SLCA Q&A re Patriot Partners

 

Revision Date 2/28/04

 

ARTICLE 10 ZONING BYLAW, CRO and RO to CD

125, 131 and 141 SPRING STREET

To request the Town to amend the Code of the Town of Lexington, Zoning By-Law sections and the Zoning Map of the Town of Lexington, by changing the zoning district designation of the land described in a certain written metes and bounds description (Appendix 6) on file with the Planning Board, from the current CRO Regional Office District and RO One Family Dwelling District to a CD Planned Commercial District with certain specified uses (pursuant to the provisions of Town of Lexington Code §135-42), said property being commonly known and numbered as 125, 131 and 141 Spring Street (former Raytheon Corporate Headquarters) to allow construction of a new building(s) for office and laboratory uses and to act in any other manner relative thereto. (Submitted by PM Atlantic Lexington, LLC, the property owner)

 

DESCRIPTION: The proposed amendment would rezone the former Raytheon headquarters

property from the present CRO business and RO residential districts to a Planned Commercial

Development District. This would allow for approximately 271,600 square feet of new space to

be constructed on the 95.8 acre site, together with additional parking and a declaration of

conservation easements over portions of the site.

 

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SUMMARY OF REZONING (Data provided by Patriot Partners):

Total annual property tax revenues from our project when fully built out to be $1,680,975 compared to $743,250 today, an increase of $937,725. The completed project is expected to also generate $378,000 in annual personal property taxes for a total of $2,058,975 in annual taxes. Annual service costs are estimated at $473,700 for a net annual revenue of $1,585,275. This is estimated to add as much as $10 million in increased local bonding capacity.

·         Stay within 0.15 FAR requirement

·         Focus on less intense, laboratory use – We have a signed lease for 125 Spring St to convert it to lab. We have a signed letter of intent with a 23,000 sf lab user for a portion of the lab building at 131 Spring St.

·         Provide public access to pond and open space at rear of site In exchange for the rezoning of the six acres of residential land on Shade Street we will create “restricted open space” which will prevent any building in the zone. We also intend to provide public access to this land, subject to security concerns of any potential future tenant.  This caveat was a concern in case we ended up with a large security-conscious tenant, such as Raytheon. Since we are already committed to a multi-tenant scheme, this possibility now seems remote.

·         Help fund off-site traffic improvements We have submitted a traffic study with our Preliminary Site Development and Use Plan which commits us to continue to fund police officer traffic control at Spring St and Hayden Ave, when warranted. We also commit to contribute $100,000 for the design and construction of improvements to the intersection of Spring St. and Marrett Road.  It also includes a Traffic and Transportation Demand Management Plan which calls for numerous traffic mitigation measures including continued financial support for LexPress and continued membership in the 128 Business Council. We have proposed measurable traffic targets, which if not met, would require us to provide a direct shuttle bus between our site and the Alewife MBTA Station. In fact, when we are more fully-leased, we expect to provide this shuttle as a convenience to our tenants, whether or not we are required to do so.

 

Planned Development Request

·         Re-zone residential land to PD (Planned Commercial District), which under our plan would be essentially CRO with the following changes:

·         Allow approximately 9’ increase in height restriction for one of the new buildings

·         Permit 50% coverage for roof top mechanical equipment

·         Permit bio-tech manufacturing in compliance with Federal, State and local laws, regulations and ordinances governing air pollution, water pollution control, noise and illumination.



 

Questions:

Question 1:

What benefits would approval of this rezoning bring to the town?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

-          Increased tax dollars (see above).

-          Corresponding increased bonding capacity (see above).

-          Removing land along Shade Street from the possibility of multi-family development.

-          Probable public access to open space and pond.

-          Complies with .15 FAR.

-          Focus on lab users means fewer vehicles than office use.

 

Question 2:     

What are the impacts of this development?

