Brookwood Sylvan, LLC, owner of the industrial complex located at 75 Sylvan Street requests a Major Modification of a Previously Approved Site Plan for the creation of a new loading dock area to serve the industrial tenant space at the southerly end of Building A. The property is located in the Industrial-II Zoning District under the Danvers Zoning Bylaw, and has been the site of a large industrial facility for 70 years. The use of the property for industrial purposes is specifically allowed by right in the I-II Zoning District; providing loading dock facilities for the industrial uses within the building is not only customarily accessory, and a needed component of an industrial use, but providing adequate loading facilities are specifically required under Section 4 of the Zoning Bylaw.
The Applicant has submitted with this application package a Modified Site Plan Plan to provide a new loading dock to serve the needs of industrial tenant space in Building A. In accordance with Section 4.10.3 of the Zoning Bylaw, the proposed loading dock will provide off-street loading and unloading that will not encroach on or interfere with the public use of streets, or sidewalks, and will provide adequate space for unloading and loading of goods, materials, items or stock for delivery and shipping.
Currently the south end of Building A is not rentable due to its lack of a loading dock area to serve the needs of any industrial tenant. Owing to the configuration of the existing building, it is not possible to share loading facilities between the tenants of Building A, even if such sharing were allowed under the Bylaw. The Applicant has tried for over 3 years to fill the tenant space in this industrial complex and remains unable to do so due to the fact that an adequate loading area serving this industrial tenant space is not provided within the building. This quality industrial space of approximately 37,600 square feet remains vacant due to the lack of a loading dock to serve this industrial space.
Realizing the need for a loading dock, in March of 2018, the Applicant filed an application for Site Plan Modification relative to the installation of a loading dock. The Applicant received comments during the public hearing and met with residential abutters. The Applicant withdrew the Application to provide time to address comments and concerns that were heard.
The current Application submits a revised Site Plan Modification for the installation of a new loading dock area which the Applicant believes addresses to the greatest extent possible the comments received during the prior hearing. The new plan revises the geometry of the loading dock, and also provides physical buffering in the form of substantial landscaping and opaque fencing for both visual screening as well as sound attenuation. The Applicant proposes to install privacy slats into the existing chain link fence along the entire southerly lot line to provide an opaque screen; in addition 15 new arborvitae will be planted to fill in the existing vegetated buffer in front of the chain link fence.
The Applicant has worked with its site engineer and landscape contractor to provide significant new landscaping that will address and mitigate concerns regarding noise and lights. The Applicant proposes to install a new large landscape island that will shield the new loading dock. This landscaped island will be densely planted with 37 new trees and shrubs providing visual, as well as sound barrier. In total, 24 new trees and 108 shrubs and ornamental grasses will be added to the site.
There are no changes proposed to the stormwater management on the site as previously approved; all work proposed involves facade changes and installation of planting areas which will result in impervious surface in place of existing pavement. It should be noted as shown on the Zoning Table of the Site Plan, the required number of parking spaces under Section 4 of the Zoning Bylaw continue to be provided on-site.
In addition to the Site Plan Modification proposal, the Applicant will, and in some cases has already instituted the following operation modifications to address comments:
- Installed "Residential Area/No Honking Except for Danger" and "No Engine Idling" signs throughout the parking lot
- Informed the landscaping and trash vendors to perform work/pickups between the hours of 7:30 a.m. and 5:00 p.m.
- Relocated snow storage areas
- Established an open line of communication with the abutters
- Enacted the Rules and Regulations for new tenants to include among other things, a specific statement of the Zoning Bylaw delivery hours
- Worked with existing manufacturing tenants to modify their behavior. They have drastically changed their operations and implemented a light and sound management program. For example they have informed employees not to beep the horn to signal opening of the dock doors and to turn off headlights in the parking lot.
While snow removal activities are unavoidable and necessary after hours, the snow removal operator is very aware of the residential neighbors and attempts to reduce noise wherever possible.
The Applicant is making every attempt to address concerns and to be a good industrial neighbor while still serving the needs of its industrial business tenants; these are businesses that provide goods, services and employment as permitted in the Industrial II Zoning District. The Applicant is mindful of the new residential uses that have come after the industrial history of this site began and will continue to be a good neighbor. The Applicant believes the proposed renovations and operational modifications will not only address the proposed new loading dock but will also improve existing conditions by adding screening and green buffering to the site.