WESTFIELD – During its Dec. 1 meeting, Planning Board commissioners discussed their ability to enforce special permit conditions in general, and violations at three different businesses in particular. The board voted to send letters to the businesses asking for compliance with the conditions on their permits.
A letter will be sent to Roots Athletic Center at 181 Root Road requesting an appearance to address special conditions for a parking lot expansion which were not met. The board approved a parking lot expansion with paving and landscaping, and a four-foot fence to shield headlights.
City Planner Jay Vinskey said unfinished parking areas continue to be used at the location, and the fence and landscaping were not completed.
“We definitely have to have him come in about parking, and find out what are his intentions of putting up a fence, at a minimum of four feet,” Planning Board Chair William Carellas said. A letter will be sent to request an appearance at the Dec. 15 meeting.
A letter will also be sent to Polish National Credit Union at 94 Main St. regarding the special conditions of a permit issued by the board for an electronic sign at the location. The permit stated that different static messages without scrolling, animation or flashing may be displayed at no less than 60 second intervals.
Vinskey said he observed an animated car driving across the sign on a message regarding auto loans.
Richard Salois said messages at the Polish National bank are changing every six to ten seconds. He said a permit for an electronic sign at a Westfield Bank location at 300 Southampton Road that the board recently issued allowed for ten second message changes.
“They certainly could come in and ask for a change to their permit. As it stands right now, they’re bound to 60 seconds,” Vinskey said. The board voted to send Polish National Credit Union a letter requesting compliance to the conditions in their special permit.
The third business discussed was the new Big Y gas station at 330 East Main St., which recently opened. Vinskey said he put them on the agenda because of issues raised with traffic circulation. He said the site is not fully completed, as a traffic light will be installed in the spring.
Several Planning Board members said they had visited the location, and observed traffic entering and exiting onto Route 20 without following directional signs. While everyone agreed that a traffic light will eliminate some of the dangerous driver behavior they observed, they expressed concern about potential accidents at the site before the light is installed.
Bernard Puza also said earlier that evening he had observed a 50-foot Big Y tractor trailer parked on Route 20 in the shoulder making a delivery.
Cheryl Crowe asked how they were allowed to have a temporary occupancy when this will cause a huge problem. Vinskey said he knew that MassDOT was alerted to the issue. He said the building inspector has some discretion to issue a temporary permit before things are finished, and that long-term, the issue will be solved. “The question is between now and then, what’s this board’s involvement,” Vinskey said.
The board voted to invite a representative from Big Y to come in to the Dec. 15 meeting to talk about the temporary plan for traffic entering and exiting, and also address the issue of a truck unloading from Route 20.