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The Planning Board approved a number of applications on Monday night. The meeting was held in the second-floor conference room because of a School Committee meeting in City Council Chambers.
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David Brazeau, a former Price Chopper employee, is opening a butcher shop on State Road.

North Adams Gas Station Renovators Told to Start Work Soon

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The BP has not offered gasoline in several years. The Planning Board is pushing the owners to fast-track plans to rebuild the pumps and convenience store.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday told the owner of the BP and Getty gas stations to clean up the properties and get to work.

Representatives from Summit Distributing LLC were asked to come before the board to update it on the proposed renovations of the BP gas station on at the corner of Canal and Eagle streets and the Getty Mart on State Road.

The Getty Mart was approved for rebuilding last fall but BP station has been without gas for years — just the kiosk is open. Both properties were purchased in 2014.

Related story: North Adams Planners OK B&B, Solar Array, Dog Facility

"Tonight is just to find out how long are we going to have to look at the BP station the way it is and how long are we going to look to the Getty Station," Building Inspector William Meranti said. "Although it has been approved there has been no changes ... maybe the owner could firm up the dates for us. I think we have been more than lenient."

Huseyin Sevincgil of MHF Design Consultants said the plan is to knock down the BP canopy and the kiosk and build 1,500 square foot convenience store, a new canopy, and two fuel dispensers to operate four pump stations.

He said the project will have to go before the Conservation Commission and that a site plan will be submitted to Planning Board once designs are complete.

He added that the design work is taking longer than anticipated because of concerns of the structural integrity of the retaining wall on the back of the property, but the hope is to have a plan this spring.

Meranti said the owners should repair the fence and clean up the property in the interim so it at least looks presentable.

"I will be honest. I hear about this weekly in my office about that station and the way it looks," he said. "People ask why is it running as a kiosk with a gas station sign?"

Board member Kyle Hanlon added that the city solicitor is reviewing the BP permit because the board suspects the business has fallen out of compliance because it is no longer a gas station.

Board member Lynette Bond asked that green BP sign (stating gas is 0.00) be turned off because she has heard that it distracts drivers.

The owners agreed to spruce the property up a bit and turn off the sign.

Sevincgil said the State Road station, which was approved by the board, will soon go out to bid.

"The owner is going through the bidding process and they just waited for the winter to pass. They would be bidding that out and I assume that the work would be starting in the next few months," he said.

The representatives said they plan to start construction this year.

The board member said they need firmer dates.

"There is a short leash on the Eagle Street property right now, and we want to see some changes implemented as quickly as possible," Chairman Michael Leary said. "We want to see the site plan come before us quickly and if you don't you are going to hear from us."

The board once again heard from Larry Rusiecki of engineering firm Doucet & Associates the engineer representing Borrego Solar Systems Inc.

Because the abuttors of the proposed 650-kilowatt solar array on West Shaft Road were never notified of the original public hearing in March, Rusiecki had to present the plans to the board again.

Attorney Elisabeth Goodman, representing the abuttors, noted that the application states that noise heard on the property cannot be louder than 80 decibels. She said the number was too high and that the state Department of Environmental Protection states that anything 10 decibels over normal ambient sound would be in violation.

"My understanding of the ambient background in our neck of the woods is 35 decibels is when you can hear the crickets," Goodman said. "So a 10 decibel increase would maybe be 45 at the property boundary."

Meranti said the applicant may have pulled 80 decibels from the city ordinances.

"It makes sense because that number is in our ordinances, and at the property line you can't project noise more than 80 decibels," Meranti said. "I have seen a lot of solar arrays and I have never seen them come close to that number so we can nail that down I am sure."

The board took a vote to add the condition that failed because it did not receive the support of 2/3 of the members.

Board member Brian Miksic said he felt the board did not have the power to make such demands.

"There is a law specific to sound in this community and the proposal meets that," he said. "I don't believe that we have the power on this board to supersede that."

The only condition the board approved was that the applicant must make sure the access road is maintained and reconditioned. The same condition was applied at the last hearing.

In other business, the board approved:

David Brazeau's request to operate a butcher shop at 746 State Road.

Brazeau said he comes from a family of butchers and was the assigned meat manager at the former Price Chopper for 10 years.

"My intent is to open this location ... as a full-scale butcher shop in the sense of not having hanging meat but like the supermarket," he said. "We will bring in boxed beef, chicken, and lamb or we would process it there and offer custom cuts or cuts to order cases inside."

Todd Hebert's plan to change his Union Street saloon into an antique co-op.

Hebert, the owner of what currently is the Crystal Hard Hat, said he plans to remove the bar and build 17 spaces that will be leased out.

"As a co-op, what will happen is we will rent out spaces and we will maintain the store," he said. "We will be there running it and propel will put stuff in and we will sell it."

He said the upstairs will be used for storage and office space.

Hebert plans to put siding on the upper story of the building and exterior grade wood siding on the bottom.

The board said Hebert will have to come before it again when he finalizes his signage design.

The application of Angel Vasquez and David Lawrence for property located at 46 Eagle St., Unit C that would allow them to operate a retail clothing store in a CB-2 zone.

"I am going to open up a store with a large variety of children and adults clothing for the community," Vasquez said.

Tags: gas station,   Planning Board,   solar array,   

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