Planning Board approves new KFC, addresses non-compliance issues

WESTFIELD – The Planning Board approved the site plan for a new KFC drive-through at 301-303 East Main St. following a continued public hearing on Dec. 15. The 2,260 square-foot restaurant will be built on a vacant pad site and parking area owned by Streamfield, LLC and contains a portion of the existing shopping plaza at 301 East Main St. owned by Ronald Abdow.

At the hearing, Felipe Creveau and Rob Levesque of R. Levesque Associates reviewed some modifications made to the plan in response to comments from the board and the city planner. The building was reduced by 200 square feet and the entrance changed to a right turn only and was aligned with the entrance to the People’s Bank. The access to two ordering kiosks from the plaza was also improved. An outdoor dining pavilion with a brick knee exterior and canopy was also added.

“The plaza right now has funny geometry. Hopefully, the neighbors will all work together. Here, we think this is a pretty good improvement with defined traffic paths. Instead of seeing a parking lot there, you’ll see quite a bit of green and defined lanes,” Levesque said.

The Planning Board commented that the proposal would be an improvement to the area, and voted unanimously in favor of the by-right us in the Business B district.

Big Y Foods Director of Design and Construction Tony Coppola joined the meeting in response to a letter expressing concerns about the temporary egress to the new Big Y Express Gas Station and Convenience Store at 330 East Main St., directly across Route 20 from the Big Y World Class Market. Construction on a new traffic signal at the site is expected to start on April 19.

Coppola said concerns were addressed by additional signage, as well as paint on the egress and a do not enter sign in a bucket. A right turn only sign out of the property was also added.

In response to a complaint about a tractor trailer observed parking on Route 20 for delivery, Coppola said a letter was sent out to all companies and drivers instructing them not to park on Route 20 and do any type of loading, along with a map of the pathway they’re supposed to follow.

“We actually took this plan and sent it out to all the delivery companies. As drivers come in, they are handed a sheet of the plan showing the path,” Coppola said. He said they will also not be sending tractor trailers to that property going forward, and will be sending refrigerated vans instead. He said a fueler truck comes in after hours, when it easily makes the swing to top off the tanks.

Coppola said Big Y had applied to MassDOT in Nov 2019, and had been waiting for official approval of the traffic signal. “Big Y is ready,” he said.

The board thanked Coppola for the speedy response, and asked the company to keep an eye on the situation.

Also joining the call was Frank DeMarinis of Sage Engineering and Roots Athletic Center in response to a letter regarding an unfinished parking lot, fencing and landscaping at Roots.

“I have every intention to build the fence and pave the parking lot. I don’t understand how I am in non-compliance,” DeMarinis told the board.

“The fence and the landscaping are supposed to be up by now, and the parking lot paved. What is your anticipated timetable,” asked Planning Board chairman William Carellas.

DeMarinis said he was planning to pave the parking lot in the next year or two.

City Planner Jay Vinskey said conditions of the permit for the expanded parking area was paving, stormwater and fencing. He said by using the parking area and not paving is non-compliance.

“As a small business owner, and dealing with a variety of issues I would expect this board to give me some flexibility. I’m surprised the board has brought me in front of them,” DeMarinis said.

Carellas responded that the special permit was issued in 2018, and the parking lot was supposed to be paved before it was used. “We don’t want it being used, if it’s not paved,” he said..

DeMarinis said he felt he was being singled out by the board, especially in a situation where they lost all income for nine months, and the state has granted extensions on many permits.

Carellas ended the discussion on the paving, and asked about the fencing. DeMarinis agreed to put up a six foot fence around the parking area to block headlights.

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