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Board 'Generally Pleased' with Finnerty's Plan Revisions, Resident Concerns Linger

Developers for the 150 Main Street project presented their revised plans to the Design Review Advisory Board Wednesday night.

Design Review Advisory Board Chairman Bill Sterling said developers of the Finnerty's property in Cochituate have made "substantial" changes to the original plans and the DRB is "generally pleased" with the results.

Developers Matthew Levy and Jesse Adelman met with the DRB Wednesday night to discuss multiple changes they've made to their plans to redevelop 150 Main Street into a site featuring two buildings, one a CVS and the other a multi-use building that will include a restaurant and office space.

The revisions include doing away with a drivethrough at CVS in exchange for a larger building (up to 11,900 square feet from 10,900); moving the Main Street curbcut into the commercial district (closer to the instersection); keeping the iconic birch tree at the corner of Main and West Plain streets; and reducing the overall scale of the buildings.

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“We’re very pleased with the design and where it’s come," Levy told Patch. "We think that overall the design has benefitted from this design review process. We feel like it’s a better product than when it first came there.”

Sterling agreed, adding that he felt the design review process had worked the way it was intended.

“It has gone very well," Sterling said. "Our charge was to be advisory and to assist developers to work with the town. And I think it’s done that. [The developers] became very responsive. They listened to us. In terms of the size of the masses that come at you – all the building elements are now in the size and scale of a residential building."

The revised plans did not, however, alleviate all the concerns some residents have expressed. Gil Wolin said the look of the buildings really isn't the chief problem.

"We’re not against development of the Finnerty’s site," Wolin told Patch after the meeting. “The concern isn’t what the building looks like. You’re doing a great job of making it look like a large box belongs in this neighborhood. But that’s not the concern so much as what it’s going to do to the neighborhood in terms of car traffic.”

Wolin said that during the meeting's public comment session, he told the group of about 30 residents that the revisions were the equivalent of "putting lipstick on a pig."

Wolin said he understood that the DRB deals specifically with the look of the development and some of the concerns residents continue to have are more under the purview of the Planning Board.

“It doesn’t belong," Wolin said. "Something that derives that kind of traffic … doesn’t belong at that corner. We understand that the design board has no say in it."

The DRB does still have a few questions, however, and did not vote Wednesday whether to recommend the project to the Planning Board. Sterling said the board is seeking some additional details regarding the color scheme of the buildings and the signage. Sterling explained that the board could vote to recommend the overall project once the colors are determined. He said signage is very often handled separately.

The next meeting about the Finnerty's project is scheduled to take place Monday, Dec. 17, when the results of a recent traffic study will be discussed among the Planning Board, Board of Public Works and the developers.

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