Planning Board votes on part of Main Street project modification

Jun 27, 2022

Danny Warren and the engineering firm working on his 59 Main St. project presented changes to that plan on Monday night to the Planning Board, which voted on a few items as Warren warned of an imminent deadline.

Bill Madden of GAF Engineering described some proposed changes to the original project, which has been long looked forward to by nearby residents as a future anchor of downtown Wareham.

Warren’s original project — a pavilion, restaurant, ice-cream stand and marina along the downtown waterfront — has run into several roadblocks over the past months. He’s faced rising costs that have significantly added to his project’s price tag, deadline concerns and challenges fitting the project’s design within local zoning parameters.

On Monday night, Madden presented a list of proposed changes to the board, ranging from smaller changes like added notes on the site plan and relocated grease traps to bigger modifications, like swapping what was originally a 1,200 square foot building with a modified Conex Box storage-like container building.

The changes that the Planning Board ended up voting to consider as minor modifications include the addition of a balcony to the planned restaurant and revised drainage plan details.

Board members discussed separating the proposed changes of Warren’s project after the Wareham native made it clear he didn’t have time to wait for one of his asks for the town.

“If it has to go back to a public hearing,” Warren said, “I will, with absolute and total respect to everyone in this room, withdraw the project tonight completely and put the property up for sale immediately.”

Warren said building costs have risen considerably since the project began. One building on the property went from $600,000 to more than $1 million, he said.

And as of Monday, Warren had just four days left to clinch a deal with his builder before being reset in a queue that he said would set him back 15 to 20 weeks.

Some board members expressed their discomfort with being pushed into a time crunch, which has happened before with Warren’s project.

After Warren, Madden, board members and the board’s engineering consultant talked at length about how to resolve the issue, it was decided that the board could hold off on voting on some of the proposed revisions to Warren’s project in favor of giving him the go-ahead on the building he was most immediately concerned with.

The board voted 5-1-0 that several of Warren’s proposed changes were minor on the condition he meets zoning requirements, meaning no public hearing will be held on those proposed modifications. The board has yet to rule on other items discussed at the meeting, which Warren can bring to the board at a future meeting.