Encore Employee Parking Plan in the Village gets First Airing at ConCom

The public will get its first real view of the Encore Boston Harbor plan to locate a 625-car employee parking lot on Air Force Road in the Village during a Conservation Commission meeting Thursday, Nov. 15.

Encore, operating the proposal under 68 Tremont Street, LLC, filed its Notice of Intent with the Everett Conservation Commission on Nov. 1, and will have the matter heard on Nov. 15 at the regular meeting.

While the ConCom is narrowly focused on issues such as drainage and stormwater, the matter is the first public airing of the proposal. As outlined in the ConCom filing, the proposal is to put a 625-car RiverGreen Parking Facility on Air Force Road next to the new Boston Freightliner building. The large parking lot would serve as an employee lot and would include a shuttle service and shelter. It would operate 24-hours per day and would also have a security element on site as well.

The plan did say it would be on a temporary basis for three years.

“The use of the site for parking as a principal use will be on a temporary basis during the planning and construction of the RiverGreen development (approximately three years),” read the filing.

There are no buildings proposed, but there would be a shelter constructed for those waiting on the shuttle. Already, one shelter has been constructed on the site, and a third would also be proposed by the new playground on RiverGreen Drive.

The filing indicates that the project would continue the redevelopment of a Brownfield (polluted) site that has failed to be developed on two separate occasions already. The filing said that Encore has already made significant steps in developing Freightliner and open space.

“The current project represents yet another significant step toward redevelopment of the former GE property,” read the filing. “When completed the parking facility will significantly improve the aesthetic qualities of the site and surrounding uses by incorporating landscape buffer areas and extensive landscape plantings.”

Other benefits cited would be activating the area, stabilizing open soil areas and mitigate the soils for future development.

“The project as proposed will serve to prepare the site for permanent future development by performing excavation and construction below the clean soil cap where required,” read the filing. “The fill will also serve to further isolate and cap the underlying contaminated soils, at which point the majority of the risks associated with working on the site will be mitigated for future use.”

The project will also include and extensive drainage and stormwater system for the lot.

Encore officials said last month the area had been targeted for relocating industrial businesses from Lower Broadway. However, only Freightliner took advantage of that program, leaving about 7 acres left for development. While Encore could sell the land to an industrial developer – of which there are many – the company and Mayor Carlo DeMaria put together a plan to keep the parking in Everett and preserve the site for a better use – such as a hotel or residential development.

City officials have been mum on the proposal so far, and environmental groups have not made any public statements as of yet.

Meanwhile, many neighbors and Councilor Michael McLaughlin have voiced concerns about how so many cars would move in and out of Air Force Road and Santilli Circle around the clock without destroying their quality of life.

McLaughlin said this week that he is reserving judgment on the plan for after the presentations.

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