Planning Board next to review proposal as concerns about size, unit mix persist
Hull’s Design Review Board last week initiated it review of the architectural plans for The Dunes, a proposed mixed-use development slated for a prominent site at the entrance to the town, and that first look generated concerns about height, the mix of unit sizes, and other issues.
The most recent proposal calls for a five-story, 116-residential unit development at 197 Nantasket Ave., adjacent to the Paragon Boardwalk. The northern edge of the development would be near the state Department of Conservation and Recreation’s comfort station.
The DRB was established to review the quality of design related to construction, site development, landscaping, and signs for new or significantly altered buildings other than single- or two-family homes. The town’s Planning Board will continue its review of the proposal on Sept. 22.
The plans for The Dunes, presented at the DRB’s Aug. 5 meeting by Monte French, a new architect for the project, call for the demolition of La Dalat Restaurant and adjacent structures and replacing them with a two-story building with a restaurant on the second floor and an arcade on the first floor.
“The DRB was not able to confirm the amount and location of currently proposed parking to support the project,” board member Julia Parker told The Hull Times in response to an email inquiry. “The architect said an updated site plan is expected to be developed based upon comments on the building design and prior input from the Conservation Commission.”
During the DRB’s meeting, members raised concerns about the proposed 48-foot height of the structure, a lack of diversity of unit types (96 studio or one-bedroom apartments and 16 two-bedroom units) and “the largely blank walls on the ground level due to the placement of parking below the building,” Parker said.
The asked that the architect look at an H-shaped floor plan as an option so as to break up the massing along Nantasket Avenue, increase commercial/retail space along that stretch, and develop changes to address the scale difference between the nearby DCR properties and the proposed development.
“The architectural team clarified that there were no plans to erect a hotel – a question that came up due to the labeling of the drawings and a building shown in a rendering,” Parker said.
The board expects to hold a follow-up meeting with The Dunes applicant and its team to review the design in greater detail.