Dollar General Proposes New Cheshire Location
CHESHIRE, Mass. — Dollar General has given up on building a store on South Street, instead setting its sights on another Route 8 property.
Bohler Engineering Firm representative Mathew Bombaci told the Selectmen and building inspector on Tuesday that the chain discount store wants to build on the property across from Harry's Auto Sales.
"I know there was a little bit of contention a year ago," Bombaci said. "There was a Dollar General that tried to come in and tear down a historic building, and that is not the case here, but certainly any concerns that you have we want to discuss."
The chain had proposed two years ago building a store on the 12 South St. lot that contains a 19th-century Second Empire mansion but ran into heavy opposition from residents as well as roadblocks by the building inspector.
Bombaci said the proposed store would be in a business district and placed on a gravel area that has no real use at this time. He added that there are isolated wetlands that do not border vegetative wetlands so there should be no Conservation Commission issues.
Building Commissioner and Zoning Enforcement Officer Gerald Garner said that because of new zoning bylaws the town passed last June, Dollar General will have to go before the Planning Board and receive a permit. He added that the Conservation Commission should be notified of where it plans to drain storm water.
Bombaci said the plans are still in the preliminary stage and at this point there is just a site plan and a survey.
Garner said he found access issues when looking at the conceptual drawing and he will need to see more specific plans when they become available.
Bombaci said there is an existing curb cut but they will have to go through the state Department of Transportation and apply for a change of use.
Selectmen's Secretary Carole Hilderbrand asked if residents would have a say in what the building looked like.
"Is there any way we can have an input on what it looks like?" she said. "That really doesn't fit the culture of Cheshire ... I am just speaking for myself but I think a lot of people feel the same way."
Bombaci said Dollar General usually likes to have consistent designs and the Cheshire store would probably look similar to the one in Adams, however, they can discuss options at the Planning Board meeting.
The Selectmen had no immediate questions or concerns and were pleased that Dollar General is communicating with the town.
"We appreciate you letting us know what is going on," Chairwoman Carol Francesconi said. "It is a step forward."
Bombaci said Dollar General has not yet purchased the land but has an agreement to purchase it when the proper permits are secured.
In other business, Selectman Robert Ciskowski reported back to the board on the first Master Plan Committee meeting last week.
"It's a great group and it is very diverse," he said. "I think we are going to give the town a good thing, and it's going o bae a long haul, but we want to keep everyone involved ... We just have to keep the momentum up."
He said 10 out of the 12 members attended and Berkshire Regional Planning Commission Senior Planner Thomas Matusko helped guide the group and explained what the master plan should look like.
He said the committee strives for many of the same goals as the selectmen but uses data to back up plans and find ways to make them attainable.
Ciskowski said the group may be able to access grant funds to utilize some BRPC services, but felt the town may want to allocate funding for more professional help at a future town meeting.
Selectman Paul Astorino suggested that the committee look at altering the Conservation Commission, which is currently the selectmen.
"There are people out there with a hell of a lot more knowledge then the three of us, and if we could find people interested that would be good," he said. "I don't know if it's a wetland unless water is running through my shoes."
Francesconi said this would require a bylaw change.
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