Board paves way for used car dealer Nicky D’s in Easthampton to move its sales department to Northampton
NORTHAMPTON — Nicky D’s won a key approval Thursday that clears the way for the used car dealership to relocate its Easthampton showroom a few miles up Route 10 into the former Cahillane Dodge site in Northampton.
After a public hearing that stretched several hours over two meetings, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved the company’s request to change the commercial use of the 375 South St. site.
The approval allows owners Nicholas and Betty Duprey to operate a 7,500-square-foot showroom in one part of the 14,000-square-foot building and a professional office in another, said Carolyn Misch, senior land use planner. It prohibits using the space for car repairs. The site’s previous permit did not allow auto sales.
The Dupreys bought the former Cahillane dealership last May for $675,000 from Richard and Christopher Cahillane. Since then, Nicky D’s made site improvements to the parking lot, including planting trees, creating landscaped islands, constructing a sidewalk and building a third driveway to the site.
The board spent considerable time trying to decide what to do about the already-completed site work, some of which was not allowed in the previous permit. Members were especially concerned about construction of a third curb cut, Misch said.
The board eventually approved the driveway, but ruled that the Dupreys must shorten its width and plant trees and additional landscaping to prevent drivers from using the site as a cut-through. The board determined the additional curb cut is not a major detriment to the neighborhood, Misch said.
Nicky D’s, located at 164 Northampton St. for more than three decades,intends to relocate its sales division this spring. The move is necessary because of the pending replacement of a Route 10 bridge in downtown Easthampton. That project will close the highway for several months near the center of Easthampton, detouring through traffic around Nicky D’s and other businesses.
Betty Duprey told the Gazette in November that they intend the move to be temporary but will reevaluate that idea in a year. The business will continue to operate mechanical and auto body shops at its Easthampton location.
The Northampton site may also house a new micro brewery or other office tenant, though a specific tenant was not discussed at the ZBA meeting, Misch said. The Dupreys have been in talks with O’Brian Tomalin, who owns the Sierra Grille in Northampton, who is looking for a place to manufacture beer.