March 24 2016

Site Plans Approved as Developer Looking to Change From Hertz to Coffee Shop or Restaurant

By: Rich Hosford

Proposed changes to a well-known Middlesex Turnpike site are a big step closer to being realized. 


The Planning Board approved site plans for the Hertz property at 68 Middlesex Turnpike along with plans for two adjacent sites at 128 Wheeler Road and 64A Middlesex Turnpike. The site plans are a part of move by Gutierrez, the developer that owns the parcels, to remove the Hertz business and lease the site to a coffee shop or other type of restaurant. A special permit pursuant to a “fast order food establishment” was continued until the developer comes back with a specific tenant to propose. 


In September of last year Town Meeting voted to allow Gutierrez to change the zoning of the site from General Industrial to General Business, allowing more service type businesses to be placed there. Hertz is currently still operating at the location but its lease is up this year. 


The hearings on the permit and site plans were a continuation of the board’s previous meeting. Since that time the proposed plans had been slightly changed to reflect items brought up from board members. 


Scott Weiss of Gutierrez said they had worked in the intervening weeks to address all concerns. One thing they did was to widen the drive aisles in the parking lot to make it easier for fire department apparatus to maneuver around the site. They also increased pedestrian safety by adding protective bollards to prevent vehicles from accidentally driving onto the sidewalks or into the building. 


Other changes included increasing landscaping on the southern side of the property. 


The Planning Board voted unanimously to approve the site plans. 


The proponents of the project did ask that the special permit be granted, citing the fact that whoever it is will not have more than 51 seats. Members of the Planning Board, however, said they would like to know which restaurant was being proposed before voting. They said there is a big difference between a small coffee shop and a Dunkin Donuts or a Starbucks, though they added that once a tenant was found the special permit process should be very quick.  

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