ZBA hearing on Deerfield Dollar General continued to October

  • The proposed site plan for a Dollar General store on Routes 5 and 10, which is not to scale, was discussed at the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals hearing last week. The hearing was continued to Oct. 8. CONTRIBUTED IMAGE

Staff Writer
Published: 9/14/2020 7:03:50 PM

DEERFIELD — After another lengthy discussion last week, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted again to continue to October the hearing on the proposed development of a Dollar General on Routes 5 and 10 near Mill Village Road.

“This is an important thing, and we should let it play itself out,” said ZBA member John Stobierski. “And we should keep digging in the trenches until we get the answers.”

The board continued the hearing to Oct. 8, at 6 p.m. In the meantime, the ZBA will send a list of questions or concerns to the applicant to be addressed at the next hearing.

Attorney Mark Donahue, speaking on behalf of the applicant, South Deerfield DG Series LLC, said it is clear that the subject of most concern to residents is that of traffic. The board, he said, raised questions about traffic and truck movement on and around the site, as well as the physical appearance of the building compared to the surrounding neighborhood.

Shaun Kelly, an associate at Vanasse & Associates with experience in traffic engineering, addressed questions raised at the last hearing about adding a crosswalk at the intersection with Routes 5 and 10.

“(The Massachusetts Department of Transportation) didn’t think this was an appropriate location for a crosswalk,” Kelly said. “It wasn’t something they would support.”

As for having more than one delivery truck on-site and having to maneuver in the parking lot with customers’ vehicles, he said most deliveries will be in smaller trucks. Large truck deliveries will typically only be on-site once per week.

“(Multiple truck deliveries) isn’t something we expect to happen frequently at all, but it can be accommodated,” Kelly said, presenting a document that provided sketches of delivery trucks on the property.

He emphasized again the changes that would be made to widen the shoulders for safer bicycle travel on Routes 5 and 10.

“This is not a condition that exists today,” he said.

Although the applicant did not submit 3-D imaging of the site plan, as was requested by the board, more 2-D images were provided for the sake of comparing the building to the surrounding area.

“I wanted to see how it fits in with the house on the other side,” said Stobierski, who made the initial request for 3-D imaging. “In this depiction, it’s kind of hard to see.”

A quick voice vote from the board, however, determined it was content with the images provided.

Public comment largely focused on traffic safety and whether a dollar store fit in with the character of the neighborhood.

“The applicant emphasizes the Route 5 corridor, and he’s really not interested in the least bit in the neighborhood or the town of Deerfield,” said Susan Haff, an abutter. “They don’t say what’s going to happen to the people who are going to look across the street from the structure.”

“People come here, people value this community for the local, quaint, unique businesses and for the landscape,” added Laurie Boosahda. “That is what I would like the board to consider and the board to protect.”

Other residents, including Jennifer Remillard, suggested the project would be better suited in another building — such as the vacant former Volvo dealership or the Douglas Auctioneers building.

One member of the public, however, spoke in favor of the development.

“I’ve been to every single one of the Planning Board meetings, and I know the info about this pretty well,” said former Planning Board member Henry “Kip” Komosa.

Komosa, who has lived on Routes 5 and 10 for 36 years, said there are a lot of people in town who are not wealthy and could benefit from a store like the Dollar General.

“And a lot of seniors,” he said. “I think over 40 percent of our community is getting elderly. They don’t want to drive a lot, especially at night. … It would be very convenient for the folks to get to.”

Komosa also wanted to give credit to the applicant for offering a building façade that would fit in with the farming community.

“I thought they did a pretty good job, for what it is,” Komosa said.

Mary Byrne can be reached at mbyrne@recorder.com or 413-930-4429. Twitter: @MaryEByrne


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