Big Y continues process for gas station, store

Larry Webster of Benesch & Co. goes over plans for Big Y E. Main St gas station and store at Conservation Commission. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – Big Y World Class Market appeared before the Conservation Commission to continue a public hearing begun on Aug. 27 for the new construction of a gas station and convenience store at 330 East Main St., directly across from the Big Y location.
Larry Webster of Alfred Benesch & Company representing the management company said since the last meeting there had been a site visit by Commission members, and he had answered questions about stormwater storage, which were presented to City Engineer Mark Cressotti. Webster said he had made minor “tweaks” to the grading, with no decrease in the amount of storage. He said he was waiting for a response from the Engineering Department.
At the last meeting, Webster said the aerial photographs taken of the seven acres down to the Westfield River had shown some clearing and structures in the acreage to the rear, well beyond the one-acre that the company plans to develop. He said he had investigated and discovered a collection of bee hives. Webster said he plans to reach out to the owner of the hives.
The Conservation Commission had also asked for more detailed plans on the rain garden in the rear of the convenience store. Webster said according to a preliminary report from a storm scientist, the rain garden had been over designed, was larger than it needed to be, and could handle much more rain than occurs in the area.
The public hearing was continued to Oct. 8 for the stormwater report from the Engineering Department.
At the end of the hearing, Tony Coppola, director of construction and maintenance for Big Y, was invited to describe the project for the people at the hearing. Coppola said the company has gas stations and convenience stores adjacent to their markets in Chicopee and Springfield, which offer an award program to Big Y shoppers. He said the services keep them competitive with bigger supermarket chains.
Coppola also responded to a comment at a recent Planning Board hearing asking why the company had not considered opening a gas station in the former Hess station a few lots down on East Main St. He said that property is not on the market for a lease.
The Planning Board public hearing for the Big Y was continued to Oct. 1.

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