Lanesborough OKs Dollar General Proposal

By Andy McKeeveriBerkshires Staff
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Kevin Hixson, a project manager with BL Cos. representing Primax, presents the most recent plans.

LANESBOROUGH, Mass. — Dollar General has received a special permit to build a store on Route 7.

On Monday, the Planning Board approved both amending a 2004 special permit for Liam Shirley to operate self-storage units and a new special permit for Primax Properties LLC to build the Dollar General.

The initial special permit needed to be amended to allow the storage company to operate on less land.

The parcel has the former Party Barn, which will be demolished to make way for the dollar store. Shirley operates the storage sheds and will sell the area in front to Primax as well as a sliver of land behind the storage units — a total of the required two acres.

The storage units will share a boundary with the post office lot, which Shirley also owns, and under common ownership he, too, would have sufficient acreage.

The proposal has gone through multiple changes since first being introduced. The board asked the company to change the building's facade, which architects did, and do a second traffic study.

But still, the board said there wasn't enough frontage nor enough acreage to support the new store and Primax went back to the drawing board and carved out the additional pieces to satisfy the space needs.

From there, the town asked for more parking spots, more facade changes, realignment of the property line to be "squared off" and to submit another plan outlining how the acreage and frontage would be addressed.

The company now has sufficient frontage on both an old stagecoach road and on Route 7. It will need to submit another form for the land to be divided.

Town Counsel Gary Brackett talked the board through the five required findings for a special permit to be issued, all of which the board agreed were met. The proposal is in harmony with the general use of the zone, desirable to the public at that location, is not detrimental to adjacent uses, does not create too much traffic and does not overload any public water, sewer or drainage system.

The proposal wasn't without public opposition. For two nights of public hearing, residents crowded Town Hall voicing concerns.

Attorney Jeff Lynch, representing nearby resident and business owner Rocky Vyas, argued Monday that the public had not had enough time to see the plans. He said he has had trouble getting updated plans prior to the public hearing including never seeing the original applications. He urged the board to deny the permit on the grounds that the public had not had adequate documentation to review.

Brackett, however, said that since there was sufficient public participating in the public hearing itself, the public documentation requests should not be considered in rendering a decision.

Tags: dollar store,   Planning Board,   special permit,   

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Haddad Subaru Boosts Pittsfield Fire's BFit Challenge Team

By Brittany PolitoiBerkshires Staff

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Haddad Subaru has boosted the Pittsfield Fire Department's BFit Challenge fundraiser by $5,000 to support occupational cancer.

Though the monies cannot carry the first responders up the stairs of TD Garden during the strenuous event, it has allowed the department to surpass last year's fundraising goal over a month in advance.  The auto dealer is this year's main sponsor, also selling team merchandise to raise proceeds for the cause.

"We were thrilled with that and jumped on board this year," Lt. Robert Leary said. "This is certainly huge."

The annual challenge in Boston fundraises for first responder and military charities and is sponsored by National Grid. On Jan. 28, first responders, military members and other community members will climb the stairs of the sports arena with air packs and helmets.

This is PFD's fourth year competing in the event. Last year, 11 crew members raised more than $4,500 for the New England Fire Cancer Fund and this year will be even bigger with more than 20 firefighters and some Haddad Subaru employees.

"Something of this magnitude, we want to be involved," general manager Chris Kramek said. "We want to help."

There were smiles all around at the East Street auto dealer as an oversized check was passed to the Fire Department on Tuesday.

"I am really proud of these guys that they're stepping up and training for this," Chief Thomas Sammons said. "I did it last year and it's not easy but it's a lot of camaraderie and it gives you a goal to work for to keep you in shape during the winter."

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