Harwich Port Mixed-use Project Modifications Approved

By: William F. Galvin

Topics: Harwich Port , Development


HARWICH — The planning board has approved modifications to the use and site plan special permits for Camelot, LLC's proposal to build a 12,400-square-foot mixed-use structure in the center of Harwich Port.

The project, which now calls for four rental units on the first floor, and four three-bedroom residential units on the second floor, has been in the planning process for more than a year. But it ran into a roadblock when the proponents sought to change the internal mix of the retail and residential units. The initial approval called for six retail spaces and a residential unit on the first floor and four residential units on the second floor.

The 28,008 square-foot lot contains parking easements with the abutting property owners to the east and west, and those agreements were negotiated and cited in the planning process when the original use and site plan special permits were approved by the board.

But when the modifications were sought to the project, and included a request for a 3,000 gallon per day septic disposal system to accommodate a 57-seat restaurant, it drew a challenge from the abutters holding the parking easements.

Abutters Richard and Bernadette Waystack raised concern about a restaurant's impact on parking there. “We have an agreement based on there not being a restaurant there,” Richard Waystack said in a health board public hearing seeking an approval on a septic system design that was double the size necessary to accommodate four retail and four residential units there.

But the board of health had no say in the parking issues. That battle had to be waged before the planning board when the modifications were being sought. A public hearing on the proposed modifications was continued a month ago after an agreement was not reached with the abutters over the restaurant issue.

The developers' attorney, James Stinson, told the planning board last week the disagreement between parties has been worked out. In their agreement, any changes in use that trigger a review of parking on the site will have to come back to the planning board. Sean Riley of Coastal Engineering, Inc., which designed the septic system,

told the board any and all references to a restaurant, including in the board of health application, have been removed.

The agreement was signed last week by the Waystacks and Camelot, LLC principals Paul and Diane Manning. The third party, Joe Dela Morte, owner of Cranberry Liquors, had not signed it before the meeting. But attorney William Crowell, representing the Waystacks and Dela Morte, said the Cranberry Liquors owner would be signing it the next day. Stinson told the board the development agreement with the abutters will be referenced as part of the decision, but it will not be a condition of the decision.

Stinson also said the developers have committed to subsiding the cost of a parking monitor for that property over the summer. He said it 's a new experience and he is not sure what response there will be to having a monitor. A sign will clearly state “no beach parking” there. With the parking in this plan being located behind the new street-side building, the attorney also said it will not be as “roadside inviting.”

The planning board approved a waiver from the Commercial Village Overlay District to allow for the roof line to be 32 feet where the limit is 30 feet. Planning board member David Harris questioned the “eyebrow windows” along the roof line, suggesting dormers would be far more acceptable there. There were also modifications to curbing and concrete sidewalks.

The planning board unanimously approved the modifications proposed for the use and site plan special permits, paving the way for construction expected to begin there this fall.