, Newburyport, MA

Local News

June 24, 2013

Residents push Planning Board to deny dollar store


The town’s consulting engineer, Jennifer Conley of Conley Associates, agreed, but also called attention to sight line concerns.

Rob Atwood, Planning Board member, raised a concern about the sight lines from Bear Hill Road onto Route 110. Conley acknowledged that this issue cannot be fully addressed until the grading is performed. The engineer for the applicant, Luke Distafano, said that in his meeting with the Mass. Department of Transportation, a green light was given for the current design with the exception of a few “minor tweaks.”

Jen Edbrooke, co-chair of Merrimac Residents Against Dollar General Store, an initiative that has now collected 217 signatures on a petition against the development, said, “They are trying to stuff their foot into the glass slipper. It just doesn’t fit. I would like to see the DOT get out there to do a site review. They have to see the berm and the width of those roads. “

Also addressed in the review were questions about architecture, aesthetics, noise and light pollution and concerns about the long-term business potential of the store.

Planning Board members John Atwood and Robert Barnes, both architects, were adamant that the structure fit into Merrimac. Barnes told the applicant not to return with any plans that did not reflect the surrounding architecture.

Atwood quoted from the bylaws, adding that “all buildings must be in keeping in design and scope with the surrounding areas. First of all, I don’t think there are any brick buildings this massive. Secondly, they both have a pitched roof both ways … When I looked at the application and the lighting plan there is excessive light spillage,” he said.

Atwood also asked about sound pollution from the air-handling units mounted on the roof. The developer could not report units of sound generated but did indicate that there were several sound buffers in place, including shrubbery and fencing.

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