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North Adams Planners Approve 24/7 Cumberland Farms

By John Durkan
iBerkshires Staff
08:31PM / Monday, January 13, 2014
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The new Cumberland Farms on Route 8 is expected to open in May, pending approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals. This design was provided by Kevin Thatcher of Clough Harbour & Associates.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The city's third Cumberland Farms is expected to open this spring.
 
On Monday, the Planning Board approved of a 4,513 square-foot store that will include five pumping stations at the site of the former H. Greenberg & Son Inc. Home Center building on the corner of Hodges Cross Road and the Curran Highway.
 
 
The newest Cumberland Farms will operate 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The other two stores — one on Ashland Street near the downtown and the other at the bottom of the Mohawk Trail on Route 2 — will remain open.
 
F. Sydney Smithers of Cain Hibbard & Myers, representing First Hartford Realty Corp., said the former Greenberg's building will be razed for the new Cumberland Farms. Construction, which will take 120 days, is expected to wrap up in May.
 
Stephen Savaria, senior project manager at the consulting engineering firm Fuss & O'Neill, said the new store won't attract too much new traffic, but rather traffic already traveling through the Curran Highway.
 
"In general, we see that the project is going to have pretty insignificant impacts on the quality and safety of traffic operations in the vicinity," Savaria said.
 
Savaria said the only way to leave the store to head south down Curran Highway is to take the Hodges Cross Road exit and turn left twice, the latter of which is a signal controlled left hand turn. Cars can only exit right toward the downtown because of the median on Curran Highway.
 
The store expects 1,400 trips per day.
 
The newest Cumberland Farms will also feature fenced-in outdoor seating on the north side of the property. Planning Board Chairman Michael Leary was concerned about trash drifting from the area to the highway, but Kevin Thatcher, a project engineer from Clough Harbour & Associates, said it won't be an issue and the staff will handle it.
 
Thatcher shows the Planning Board a site map of the proposed Cumberland Farms at the former Greenberg's.
The front of the store will be located at roughly the same location as the Greenberg's entrance now. The five stations will be under a canopy and the trash container will be fenced in on the south side of the property.
 
Initially, the property behind the new store was going to be filled with a "stabilized gravel surface." However, planners Paul Senecal and Brian Miksic requested low-maintenance grass.
 
The Hodges Cross curb also will be slightly modified. Thatcher said the curb cut will be "shifted slightly to the west end and narrowed."
 
Next, First Hartford Realty will take its case to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a gas-fitting permit.
 
Mayor Richard Alcombright took the opportunity to ask Cumberland Farms to ease up on the gas prices. He said he understands the market for gasoline and said Cumberland Farms is good about lowering prices.
 
"But despite all that, typically North Adams is 5 to 7 cents higher maybe even more so than they are in Pittsfield and quite surprisingly even a couple cents [more] than in Williamstown," Alcombright said. "And so what I'm going to ask for here is that Cumberland Farms, with three stores in our community and that much infusion in our market, become a leader in taking control over those prices and making prices in the city of North Adams what they are in Berkshire County."
 
In other business, the hearing for North Adams Chamber of Commerce, Franklin County Community Development Corp. and the city's office of tourism to open a business office at 105 Main St. will be continued into next month. Planners Miksic and Paul Hopkins recused themselvs because of their involvement with the Chamber of Commerce leaving only five eligible planners present — six were needed.
 
The Planning Board also filed a communication from Guy Carridi of Tunnel City Traffic, who requested temporary approval to operate from 4 a.m. to midnight because American Cab closed down last week.
 
Election of officers will take place at the next meeting on Feb. 10.

Tags: convenience store,   gas station,   Planning Board,   

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