Answer:

There will be increased traffic from the site of between 192 and 346 vehicle trips in peak hour, and between 1,204 and 2,308 total daily trips from the site to Spring Street. Many of these trips will be to and from Rt. 2. See Patriot Partners’ traffic study for details.

 

Question 3:

Would rezoning result in a greater traffic impact than the development allowed without rezoning?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

The amount of proposed development is the same with or without the rezoning, with the exception of the proposed change to the 6 residential acres. However, since we do not know to what use these might be put, i.e. 40(b) multi-family, the impact might be the same.

 

Question 4:     

If rezoning is approved, can Patriot Partners change their design at a later date?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

 “We intend to proceed with the plan as we have designed it. However, we need to be responsive to the market and have therefore outlined “development envelopes” within the site, where we could locate buildings. This mechanism gives us the flexibility to accommodate a user with a different design need. However, we would not exceed the .15 FAR requirement.”

 

Question 5:

If so, how would these allowed changes compare to those allowed without rezoning?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

Without the rezoning we could make any changes allowed under the current zoning, subject to site plan review. Answer based on a summary of CRO zoning in the Code of Lexington: The current zoning of CRO would allow most office or R&D uses with the exception of retail and manufacturing. CRO does allow limited manufacturing to support R&D.

 

Question 6:

What is likely to happen if the rezoning is not approved?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

If the re-zoning is not approved, we would be unable to count the existing residential land towards our Floor Area Ratio, and therefore, would build approximately 40,000 sf less for a net increase of 237,000 sf which would still remain within the 0.15 FAR. Since we are not residential developers we would likely sell the 6 acres to the highest bidder. Since lab users require more roof-top equipment, we would seek special permits to increase the roof-top percentage from 25% to 50% as is allowed by law. The 9 foot height increase is primarily aesthetic. Without it we would have building entrances at different grades, but its absence wouldn’t impact the amount of development. We are seeking to allow biotechnology manufacturing on the site, consistent with the Commonwealth’s stated desire to encourage such facilities as beneficial to the economic health of the state and local community. In fact, none of the 30 plus potential users we have spoken with intended to manufacture at our site.

 

Question 7:

Will the proposed bio-tech activities present a biohazard to the town?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

No, these activities will not pose a hazard to the Town. Work will be performed within facilities built for this use. The fermentation processes involved in biomanufacturing are similar to those used in the fermentation of beer. The difference is that the final product is a therapeutic, rather than an alcoholic beverage. Recombinant DNA activities at the site will be approved by the Lexington Board of Health under the Town’s existing permit procedure. Activities are performed according to the Federal NIH Guidelines. Waste removal is subject to the Massachusetts Department of Public Health State Sanitary Code and Massachusetts Solid Waste regulations.  Over the past twenty-five years, a history of safe use has been experienced in communities much like ours.

 

Question 8:

What prevents Patriot Partners from allowing hazardous activities such as bio-weapons?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

No research, development, or biomanufacturing activity that requires Level 4 Containment under the NIH Guidelines will be contemplated for the site. The same Board of Health regulations that currently permit recombinant DNA work in laboratories will also serve to control this work. We will work with the Town to assure that a competent Lexington Biosafety Committee is available to work with the Board of Health.

 

Question 9:

Has a traffic study been done and what effects on the town are expected due to additional traffic?

Answer from Patriot Partners:

We have agreed to:

-          Maintain police officer traffic control at the intersection of Spring Street, Hayden Avenue, and the Lexington Technology Park entrance during peak periods if and when volumes meet the Peak Hour Signal Warrant criteria

-          Contribute $100,000 towards the design and construction of improvements to the intersection of Spring Street, Marrett Road and Bridge Street

-          Contribute $10,000 per year to Lexpress

-          Participate in the 128 Business Council

-          Undertake numerous other measures, the results of which would be monitored and held to performance standards, which if not met, would cause us to increase our contribution to Lexpress and/or to run our own shuttle bus.

 

 

We welcome your comments and corrections.