Cheshire Planning Board
Hearing: May 23, 2016 7PM/May Meeting
Cheshire Community Center
Attending: Daniel Speth, Francis Griswold, Shannon Plumb, Peter Traub and Ron DeAngelis
Alternate: Donna DeFino
Dollar General: Andrew Comollo from Lisciotti Development and the presenter, Austin Turner
Dan introduced the Planning Board Members to the audience.
Austin Turner showed the audience a site plot plan and a plan for a Dollar General store on Route 8 in Cheshire, MA.
- He noted that it was in a business zone and it would be sub divided from a 12 acre lot. It would have thirty (30) parking spaces and he believed the plan complied with the requirements of the Cheshire Bylaws. The company is mindful of the area, its access right and left and they have applied to the State regarding exits and entrance areas and have received back minor comments. He noted that the Cheshire Board of Health has approved the septic system.
- The State standards have been met for a one hundred year (100) storm event. They will be providing buffing and landscaping on the West side and front and it will not deter from viewing traffic and is considered safe from both directions.
- The lighting will be facing down and forward.
- Store Hours: 8am to 10pm seven (7) days per week. Delivery hours will be Mondays before the store opens.
Planning Board Requirements:
3. Related to signage - allow light/visible at night.
The exterior will be a hardy plank, durable low maintenance material. He felt the sign would not be intrusive to the area. The yellow letters will match the building. It will be free standing and a fifty (50) foot square. The height will be twenty (20) feet high.
- Questioned the availability of using a ground sign similar to the Adams, MA Dollar General.
The soil in Cheshire is very hard to work with as it is a clay soil. He would have to speak to the structural engineers as there is not a lot of room. Dollar General Hearing
- Requested that stakes be placed where the sign would be so the Board could view the exact area.
- If the sign was moved back that could possibly eliminate one (1) parking space. They would still want a sign twenty (20) feet high. He hoped the Board could determine an approval tonight with a condition so both parties could work together and agree on something.
- In researching the internet Fran Griswold found several Dollar General stores that showed windows and an exterior more suitable for a small New England town culture similar to Cheshire. He felt that would be more suitable to the area and the requests from the majority of the audience.
- Noted that Sheffield, MA was a very controversial project. When riding through the town recently, he noticed that the building had false windows and a peak roof. He wondered if they could cost compare the Sheffield site and Cheshire project to make similar changes.
- He felt the soil played a big part in the design and the Sheffield project had significant differences; but he would check with the company.
- Questioned what the lighting schedule would be. Answer: The light will automatically shut off one half hour after the last employee leaves.
- Did the company complete a traffic study and was it approved by the State?
- They had the Institute of Transportation anticipate the morning and evening trips and it was provided as part of their application to the DOT. The DOT said, "They were good to go."
E. Richard Scholz:
- Questioned if the engineers understood the impact on the traffic already happening in that area of
Route 8 in Cheshire? He felt the traffic study, ideally should be from the Shell station and there should be a center turn lane. Mr. Scholz requested to see the formal document for a peer review. He felt the company was not sensitive to the town and felt Dollar General was not good for the town. There have been many accidents and close accidents - people need to slow down.
- Noted that Delmolino's has at least thirty (30) trucks a day entering and exiting Route 8. It is a business zone.
Dollar General Hearing
Robert Katz, 120 North State Road:
- Felt the Dollar General Store was an embarrassment to the Town of Cheshire especially where there are historic homes that are being maintained for the history of Cheshire. He recently purchased a home in the area and felt it should be called, "General Dunkin".
- Reminded the audience that the Cheshire Planning Board is only looking at the land use. If they meet
the requirements they can get approved.
- Believes the town doesn't have to allow a garish building and lights. He felt the Planning Board had the ability to shut it down. He noted that the hourly wage was probably less than $10.00 and people don't want to be looking at the big yellow sign; it is meaningless.
E. Richard Scholz:
- Does not like the design.
