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Proposed Waltham Chipotle Draws Scrutiny

City councilors plan to continue public hearing next month.

Several city councilors expressed concerns last night at a proposal to open a location at the former Main Street Ford site.

Their concerns, expressed during a Tuesday, May 29 public hearing at City Hall, centered on recent reports of Chipotle being investigated for its hiring practices as well as the developer not yet submitting a traffic plan for the site. Ultimately, councilors plan to continue the public hearing at its next meeting on June 11. 

Last night’s hearing was held to review Chipotle’s request to operate a fast-food establishment, in accordance with city ordinances. In November of 2011,

Waltham Ventures LLC is planning to open a Chipotle at what was formerly known as 1006/1022 Main St., but has been rebranded known as 1030 Main St, according to attorney Joseph Connors, who represents Waltham Ventures. The store would have 41 seats, and eight seats on a seasonal patio, according to Keith Bettencourt, of KB Architects, which is designing the Chipotle location. The store would span approximately 2,333 square feet, according to Bettencourt. 

Chipotle also plans to seek a full liquor license or a beer/wine license, but has not yet officially filed paperwork for it, according to Bettencourt. Bettencourt did not specify whether Chipotle would be seeking a new license that would possibly be issued throughout the city, or an existing license. 

The store’s hours would be 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. every day.

, a national hamburger chain, and , are also planning locations at the former Ford site, according to Connors.

CONCERNS 

  • In response to inquiries from City Councilor Gary Marchese, Bettencourt court said he would try to provide more information on how Chipotle would avoid illegal hiring practices for which they are currently under investigation.
  • City Council Edmund Tarallo, in an interview on Wednesday, May 30, said the developers have not yet submitted a traffic report detailing the impact Chipotle and the other tenants would have on the site.
  • Tarallo said the previously the developers had performed a traffic study prior to potential tenants being revealed, but that a new one was necessary to specifically examine the impact of Chipotle and others.
  • “This is a new case. We haven’t reviewed the traffic based on a fast food restaurant,” Tarallo said.
  • A new traffic report, Tarallo said, should have been submitted prior to last night’s hearing.
  • THe project's traffic enginner, Kevin Dandrade, said he is "comfortable" with the prior study and should be adequate for fast food uses. 
  • Also, councilors asked project officials to provide assurances that all potential tenants involved in the project have lease agreements with the property’s owner Waltham Ventures LLC. Councilors said that was necessary because the previous owner, under which prior project approvals were given, had sold the property to Waltham Ventures LLC.
  • The store will not be LEED certified, but will attempt to follow those principles, Bettencourt said in response to a question from City Councilor George Darcy. LEED is a set of buildings standards intended to make buildings more environmentally-friendly and sustainable, according to the U.S. Green Buildings Council.

SUPPORT

  • "I think it's going to bring a lot of new jobs," said Waltham resident Margaret Bailey, who said she plans to seek at a job at one of the site's future tenants. "I'm hoping it will go through."

OTHER FEATURES

  • Chipotle would also use locally-grown fod in their meals, accordoing to Bettencourt. He, however, acknowledged that does not necessairily mean they would use Waltham sources, but could use locations from surrounding communities.
Erin Lee Hire May 30, 2012 at 09:49 PM
Do we really need another Mexican restaurant in Waltham? We have enough.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 11:44 PM
You have a good point, but the fact that they want to put a branch here means they believe the market supports it.
Donna Hughes May 31, 2012 at 08:36 PM
I think we have too many Restaurants in the city all ready down town we need some like a nice Chinese Restaurant in the NORTH side......
Jane Oreilly June 01, 2012 at 03:05 AM
No Mexican restaurant, and if so, deny the liquor license.... causes too many problems....
Jen P June 03, 2012 at 02:18 PM
Ryan, you forgot my comments in the public hearing; all fast food pernit requests should be submitted together so that the complete impact can be evaluated.
Paul Manganelli June 05, 2012 at 09:05 PM
This is more of a fast food place. It has healthy choices and the business is environmentally friendly. Relax...

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