Planning board OKs expansion of business on East Webb Avenue

During its latest meeting on Monday, the city’s planning and zoning commission gave its unanimous nod to a  “limited use” request from the Burlington-based firm Bioclean Restoration.

A specialist in everything from water damage to odor removal, Bioclean has asked the city to rezone two lots at the intersection of Webb Avenue and Williamson Street that include the company’s headquarters at 1535 East Webb Avenue.

Chad Huffine, a civil engineer in Bioclean’s hire, told the city’s planning commission that his client’s request would impose the same, light-industrial designation across this whole 3.6-acre swath, which is presently zoned for a combination of light industrial, general business, and high-density residential development.

Huffine added that Bioclean has decided to seek a limited use form of light industrial zoning in order to circumscribe the potential activities that are otherwise permitted in this particular zone.

Bioclean’s application ultimately stipulates 16 potential uses for the two lots that are up for rezoning. These requested activities include everything from parking, storage, and sales to warehousing, light manufacturing, and metal “fabrication.” The list also includes some overlapping designations, such as a co-working space, a business incubator, and a “makerspace,” as it’s termed in the firm’s application.

This veritable smorgasbord of possible uses ultimately raised the eyebrows of the commission’s chairman Richard Parker.

“It’s quite a variety of different uses,” Parker told the applicant’s representative. “I don’t understand why there are so many uses requested here when we’re trying to limit the use.”

Huffine assured the commission that his client isn’t simply taking advantage of a popular new land use provision with its application for limited-use zoning.

“We took the limited use approach,” he told the commission, “because light industrial use has about double [the number of options stipulated in the request]…and each one of those limited uses fits in way a part of the applicant’s operation”

Huffine also informed the commission of Bioclean’s plans to retain a thick stand of trees so as to screen neighboring homes from this proposed light industrial activity.

“We have sent staff…a concept of what we would do,” he added, “and that would involve preserving an almost 40-foot buffer; the existing vegetation is very dense there, and that would remain.”

The commission proceeded to vote 7-to-0 to endorse this request to Burlington’s city council.