- Make it look more colonial.
- This business will not make the Town of Cheshire better.
- Traffic danger if you try to cross Route 8.
- It is difficult to get on Route 8 now. The traffic is bad and dangerous now.
- Voiced that she cannot get out of her driveway now. She agreed on the historical value of the Town.
- Suggested using the old Chicken Restaurant on Route 8.
Selectmen Chairman, Paul F. Astorino
- Reported that traffic is lost as many drivers take the Lanesboro Road.
- People will know where the Dollar General store is; why can't you make the signs and design more suitable to match the Town. Mrs. Bator questioned if there would be another exit. Answer: There will be a primary and two (2) exits.
- It is possible to move the sign back away from the road, but it has to be visible.
- "Who said it was a good site?"
Dollar General Hearing
- Reminded the audience that it was a business zone, and the town could use the taxes. Nothing else in the area is colonial. He felt you can't tell residents what they can and cannot build. The Chicken Stop is falling down. He noted the dates built of other Butler Buildings in Town. Mr. Warner said he was a local farmer and it would not be a problem for the crop lands.
- Would a colonial facade be unreasonable?
Announced that there will be a Continuation Hearing on the 4th Monday of the month; June 27th at 7pm at the Community Center. He stated that the Cheshire Planning Board will review if the project has met the Cheshire Zoning Bylaws. Into consideration will be traffic safety, and the voice of the people.
- Feels the project meets the Special Permit requirements.
- He agreed to discuss with the owners the design.
- Will meet with their structural engineers to restructure the signage.
- Mr. Turner realized the audiences opinion about the ground free standing sign.
- Mr. Turner heard about remarks about windows and certain external changes desired.
- Made it very clear that the group wants the sign on the ground and not in the air.
- The Town wants a colonial type building.
- "Changes can happen." We will know when you come back in on June 27, 2016 if you understand the
desires of the townspeople in attendance.
Building Inspector, Gerry Garner:
- There are no design rules and regulations in place and remarked that the Town should think about being sued. There is 90 days from today to make the Decision. The traffic studies have been done - they know the traffic patterns and the DOT would not allow the project to go forward if there were an issue with traffic.
Daniel Speth made a motion to continue the Hearing to June 27th; 2nd by Francis Griswold with a unanimous vote taken.
Jaime A. Smith and Jeffrey J. Macel, Esq. from Lodestar Energy, 3 Ellsworth Place, Suite 122, Avon, CT 06001. Issue: Surety Bond. Project: Bushika/Route 8 Solar Array Project. The Cheshire Planning Board motioned (Daniel Speth) to give Town Counsel's information to Mr. Smith and Mr. Macel for legal advice. 2nd by Peter Traub with a unanimous vote taken.
- All voted to have Daniel Speth remain as Chairman of the Cheshire Planning Board.
Dollar General Hearing/Meeting
- Donna asked Dan if he wanted to consider electing a vice chair, since he wasn’t sure he wanted to remain as chair due to the time etc. involved and since no one else wanted to be chair in his place.
Minutes approved for March 28, 2016. Motion to approve by Shannon Plumb; 2nd by Francis Griswold with a unanimous vote taken.
Minutes approved for April 25, 2016. Motion to approve by Shannon Plumb, 2nd by Francis Griswold with a unanimous vote taken.
- Should ask the Town to make zoning changes regarding designs.
- The Master Plan will make recommendations.
Shannon Plumb motioned to close the meeting; 2nd by Francis Griswold with a unanimous vote taken.
With all business finalized the meeting closed at 9:00pm.
Daniel L. Speth
Francis M. Griswold
Shannon C. Plumb
Peter H. Traub
Donna DeFino, Alternate Member
**Personnel issues should be expressed in an Executive Session. Minutes regarding a personnel issue have been completed and will be offered at the Monday, June 27, 2016 meeting. I will be following up on the Open Meeting rules and Executive Sessions.