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Pittsfield Board Approves Cumberland Farms Plans For First Street

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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The older Cumberland Farms at First and Adams streets will be replaced by a new 4,700 square-foot building. The regional chain began updgrading its 600 locations in 2009.

PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Cumberland Farms was approved to replace its outdated First Street facility with a new structure and double the number of pumps.

The Community Development Board on Thursday night unanimously approved the site plan for the 4,700 square-foot convenience store and a parking waiver that reduces the number of required parking spots.

Cumberland Farms is scheduled to go before the City Council on Nov. 24 for a special permit to operate an automobile service station. The Zoning Board of Adjustment on Sept. 30 approved a variance to allow two curb cuts wider than the standard 25 feet.

The project will encompass two lots, one at 154 First St. and the second at 12 Adams St. There are currently two structures on the 26,000 square foot parcel, a 8,797 square foot retail building on the Adams lot and a 1,900 square foot Cumberland Farms and two pumps on the First Street lot.

"Under the proposed plan, all of the existing structures, both at grade and subsurface features, are proposed to be demolished and rebuilt," said Luke DiStefano, a senior project manager with Bohler Engineering of Albany, N.Y. "Specifically what Cumberland Farms is looking to do is to construct a 4,738 square foot Cumberland convenience store on the eastern portion of the property, or the rear portion of the site."

It will also include two 20,000-gallon, underground fiberglass tanks, a canopy and four pumps that can accommodate eight vehicles, double what the current store has.

DiStefano said the property now is nearly 100 percent paved over, with maybe 3 percent of "packed dirt."

"Cumberland Farm is proposing a significant landscaping to the property," he said, with about 15 percent of the parcel in grass, shrubs and trees "designed to enhance the property."

The project also includes underground utilities and a new storm-water management and treatment system that will "raise the quality" of the runoff entering the city's wastewater system.

Attorney F. Sydney Smithers of Cain Hibbard & Myers, representing Cumberland Farms, said the second matter before the board was the waiver for parking.

The city's regulations would normally require 32 spaces for the size building, 30 for customers and two for employees.

Smithers said the new configuration would be 11 for the front of the store and eight at the pumps, with the acknowledgement that many people will pump their gas and then run into the store. There are currently 13 parking spots, including the four spots at the pumps.

"People don't tarry at a Cumberland Farms ... they go in, get their quart of milk, their gas and leave," he said, adding the company has similar configurations at other facilities and finds it works.

There was no opposition to the plan, however, a letter was read from an abuttor on Adams Street who was concerned over traffic, lighting, litter and loitering. Concerns over littering had also been raised at City Council in October.

Smithers noted that Cumberland Farms had submitted a maintenance plan with the site review to address any litter and refuse issues. In response to lighting, he said it was preferable to keep them on to prevent "bad actions," however, there is the potential of dimming them.

"It is not an attractive facility and the new one promises to be modern, cleaner and more attractive," he said.

Board member Louis Costi agreed: "I think it's going to be a great improvement to the neighborhood."

The board also approved a parking waiver for Guido's Quality Fruit & Produce at 1020 South St. The market is adding 3,735 square feet and moving the loading dock; 1,592 square feet of the addition will be retail and the rest offices and warehousing.

Attorney Vicki S. Donahue, also of Cain Hibbard & Myers, representing Guido's, said the store currently has 57 parking spots in the front of the building and access to 41 more in the rear through two permanent easements.

Going by the city's parking requirements, the structure at 22,487 square feet would have to have 177 spots, a number that the grocers did not believe necessary.

The board agreed, approving the waiver unanimously.

Tags: community development,   convenience store,   

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