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Planned Waltham Burrito Restaurant Raises Parking Concerns

Boloco is planning to open a burrito store at 475 Winter St. in Waltham.

The plan to propose drew some concerns over parking from Waltham City Councilors during a Monday, Aug. 6 public hearing at

Boloco, a Boston-based company whose named stands for "Boston Local Company," has proposed opening a new store at 475 Winter St. The company, during a public hearing with the Waltham City Council on Monday, requested a special permit to operate a fast food permit. 

“They are very excited to be coming into the Waltham community,” said Boloco's attorney, Joseph M. Connors.

STORE SPECIFICATIONS

  • The store would be located at 475 Winter St. in the sites of the former Wine Cellar and Copy Cop, according to Boloco's attorney Joseph M. Connors Jr. The store would span 2,263 square feet in the 39,000 square foot building that overlooks the Winter Street bridge, Connors said.
  • The store would seat 60 people and serve food to go, according to Connors. It would operate seven days per week from 7 a.m. - 10 p.m
  • The site would not feature a bike rack, or delivery serivce, according to Boloco CEO John Pepper, who attended the public hearing. 

COUNCILOR'S CONCERNS/THOUGHTS

  • City Councilor Thomas Curtin said he was worried about whether the site would have an adequate number of parking spaces. “I have a concern that we are excerbating a problem that sooner or later is going to be dangerous,” Curtin said. 
  • Currently, there are 184 parking spaces at the site, according to Connors, who added there would be no way to expand the current number of spaces. 
  • City Councilor Robert Logan suggested painting new stripes in the parking lot to allow for compact cars, thus more total parking.
  • The project's traffic engineer said he did not believe the project would further burder the area with additional traffic, but City Councilor Edmund Tarallo said that study was done before
  • City Councilor Joe Vizard supported the project saying it was the kind of business needed in that area and hoped Boloco would use local union workers to do any necessary renovations.

The matter was referred to the council's Ordinance & Rules Committee for further discussion at its Sept. 17 meeting. 

Bill Hanley August 07, 2012 at 12:25 PM
Dangerous parking problem?? There used to be a movie theater there! This is one project that should have been spared the now standard Waltham red tape. It's near 128, not in a neighborhood. It's a unique business to the area that serves healthy food and fills currently vacant, non-revenue generating space. The only question I would have liked to have heard answered is why they open at 7am to sell burritos.
Kristine Munroe August 07, 2012 at 12:56 PM
That parking lot is a nightmare right now. I've worked at a few companies in that area over the years, and more than once I've experienced trying to go to lunch at one of the restaurants there, only to find a totally full parking lot and having to go elsewhere.
Martha Creedon August 07, 2012 at 01:30 PM
Can someone who was there let me know what the statement about the bike rack meant? Is it considered a limitation or a feature? Thanks!
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 01:32 PM
Hi Martha, It's meant as a statement of fact. Pepper was asked whether the site would include one, he answered by saying no.
Kristen Walsh August 07, 2012 at 01:40 PM
Bill - they serve breakfast there.
Alice H August 07, 2012 at 05:27 PM
For heaven's sake, do our counselors really want new businesses to come to Waltham? It sure sounds like they obstruct the process.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) August 07, 2012 at 05:31 PM
Alice, Their review IS the process. Typically, anybody that is required to first get a permit from the City Council my file notice with them and then a hearing is held. During the hearing, the council reviews and discusses the proposal before sending it to a subcommittee. Then, that subcommittee further reviews the proposal before sending it back to the full council for final approval. This process often takes months.
Jason Bilsky August 07, 2012 at 05:48 PM
How long ago was a movie theater there? Not in the last 20 years... I also don't understand the "no way to expand the current number of spaces" comment- putting a line of cars from the exit off of the road to the plaza would probably double the space if they needed to.
Jen P August 07, 2012 at 06:50 PM
I can't see the bike rack being used much. That's a tricky location to bicycle. So many lanes of traffic to cross so close to the highway.
David Kehs August 07, 2012 at 08:05 PM
Jason - That whole driveway leading up to Winter Street is city property. The plaza owners can't just add parking there. And the land right next to the driveway is owned by the City of Cambridge, as part of the resevoir property. Don't even think of paving any of that. The owners and tenants of the plaza will just have to make do with the parking spaces that the have now. If the Boloco people think that they can make their restaurant work within those constraints, I'd say let them give it a try.
Jason Bilsky August 07, 2012 at 08:37 PM
It always bamboozles me when a development has land that belongs to someone else. I know it's not likely, but what if Someday, someone just decides that they don't want that road there anymore? Seems a bit shortsighted to own land that's inaccessible without going through someone else's land.
Robert G. Logan August 10, 2012 at 03:11 AM
Alice, The process requires a public hearing at which Councillor's ask questions and gather facts in order to make an informed decision. We try to work with applicants to find solutions to any problems that are identified. Sometimes applicants are unwilling or unable to address problems, and the permit must be denied. However, the vast majority of permits are approved. We are just doing our job, Robert G. Logan Councillor Ward 9

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