Developer seeks parking alternative

WESTFIELD – A Main Street property owner will request approval from the Planning Board tonight for alternative parking associated with conversion of office space to a residential use.
FRP Holdings Westfield, LLC, has applied for conversion of existing commercial space on the second floor of the building at 24 Main St., to a residential use.
Six apartments will be created through that conversion. Zoning requires two parking spaces per unit, meaning that the conversion project, now underway, would require the developer to provide 12 spaces.
FRP, a real estate company controlled by Rocco Falcone, the owner of Rocky’s Ace Hardware Store at 44 Main Street, which is part of the Main Street parcel, is seeking a waiver from the Planning Board for the site plan requirement because the building is already existing.
FRP is proposing to address its parking requirement through shared parking for 10 of the required spaces at Rocky’s and through an in-lieu payment to the city for two of the spaces.
City ordinance code, (Article III, Section 3-100.5, Special Regulations for Multiple-family Dwellings, paragraph 3) does allow the Planning Board to approve a special permit requiring the payment of $2,500 per space to the city.
The City Council’s Legislative & Ordinance Committee is currently reviewing that ordinance to clarify which department would receive payment and how it can be used to address parking demand in the CORE district.
The City Council approved an amendment to the parking regulations last year, allowing shared parking (Article VIII, Section 7-10-7). The ordinance allows shared parking in the CORE, commercial, business districts and in residential districts, except for residential and multifamily uses. The shared parking has to be in the same zoning district as the primary use.
FRP, being represented by R. Levesque Associates, is also seeking a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals for the residential conversion project.
The ZBA typically accepts applications at its first meeting of the month, tomorrow, and conducts a public hearing at its second meeting, April 25.
The ZBA special permit would allow the conversion, while the Planning Board special permit would allow the developer to pay the city for two of the required parking spaces.

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