GROTON -- The Planning Board approved a request by developer Robert France for a modification to the special permit previously awarded to him for construction of a mixed-use development called Boynton Meadows.

The modification allows France to go ahead with plans to build a 100-seat restaurant proposed for new space in the basement of an existing building at the Main Street site.

According to the special permit previously awarded to France, Boynton Meadows is to include three affordable-housing units among 18 planned as well as some commercial establishments.

Those businesses would be in an existing building that needed to be renovated. When completed, it is expected to host a number of businesses that have already been lined up including Bliss Bakery, Buddha Nest Yoga, an optometrist, and a dentist's office.

But as France informed board members at a meeting held in February, alterations in construction of the building made it possible to expand the square footage of the basement-level commercial space so that an area that had been reserved for a 26-seat restaurant could now accommodate 105.

To that end, the developer asked the board for a change in his special permit covering the number of parking spaces needed to make the restaurant compliant with the town's zoning bylaws.


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To do it, France proposed the extra spaces would be made up by sharing spaces with other businesses in the building, satellite parking offered by nearby Lawrence Academy, and valet parking in which customers' vehicles would be driven to a distant location and retrieved later.

A total of 49 new parking spaces would be needed to accommodate the restaurant.

With a report by its consulting engineer that confirmed "adequate capacity" was available along Main Street for excess parking, the board calculated that with 20 extra spaces on site, 34 shared, and five credited on street spaces, a total of 59 additional spaces were accounted for.

Also included in the modified conditions was approval for a 105-seat restaurant.

With that, the board voted to approve the modification.

France plans to close with a number of tenants for the existing building and said he expected them to move in over the new few weeks.

Work on the restaurant space still needs to be completed, with France predicting occupation of the space to occur by this fall.