Planning Board grants permits for Big Y gas station

Big Y Foods Director of Design and Construction Tony Coppola and Ryan G. Scrittorale of Benesch Engineering at Planning Board. (Photo by Amy Porter)

WESTFIELD – The Planning Board this week voted to approve a special permit and site plan for the Big Y convenience store and gas station at 33O East Main St., directly across Route 20 from the Big Y World Class Market.
Engineer Ryan Scrittorale said the Flood Control Commission and Engineering Department had both approved the plans, which had been modified since the last Planning Board meeting to address some of their concerns. He said a sub-surface filtration system had also been added to site plan details.
Other changes on the plans included an enlargement of the the curb cut to 36-feet wide, after Planning Board members said they felt the 28 feet was too narrow for an entrance and exit.
Scrittorale said they also added a left-turn lane going east bound on Route 20, in response to concerns about traffic backing up for cars turning left.
Cheryl Crowe said she liked the fact that the entrance/exit was extended to 36 feet. “I like a lot of the things you changed and added. I’m excited to see how it pans out with MassDOT, especially with the traffic lights,” she said, adding, “It makes a lot more sense.”
Ultimately, MassDOT has jurisdiction over East Main Street/Route 20 traffic concerns. Scrittorale said that he will keep the board apprised of any changes that MassDOT does make.
Richard Salois said he was still worried about trucks having to swing way out to enter west-bound traffic. He said he would like to see trucks restricted to late deliveries. Scrittorale said they will be making off-peak deliveries.
John Bowen said trucks would utilize the entire exit on turns. Scrittorale said MassDOT might object to widening the entrance further due to impact on sidewalks as there will be a pedestrian crosswalk right in front of the station with a sidewalk.
Bowen said he would like to see a three to four inch mountable island that trucks could cross if needed, which Scrittorale raised as a possibility.
Planning Board chair William Carellas asked if there are plans for a high-speed charger at the station for electric vehicles. He said the voltage needs 30 minutes to charge.
Scrittorale said they are not envisioning that for this site, because they don’t expect people to be there for 30 minutes, and suggested that maybe Big Y could add one.
Tony Coppola, director of design and construction for Big Y said they are looking to install chargers at a couple of other projects and would take that under consideration.
City Planner Jay Vinskey was asked whether Planning Board approval could be given before MassDOT signs off on the plans. Vinskey said the board can approve the permits and review changes when they come in from MassDOT.
“We understand that MassDOT may have comments and changes. We are looking to have you vote on this tonight,” Scrittorale said.
The public hearing was closed, and conditions added to the special permit and site plan, including sub surface filtration, mountable island, off-peak delivery hours, and traffic flow changes. “At the end of the day, DOT has governance,” Vinskey said.
The permits were granted on a vote of 6 to 1, with Robert Goyette dissenting.

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