Hadley board flags issues with garden supply business

HADLEY — Several ongoing issues with improvements at the site of a Route 9 business, including installation of new signs and equipment blocking a fire lane, need to be addressed before the property is considered in compliance with town zoning, according to members of the Planning Board.

At the board’s meeting Tuesday, planners informed representatives from Gardener’s Supply Co. at 285 Russell St., and a consultant from Berkshire Design Group of Northampton, that conversations need to happen with the Fire Department and Department of Public Works after a stop-work order was issued by Building Commissioner Tom Quinlan.

“We can’t make a decision without them,” Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said.

Quinlan told the Planning Board that advertising, including graphics and company logos, on a new free-standing point-of-sale building, a ramp interfering with a 20-foot fire department clearance and the lack of tie-down straps for the electricity to the building were issues he identified in issuing the stop-work order.

The discussion comes after the Planning Board last October waived site plan review for both parking changes and other exterior alterations at the former Hadley Garden Center, though made a condition that Fire Chief Michael Spanknebel approve the plans presented by Jeff Squire of Berkshire Design Group. Those plans showed new gates and fences around the perimeter, new parking spaces and new light fixtures.

Now, Dwyer said the main concern for the board is that an already “oversigned” site has more signs.

“You’re entitled to a sign on the main building, but when you start putting up more you’re busting through the limits,” Dwyer said.

The signs on the new building are problematic.

“It’s almost a billboard,” Dwyer said. “It’s additional signage beyond what you already have on the building.”

Planning Board Chairman James Maksimoski, too, said the company appears to be exceeding allowable signs. “That’s the problem,” Maksimoski said.

Planners, too, are worried about the new gates and fences and that parking spaces that were to be left clear are instead filled with product. “There is no fire lane in front of the building any more,” Dwyer said, adding that product may also be stacked on top of the sewer easement for the DPW.

Pat Piersall, retail manager for the store, said the ramp would be fixed so it doesn’t interfere with town fire trucks. Other issues are to be examined by Squire.

Chase Bank coming

In other business, the board began a hearing to review the site plans for the new 3,000-square-foot Chase Bank building to be constructed at 375 Russell St., a vacant parcel at Hampshire Mall west of the Trader Joe’s store. There are also requests for a special permit, permission for a business use in the aquifer protection zone and use of the transfer of development rights bylaw.

Josh Kline, a representative from Stonefield Engineering & Design, said making a payment for the transfer of development rights, going into an account for protecting farmland, is necessary because the bank building will exceed the maximum lot coverage.

Before Kline returns on July 18 for the continued hearing, a peer review of the project by another engineering company will take place.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at [email protected].

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