Planning Board Continues CRG Hearing
The Holliston Planning Board met Thursday February 4, 2021 to review several items of business. Board Chair, David Thorn called the meeting to order at 7:02pm following the guidelines for open meetings using remote participation.
The Board approved two subdivisions: Nickerson Farm and Chamberlain Pines and authorized the Agent, Joshua Santoro to sign off on the plans.
Other business involved adjusting the Board’s FY 22 proposed budget to reflect a change in hours for the Town Planner, Karen Sherman. The $1,700 increase was approved.
A Public Hearing for a new building to replace the existing Countryside Motors at 45 Washington St. submitted by Gill Realty Trust. The plans are shown below. At a prior meeting, the Board had asked for changes to the plan which were included below. The Board approved the plan and closed this Public Hearing.
A second Public Hearing was resumed regarding CRG Integrated Real Estate Solutions to build and operate an 800,000 sq. ft. warehouse at 555 Hopping Brook Road to store and distribute consumer goods. CRG describes itself on its website as “a leading real estate developer with a local presence with projects across North America.” About 130 interested parties joined the Zoom meeting to hear CRG’s presentation and share their points of view.
Mr. Frank Petkunas (below), Senior Vice President and Partner, who heads up the Northeast Region of CRG presented a series of slides outlining the plan as it currently stands. Some changes to the placement of the building on the property and changes in the traffic flow around the building were evident.
Mr. Petkunas was joined by representatives from three engineering firms hired by CRG to design the facility and measure traffic impacts. Below is CRG’s stated proposed use of the development. Repeatedly, Mr. Petkunas stressed the speculative nature of this project.
As this was the most recent in a series of Board meetings with this developer, resident feedback from previous meetings appeared to change the plan slightly. The adjustments are listed below.
Below is the illustration of the 30 ft. berm (darker green area) that will be built around threes sides of the facility.
Also, the building location on the property has been moved further away from the residences in Medway that abut the project. The blue lines indicate the proposed new location.
CRG hired Vanasse &Associates to conduct analyzes on the impact of this project on traffic in the area. The projected impacts are based on the assumption that this is classified as an Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE) code 150 – warehouse. Their findings are below. ADT = Average Daily Trips (all vehicles; trucks and cars)
Following the lengthy and detailed presentation, Mr. Thorn moderated citizen participation. About 25 residents (about ½ from Medway) shared their questions, concerns, frustrations, and perspectives. The main themes are summarized below:
Traffic was the main focus of discussion. Residents voiced strong concerns about the regional impact the volume of heavy truck traffic related to this project would have. Restrictions and signage as indicated above are hard to enforce.
Holliston Town Counsel, Jay Talerman, shared that it is very difficult to enforce such measures 100% of the time.
Residents from all parts of Holliston joined the residents who abut the project in expressing their concern for traffic safety throughout the area. The volume increase was projected to be from 20 – 60% depending on whose math was being used.
Noise around a 24/7 operation was a concern for several nearby neighbors with truck safety back-up beepers sounding at all hours.
While the Economic Development Committee has endorsed the project as a tax revenue source, residents in the area are concerned that their property values will decrease – thus a reduction in tax revenue.
The Board continued the Public Hearing, setting Thursday, February 25, 2021 as the next Hearing date.
The meeting adjourned at 10:05pm.
The entire hearing can be viewed here -> Planning Board, Feb 4, 2021 Meeting