The yellow school bus parking lot on Cambridge Street has yet another controversial proposal being floated this week – withdrawing the contentious electronic billboard request at the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) on Tuesday, and now set to propose a 431-car parking lot instead.
The Owens family has owned the lot right next to the exit from I-93 for many years, and the lot contains a large metal building and had provided parking for yellow school buses over many years. Last year, the family proposed a large, double-sided electronic billboard for the lot, but that was soundly rejected by the community in large numbers.
So, Tuesday it was withdrawn.
However, sources indicated that the school bus contract might have canceled, leaving the lot without a dedicated customer. That has apparently led to the application for a license to park 431 cars in an open-air lot. Currently, they only have permission to park 193 vehicles, meaning it would be an increase of 238 cars. Sources also said they now plan to park cars on the lot for office workers and commuters, as opposed to the bus parking.
The would accomplish the expansion by tearing down the metal building that is now on the site, and replacing it with more open-air surface parking spaces.
All of that will be hashed out in a meeting on Monday, Sept. 16, at the Schrafft’s Center Cafeteria, 529 Main St., at 6 p.m.
City officials said the Owens Family has said it would beautify the lot, providing new trees and landscaping to the site. The Owens family has owned the property for many years, but has largely been absent from the community in all those years. They also own substantial industrial property in Everett at the Owens Moving Industrial Center, where they are more active. Recently, however, CEO Ed Owens has been out and about at community events in Charlestown.
Attempts to contact Ed Owens, their attorney for the project and also a community representative recently brought on were not successful.