Evergreen was retroactively approved for the post-and-beam structures it added to the former Friendly's building.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — An urgent care company with operations in Vermont and New Hampshire was approved for space at the Stop & Shop Plaza.
The Planning Board on Monday approved the change of use for 856 and 858 State Road, with members Chairman Michael Leary and Lawrence Taft abstaining.
Brent Johnson of Midland General Contractors Inc. based in Rockford, Ill., said ClearChoice is a retail medical office that does "everything from sprains, full on-site X-rays, bruises, stitches, cold, coughs, everything you would see in an urgent care."
According to its website, ClearChoiceMD offers walk-in services seven days a week from 8 to 8 for minor injuries and illnesses such as strains and sprains, stitches, allergies and infections, as well as COVID-19 testing. The centers have more recently been closed on Sundays.
The company has more than a dozen urgent care centers in Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont, with the closest to the Berkshires in Brattleboro, Vt. It was started in 2014 by Dr. Marcus Hampers, an emergency medical physician, to provide safe and less costly outpatient treatment.
Johnson said the care center would operate in what had been the former Draper's Wine & Spirits and Papa John's in the plaza. Both spots are vacant and will be combined.
He couldn't answer questions on staffing or other medical issues but did say the centers normally have "mid-level providers" and affiliate with hospital groups within the regions in which they operate. In this case it will be Southwestern Vermont Health Care, located in Bennington.
Planner Kyle Hanlon stepped in to chair that portion of the meeting because the vice chairman was not available and Leary and Taft are employed by Berkshire Health System.
The urgent care center was approved with the condition any alterations to the signage presented in the packet be first reviewed by the board.
The planners also approved Berkshire County Head Start's relocation to the United Cerebral Palsy building at 535 Curran Highway. The early education program has been planning to move from the former Johnson School since last year; the school is being purchased from the city by Moresi & Associates.
Architect David Westall said UCP is renting the northmost portion of the building to Head Start.
"The interior alterations to accommodate Head Start involves transforming what was one large conference room into two classrooms and what was one large storage area into a gymnasium," he said. "A secondary storage room was reduced slightly in size in order to accommodate the two classrooms. ...
"The other part of the project of which the space did not need to be altered was taking over, or the reuse, of existing office spaces for Head Start administrative offices. No work has been done in that area."
The only exterior work was the installation of a water main from the back of the building to Old State Road in order to have a water supply for what was a required fire suppression.
"I think this is just an absolutely wonderful partnership to see UCP and Head Start working together in the same building," said Planner Lynette Bond. "So, congratulations. I think it's, it's going to be fantastic."
However, she did question on the condition of the parking lot, noting there were some "rough spots" she hoped would be addressed in the future.
In other business, the board approved:
• The opening of a tax office by Jonathan Berman, doing business as TaxPopUp.com, at 36 Ashland St. The office had been used by a doctor but has been vacant for some time. Berman, a certified public accountant in Massachusetts since 2007, said he planned no changes to the office. He anticipated having no more than one or two people in the office by appointment for doing their tax returns and sanitizing in between.
"It's an excellent thing in the times of COVID," he said. "Obviously I won't be seeing multiple people in multiple offices."
• The relocation of Torrington Supply Co. Inc., doing business as Torrco, from its current location at 96 Union St. to 50 Roberts Drive. The wholesale plumbing supply company headquartered in Waterbury, Conn., will take over the building used by the Security Supply.
"We're basically going to be the same exact facility that was already there," said Patrick Kennedy, manager of distribution and logistics. "We do the same exact business that they do. We're a wholesale plumbing and heating distributor."
• Approved a change in design for Evergreen Strategies LLC, which was approved two years ago for the former Friendly's restaurant on State Road. The cannabis operation had taken down the front vestibule and old ice cream window area and replaced them with post-and-beam structures. Building Inspector William Meranti said the application was the cart before the horse because he had the construction halted because it was a change of plan.
"It looks like they're doing a lot of work on the building," Leary said. "They painted the building. It certainly looks a great deal better now than it has in quite some time so I'm satisfied so far with the work that they're doing on the property.
• Asked Meranti to work with Ed's Variety on advertising signs it wishes to put on the front exterior. The signs were already up when Meranti told the owner they were not in code and had to be removed.
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