Around Town

‘Busy time’ for construction expected in spring

WESTFIELD — Several large projects are working their way through the city permitting process, and Community Development Director Peter J. Miller says he expects a busy construction season in the spring.

The Westfield Data Center was slated for a joint public hearing with the City Council and Planning Board on Oct. 4, and will go before the Planning Board on Oct. 5. City Planner Jay Vinskey said on Monday morning If the joint hearing closes Oct. 4, the Planning Board may deliberate on its Chapter 121A findings on Tuesday. Chapter 121A of state law allows developers to negotiate payments in lieu of taxes when improving substandard or blighted industrial properties. 

“They could also deliberate on the site plan/special permit piece (typical with any Planning Board hearing), but for a project of this scale, one might anticipate it being continued for more info/revisions,” Vinskey said.

The application of Old Dominion Freight Line Inc. for a license for the storage of 15,000 gallons of diesel to fuel their trucks at 74 Medeiros Way will be in the City Council License Committee at 5 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 6, in Room 201 of City Hall.

During two public meetings before the City Council, several councilors and abutters expressed concern about diesel storage near to the aquifer.

“I can understand certain councilors’ concerns and advocacy for zero risk [near] the aquifer,” Miller said, adding that the systems that are being proposed are as fail-safe as possible, with double walls and additional encasements and a minimal chance for failure.

“In the grand scheme of risk analysis, I don’t see risk there,” Miller said.

He said he drove up recently to the Old Dominion site on Medeiros Way, and said the truck transfer facility is well under construction.

Also coming up soon before the City Council will be an additional expansion request for James Hardie Building Products Inc. at 70 Turnpike Industrial Road, and an additional multi-million-dollar investment.

“It’s been very busy, between James Hardie, the Data Center, and Old Dominion — it’s been very busy. We’ve seen a noticeable uptick over the course of the past three or four months, for sure. They took a lot of the COVID time to rethink whatever plans they had,” Miller said,

“All good things, I think,” he added.

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