by Carol Britton Meyer

Respond Ventures, LLC has requested to withdraw without prejudice its mixed-use proposal for 25 and 33 Central St., which the Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals said in July was too big in size and scope for the surrounding neighborhood.

According to Director of Community Planning Mary Savage-Dunham, the boards will consider this request -- which means that the proposal, while on hold for now, could  be presented again for town review at a future date -- at a hearing on  Sept. 17.

Robert L. Shephard, on behalf of Respond Ventures, made the request in a letter addressed to Savage-Dunham and Senior Planner/Zoning Administrator Emily Wentworth but did not provide any further details.

Concerns expressed by the boards at the July hearing related to the design, potential traffic and other impacts, and the planned interior garage for both the residential and commercial uses (with separate parking areas) with tandem parking and a lift. Police Chief Glenn Olsson had concerns about the traffic flow. Neighbors expressed concerns about privacy, pedestrian safety, and other issues.

The current Respond Ventures  “state-of-the-art” proposal includes eight two-bedroom condos on the second and third floors, commercial space on the ground floor, balconies, a charging station for electric vehicles, optional private roof decks for the third-floor condos, an atrium with a skylight, bike racks, and a garage within the ground level of the building to provide parking for both uses. The two-bedroom, 2-1/2-bathroom units would range from 1,372 to 2,200 square feet.

The development site is behind Hingham Community Center on the two lots now occupied by Krigsman Yoga and a private investigator. Both buildings would be leveled, for a combined 10,583-square-feet of space. Krigsman Yoga would have the option to continue to operate at this site.

In a brief written description of the work provided to the Historic Districts Commission, the developer anticipates that the residential condominium units would be "an attractive alternative to remaining in large single-family homes for empty-nester Hingham residents who wish to live in downtown Hingham in large, worry-free accommodations that are walkable to the shopping, civic, and other destinations that have been part of, and that they wish to continue to be part of, their community activities and involvement as Hingham residents."

At an earlier advisory design review hearing, the Historic Districts Commission agreed that the building is too large for the site and because of its size and design doesn't provide an appropriate transition from the single-family homes on Central Street to the downtown area. The building would not be located in an historic district, but the HDC weighed in to ensure the project fits in with the surrounding streetscape.

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